8,000 Wreaths Collected At Fayetteville National Cemetery

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - Thousands of wreaths were removed from gravesites at the Fayetteville National Cemetery by volunteers Saturday (Jan. 24).

Cemetery director Tom Ruck said they put out a record number of wreaths, and with the help of volunteers, had all of them picked up in under a half an hour. He said they have put the wreaths out for the last three years on Dec. 13.

"It's a remembrance, it's a thank you, it's a circle wreath with a red ribbon of thank you and everlasting dedication and commitment, and I think that's what the beauty of it is," Ruck said.

Around 150 volunteers lended a helping hand. Cindy Whitacker of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association volunteered in honor of her several friends buried at the cemetery. She said she was stunned by the support of the community.

"It's an amazing feeling, it reaffirms my faith in humanity," Whitacker said.

All of the wreaths were gathered in a warehouse by the cemetery, where next week volunteers will recycle them. Bo's Blessings has handled the recycling every year the wreaths have been put out.

"All the money that's made from the recycling is donated to the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation, to purchase additional land for the cemetery," Whitacker said.

She said she hopes that today's support will continue throughout the year. Whitacker's husband is an Iraq veteran.

"That's our legacy as an American people and that's what makes America the greatest country in the world, because we have so many people who will give us that right that we so deeply cherish," Whitacker said.

According to a Bo's Blessings release, organizers said they are still needing volunteers to help take apart and recycle the wreaths. The release states that volunteers can meet at 750 S. Hill Street.

They describe the building as a warehouse, located directly behind Brenda's Bigger Burgers. The recycling event will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday (Jan. 30) and Saturday (Jan. 31).