With outpouring, nonprofit reaches goal of wreaths for Arlington Cemetery

An unidentified woman walks with a holiday wreaths during Wreaths Across America’s 150th anniversary, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Wreath (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)
Some of the 143,000 wreaths donated through Wreaths Across America for the 2014 season.  (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)
Thousands of volunteers make honoring America’s fallen heroes a part of their weekend in December 2014. Copyright WTOP. Shot/Edited by Megan Cloherty. (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)
Volunteer Missy Williams, of Vermont, kneels before a grave site at Arlington National Cemetery Saturday where she had placed a holiday wreath. She was among thousands of volunteers in 2014 who descended upon the cemetery to take part in the annual Wreaths Across America event to honor the nation’s fallen heroes this holiday season. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Wreath (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)
The nonprofit that provides fresh balsam wreaths for volunteers to place at Arlington National Cemetery headstones says it is still short a few thousands wreaths. These wreaths sat on graves in 2014. (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)
Wreath (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)
Wreath (WTOP/Jamie Forzato)

UPDATE – Wednesday – 12/2/2015, 1:15 p.m.

WASHINGTON — One day after Wreaths Across America told WTOP it still needed 8,000 wreaths to be able to afford putting one on each headstone at Arlington National Cemetery, the nonprofit has reached its goal.

“We are very humbled by the response from so many and in such a short amount of time,” says organization chairman Wayne Hanson.

Additional sponsored wreaths that are received beyond the 230,000 goal will be placed at the Columbariums and Niche Wall Sections at Arlington, according to the organization.

EARLIER – Tuesday – 12/1/2015, 5:00 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — The nonprofit that provides fresh balsam wreaths for volunteers to place at Arlington National Cemetery headstones says it is still short a few thousands wreaths because of a lack of funding.

“Last week, we put out that cry for help,” says Amber Caron with Wreaths Across America of the social media plea thousands shared on Facebook and Twitter.

A few days ago, the nonprofit based in Maine says it needed funding for 30,000 wreaths. As of Tuesday morning, that count stands at 8,000.

“Last year, we placed a wreath at every marker in Arlington and we don’t like to go backward,” Caron says.

So Wreaths Across America extended the deadline for wreath sponsorship to Dec. 9 — two days before thousands of volunteers place the wreaths at the final resting place of thousands of veterans in honor of their service. Volunteers are still needed to lay the 230,000 wreaths.

“It’s open to the public. It’s free. We ask that you come and pick a wreath and take moment, read the headstone and say thank you and place that wreath,” she says.

Wreaths Across America’s founders began laying wreaths at the markers of Arlington National Cemetery in 1992. It has become a tradition for many military families and those who want to honor the service of America’s veterans.

Wreaths are $15 each and can be sponsored here.

For more information on volunteering, click here.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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