Hundreds of wreaths still needed for local veterans’ graves

With just 27 days left to go until the Thanksgiving cutoff date, Columbia City resident Gary Bird is hoping people will start thinking about the holidays – and about supporting the Wreaths Across America in Greenhill Cemetery this year.

Bird and fellow volunteers with the Whitley County Veterans Cemetery Cleaning & Restoration group – a group that has been cleaning and repairing primarily veterans’ gravesites in local cemeteries – decided they wanted to further honor veterans by decorating their graves for the holidays this year, uniting with the national Wreaths Across America project that puts holiday wreaths on veteran graves in National Cemeteries as well as other cemeteries where veterans lay.

For the past several weeks, Bird has been rallying support for a project to put Christmas wreaths on the graves of soldiers in Greenhill Cemetery as well as other cemeteries donors might request. His goal is 400 wreaths for Greenhill Cemetery and to make that happen, he will need the community’s support to make sure every veteran’s grave gets one.

“Still need 373 Wreaths to lay on all veterans gravesites,” Bird shared on social media this week.

The wreaths are balsam with hand-tied red velvet bows. Sponsorship prices are as follows:

  • 1 Wreath Individual Sponsorship ($17)
  • 2 Wreaths ($34)
  • 5 Wreaths ($85)
  • 10 Wreaths ($170)
  • Custom Number of Wreaths (price varies)

On December 16, 2023, at 1 p.m., a ceremony is planned. volunteers will begin placing the wreaths in the cemetery. Donors who want one for a location other than Greenhill may pick one up.

In addition to the goodwill of placing a wreath on the grave of a deceased veteran, a portion of the sales of the wreaths will benefit the work of the Whitley County Veterans Cemetery Cleaning & Restoration group.

For more information, to sponsor a wreath or to volunteer to help put wreaths on graves, visit