As a local veteran organization prepares for its annual wreath-laying event in Killeen, H-E-B provided a donation, which will go for the purchase of more wreaths.
Sally Mehle, community coordinator for H-E-B’s Fort Hood area, presented a check of $5,000 Friday to Jean Shine, president of Friends of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, at the cemetery.
Shine and her team organize the annual laying of the wreaths, which takes place at 10 a.m. on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
This year’s event is still on as planned on Nov. 28 at the cemetery, 11463 U.S. Highway 195, Killeen, Shine said.
“We know this is an ongoing, yearly event that they take care of the wreaths and place them on the grave site of our fallen soldiers,” Mehle said. “And H-E-B just thinks it’s so important. We want to respect all those veterans, and I think it’s a great way to bring our community together.”
Last year’s wreath laying drew around 5,000 volunteers, Shine estimated.
For this year’s event, Shine said she is anticipating more than 11,000 wreaths to be placed in front of every headstone and on every columbarium in the cemetery.
Macy Sills, the secretary of the organization, explained why donations are so important.
“It allows us to continue every year, it allows us to buy more wreaths and bows,” she said. “That’s the main lane where our funding goes, because like you said, unfortunately, we have to buy more wreaths and bows every year because there are more grave sites.”
Prior to laying the wreaths, they must be prepared. Volunteers normally gather by the hundreds to stretch the branches out, fluff them and adorn each with a bow.
Shine said the board of the organization is scheduled to vote on whether to have the preparation prior to the wreath-laying event.
If the board gives the go ahead, the wreath preparation will take place at 10 a.m. Nov. 21 at the Killeen Special Events Center, 3301 S. W.S. Young Drive.
In the event the board does not give the go ahead for the preparation, Shine said the wreaths will be prepared the day they are laid on the graves. Volunteers who arrive to lay a wreath will be asked to prepare it before placing it.
Since the capacity of the Special Events Center is around 1,500, Shine said city officials have told her if the preparation continues, they will be able to have around 500 to 600 people in the building, with everyone taking coronavirus pandemic precautions.
Painting With a Twist
Another fundraising event is also scheduled for Sunday at Painting With a Twist in Harker Heights.
Money raised from that event will be solely for the purchase of bows, Shine said.
The event is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Painting With a Twist, 716 Indian Trail Drive, Suite 220, Harker Heights, or on Zoom.
Registration is required. There is a limit of 24 people in person. Others can join on Zoom.
Interested participants can register at paintingwithatwist.com.