Kay Lantow and Linda Nicholson
On Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, SaddleBrooke Ranch residents gathered at Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson for the annual Wreaths Across America event. It was a beautiful, sunny, warm and clear day for the volunteers to enjoy a touching and memorable event and participate in honoring our veterans.
The ceremony began with the salute and posting of the colors by the Sons of the American Revolution, followed by a wonderful performance of the National Anthem, sung by Joseph Morgan. After the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation, Sheron Jones greeted the volunteers and spoke of the history of Wreaths Across America, the meaning behind the construction of the veteran’s wreath, and the Gold Star Families. Throughout the ceremony, the Patriot Guard Riders Post 36 of Southern Arizona stood proudly in the background.
The Sons of the American Revolution retired the colors and Taps was played by George Lipphardt, U.S. Navy veteran, followed by Amazing Grace, performed on the bagpipes by William Don Carlos. The volunteers then gathered in the veterans’ sections of the cemetery and placed wreaths on the veterans’ graves, taking a moment at each grave to say the veteran’s name and thank them for their sacrifice. Volunteers also had the opportunity to visit the beautiful monument to the Gold Star Families. Sheron Jones has worked tirelessly for the last eight years to raise funds for the completion of the monument. It was dedicated in a ceremony on March 2, 2019.
SaddleBrooke Ranch residents contributed towards the purchase of over 1400 wreaths for the event this year. This was the sixth annual effort by our community in support of the event and the Tucson Gold Star Mothers. Through the patriotism and generosity of our community, the wreath count for Evergreen Cemetery has more than doubled since 2014. This year Sheron Jones presented a Gold Star Mothers challenge coin to each person who donated $100 or more for wreaths. SaddleBrooke Ranch received fifteen of those challenge coins.
Kay and Linda want to thank our residents who donated towards the purchase of wreaths and our participating volunteers: Toni and Bill Estrada, Alyce and Chuck Grover, Linda Inhelder, Ed Kupcis, Linda and Don Mamula, Mike and Peggy McGinnis, MaryAnn Melhorn, Chuck Robbins and Steve Weiss.
To learn more about Wreaths Across America, visit, www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.