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Wreaths Across America Senior Legacy Project

O’NEALS – Holidays roll around again and for many the season doesn’t bring up cheerful feelings about sleigh bells and glistening snow. Instead, we can be reminded of family and friends serving in the military who are far away. We may remember those who won’t come home at all, for the worst possible reason.

Here’s one possible way to bridge the disconnect between opposing feelings of despair and joy: give the gift of a wreath on a soldier’s grave this holiday season, while helping two young students to complete their senior legacy project.

“At many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving, or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” say Minarets students Cierra Bordwine and Grant Hall. “We honor our veterans every day, and we think there is no better time to express our apprecation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”

Bordwine and Hall are working together on their Senior Legacy Experience. The project’s purpose is to leave an impact on the school, community, or anything that is important to the students participating.

“Having attended the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, and the American Legion California Boys State, respectively, we are both eager to give back to our veterans and those who have fallen,” say the pair. “This eagerness is what has motivated us to establish a flag pole at our soccer and football fields in honor of those killed in battle, and want to participate in the Wreaths Across America program.”

Wreaths Across AmericaPart one is complete: the flagpole is up and running. Now, they need the community’s help for part two: placing “Wreaths Across America.”

“Cierra and I have already constructed a flag pole in honor of fallen veterans,” says Hall, “and are currently in the process of selling sponsorship to place wreaths on the graves of veterans by partnering with Wreaths Across America, working to remember the sacrifice of veterans throughout the holiday season.”

Borwine and Hall are asking people to contribute one wreath to honor a veteran at a cost of $15, and to share the idea with friends. National Wreaths Across America day is Saturday, Dec. 13. There is no cost to participate in many Wreath Across America events, including processionals, and those who do participate by purchasing a wreath may choose from a variety of locations.

Diana Plietz didn’t know about the students’ senior legacy project, and just recently learned about Wreaths Across America. She and husband Salvador lost their son Spc. Benjamin Pleitez to the war in Afghanistan in 2012.

“Christmas is a difficult time for families who have lost loved ones, and sometimes it’s hard to know how to help,” Plietz says, offering special insight to the Wreaths project. “I can tell you that it is inspiring to see the fields covered in wreaths. Unfortunately, only a small part portion of the graves receive a wreath.”

Plietz and her friends and family are currently working toward getting a wreath on every grave at San Joaquin National Cemetery. Many will direct their wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia in honor of its 150th anniversary. Minarets students Bordwine and Hall are concentrating on Clovis Cemetery, while their overarching purpose is to bring awareness to Wreaths Across America as they spread the word.

“Your $15 will snowball into hundreds or even thousands of wreaths placed on the headstones of our fallen,” believes Hall, “depending on how many people you can inspire. We hope you will join us. Let’s let our veterans and their families know that we will not forget. We will never forget.

Link to students’ Wreaths Across America fundraising page.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

National Wreaths Across America Day

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