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Local volunteers needed to decorate graves of Vail-area veterans

Wreaths Across America will return to Eagle County in 2021

Lorraine Vasquez places a wreath for her father, World War II veteran Amadeo Gonzales, during the Wreaths Across event in Gypsum last December. The event took place at more than 2,500 locations across the country, including Eagle and Gypsum.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Wreaths across America had such a successful Eagle County debut last year that volunteers raised enough funds for 108 more wreaths than they needed.

This year, with the 108 carryover donations, the group easily met its goal to raise enough funds for 275 wreaths, which will cover veterans’ graves in the Minturn, Eagle and Gypsum cemeteries.

Now they just need a few volunteers to help lay the wreaths on those graves on Dec. 18.



“Since there are no COVID restrictions so far for outside events, we would love to remind folks that they can come and help place wreaths on Dec. 18,” said Ricki Shaw Sherlin with Wreaths Across America.

Sherlin is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution’s 10th Mountain Chapter, and helped bring Wreaths Across America to Eagle County for the first time last year.



Wreaths are laid for veterans last December in Minturn. Volunteers helped lay wreaths for veterans to pay homage to their service.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Wreaths Across America started placing wreaths on veterans’ graves in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The celebration reached Colorado in 2017 with Kremmling, followed by Georgetown in 2019. Today, thousands of other veterans’ cemeteries across the country participate in the laying of wreaths in front of graves of veterans.

Sherlin, after participating in Kremmling, scrambled to bring a local Wreaths Across America to Eagle County in 2020, starting her effort in October 2020 with local Mary Ann Baker, who has several relatives buried in Arlington. Sherlin and Baker were pleasantly surprised with how well last year’s event went on such short notice.

“Across the country at more than 2,200 participating locations like this one, there are millions of Americans gathering together safely as one nation to remember, honor and teach,” Baker said from Gypsum at the 2020 event. “Today, we show a united front of gratitude and respect across the United States of America as we remember the fallen, honor those who serve and their families, and teach the next generation the value of freedom.”

Eagle River Fire Protection's Tyler Watkins lays wreaths for veterans during the Wreaths Across America event last December in Minturn. The local 10th Mountain Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution organized the local event, hoping it would become an annual event.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Sherlin said while their 2021 goal of 275 wreaths has already been met through individual $15 donations, the group could always use additional funds from those who want to make next year’s wreath drive a little easier. The 108 wreath donations left over from last year eased a lot of the stress in getting ready for this year, Sherlin said.

“People can still donate and those sponsorships will help us get a head start on next year’s campaign,” she said.

To get involved, visit WreathsAcrossAmerica.org.


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