THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES More than 900 wreaths can be viewed at the Soldiers Section at Woodland Cemetery. Organizers Linda Dalton and Juanita Southers, with Wreaths Across America, are looking for volunteers to help remove wreaths at Woodland Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 11.
THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES
More than 900 wreaths can be viewed at the Soldiers Section at Woodland Cemetery. Organizers Linda Dalton and Juanita Southers, with Wreaths Across America, are looking for volunteers to help remove wreaths at Woodland Cemetery on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Archived Story

Volunteers needed to remove wreaths

Published 10:28am Friday, January 3, 2014

Right now the Soldiers Section at Woodland Cemetery is awash with pine and ribbons as more than 900 wreaths decorate the graves of those who once served their country.

In mid-December volunteers spent part of a Saturday afternoon decorating those graves as they participated in Wreaths Across America. Now it’s getting time for the wreaths to come off.

So Wreaths organizers Linda Dalton and Juanita Southers are asking for another set of volunteers to remove the wreaths on Saturday, Jan. 11, starting at noon.

This was the second time for Lawrence County to join in the national celebration where donations grew to the point that every grave in the section was marked with a fresh pine wreath at the special December ceremony.

“I am amazed at how patriotic and giving the county has been,” Southers said. “Our goal was for 600. We tripled that. I was so pleased. It was amazing the amount of help we had. The weather was so bad that Saturday but there was still a large crowd. Everyone stayed until it was over.”

As part of the tradition, the wreaths stay up for a month at all the cemeteries where they have been placed. Then volunteers must come in to take them off the grave and dismantle them.

“We take the bows off because they are not biodegradable,” Southers said. “The wreaths are either buried or used somewhere in a landfill.”

Besides the turnout at the opening ceremony, Southers has found the decorations attract passersby.

“I don’t think I have ever gone up there and there wasn’t someone standing there or driving by,” she said.

Already the two women are making plans for a Wreaths ceremony for December 2014.

“We have a little bit of money left over in the bank account,” Southers said. “We are going to try to do the same. We will have to do some extra. When I was up there yesterday, there were two new graves.”

She anticipates buying close to 1,000 wreaths this time. Wreaths cost $15 and donations can be made at the account at Citizens Deposit Bank and Trust.

“We were amazed with the way people supported us,” Southers said. “This is not an organization. This is just volunteers. Everybody thought they were a part of it. Everybody made it a success, everybody in the county who participated. That is what made it a success.”

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  • melika68

    Why don’t you leave the wreaths at the sites for the month of January to support those who served our country. I know how much these wreaths cost and they are not cheap. The rules of the cemetery are a bit too much! It is horrible to think we pay good money to bury our loved ones but then are told how and when we can decorate. You should be ashamed.

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  • outoftowner

    I visited Woodland over the holidays and was shocked to see the state of the cemetery. First there were little plastic no parking signs on wooden stakes alongside the main drive. some had blown off and there were just pieces and the stakes. Second were the over flowing trash bins. I hope that this place isn’t going the way of some of the other Ironton landmarks. Shameful.

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  • Ozzy

    The wreaths looked beautiful. Good job!

    The thing I hate is the “rules” sign right in the middle of the plots. That is awful to have that there. It is not uniformed and needs to be removed.

    (Report comment)

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