Volunteers place wreaths
Volunteers placed wreaths on veterans’ gravesites at the both the Fallon Paiute Shoshone and Churchill County cemeteries this week as part of the Wreaths Across America program.
Although the nationwide event occurred on Saturday at national, federal and municipal cemeteries including the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley, local organizers received almost 700 extra wreaths from the NNVMC earlier this week for use in Churchill County.
The national “Wreaths Across America” program, which began in 1992, honors veterans in all 50 states and at overseas national cemeteries during a ceremony usually conducted in mid-December.
Fallon resident Roger Elliott sent out the word he needed volunteers to place wreaths at the two cemeteries this week to honor veterans whether they fought in some far away war or served stateside.
“I talked to Brett Palmer (Northern Nevada Veterans Coalition), about getting wreaths, and then volunteers were here Monday and Tuesday unloading one truck (of wreaths) on Monday, and then a second truck on Tuesday.”
By the time the wreaths arrived in Fallon, Elliott had almost 700 to place. Additionally, he chipped in with his own funding for the wreaths as did the Eagles Hall west of Fallon.
“The Eagles have been good in getting donations,” added Elliott, who is also a member of the Fallon chapter of the Patriot Guard riders, a nationwide organization of motorcycle riders who support veterans and attend military funerals.
Placing wreaths at the tribe’s ceremony didn’t take too long, but volunteers spent several hours walking the paths, the grassy areas between plots and dirt roads at the county cemetery looking for veterans’ gravesites that indicated the deceased had served in the military. Veterans ranged from those who served during the Spanish-American War to the present. A wreath was placed at the grave of Richard Weaver, an 18-year-old sailor from Fallon who was one of two Nevadans killed aboard the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941.
“It gives you a warm feeling when you see this,” Elliott said. “It means a lot to me because I had classmates killed in Vietnam.”
Although he didn’t serve in the military, Elliott said he feels duty-bound to remember the veterans and to honor them any way he can.
Sylvia Jackson was one of a handful of volunteers who placed wreaths at the county cemetery.
“I wanted to do this,” Jackson said of her volunteering. “My daughter saw a need for volunteers on Facebook, and she came out yesterday (Monday) and brought me out today.”