Rio church youth joins Wreaths Across America

By Dean Wright -

RIO GRANDE — Simpson Chapel United Methodist Church will be taking part in Wreaths Across America and lying wreaths across 66 graves at Tyn Rhos Cemetery on Dec. 16 at noon to honor passed veterans.

According to SCUMC member Pattie Filie, she and her youth group will be hosting the event. There will be a speaker, music and the public is invited.

“There are like 1,200 cemeteries (across the country) that do this,” said Filie. “Our youth group this year decided to take a cemetery and we got hooked up with Wreaths Across America. There are 66 veterans in this cemetery and we had to raise money for the wreaths. So, we are going to put wreaths on all the veterans. Some of the (headstones) there date from 1800 to present.”

Filie said the cemetery had seen individuals interred as recently as two weeks ago. She said the youth group raised nearly $1,000 for the effort.

“We went to the (Gallia Recorder’s Office) and veterans and they gave us a print out with all the veterans put in the cemetery,” said Filie. “It’s a very old cemetery.”

Wreaths Across America is coordinated with wreath-laying ceremonies located in Arlington National Cemetery.

According to, in 1992 a Maine wreath company discovered it had extra wreaths. Those wreaths were then laid in an old section of the Arlington cemetery which was seeing few visitors. A photo would eventually circulate about the internet of the wreath-laying activity before catapulting into a nationally-recognized event.

“As far as we know, we’re the only people in Gallia doing it,” said Filie. “They do it in Huntington and Ashland, I believe. We need to work on this to do this in more cemeteries.”

Along with the wreath-laying ceremony, SCUMC will be hosting a nativity scene with live animals, buggy rides and Santa visits on West College Street on Dec. 8 and 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There will be free mittens, hats and hot chocolate given away. The event will be held in the plaza parking lot south of the West College Street intersection with State Route 588.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright