Central Texas community stands up to help 12th annual Wreaths for Vets event

Central Texas community stands up to help 12th annual Wreaths for Vets event
Posted at 1:14 PM, Nov 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-25 18:35:56-05

Saturday marks the 12th year fallen veterans will receive a wreath on their headstones at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery. 

This is all thanks to many volunteers and organizations that have donated their time and money into making this event successful each year. 

A project that started with just 400 wreaths for fallen veterans, has grown, 12 years later into 9,000 and Cyd West treasurer for Friends of Central Texas Veterans Cemetery says honoring more veterans means more volunteers.

"My grandmother always said many hands make light work," West said. "And so we always trust that the community is going to show up and help us and they always do." 

Several people make it a tradition, like Jaiden Weaver who will spend his 10th year volunteering with his mom and grandma. What started in a church now happens in a warehouse with a sea of people.

"There weren't as many people as there are here," Weaver said. "Like there were like a quarter of these people that's around here now its amazing as how much it's grown."

Weaver's dad served more than 22 years. Weaver gives thanks he came home and can help honor the ones that couldn't.

"There was a possibility that he couldn't have come back, so I'm just very grateful that he's here and I just want to remember all the veterans that sacrifice for our country," Weaver said. 

His mom feels humbled to see neighbors come together for something that hits so close to home. 

"Every year it brings me to tears," Brandi Weaver said. "Because it's awesome to see the Killeen community and all the surrounding communities come together because we get a lot of bad rep in this area. And people do come together for good causes and this is proof of it."

And seeing all this makes a difference in their hearts as this weaver family tradition continues. 

'When you see the wreaths laid out on them in the cemetery it's absolutely gorgeous and it makes a difference," Brandi said. 

The wreaths that were prepped were laid at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery Saturday, Nov. 24. 

This tradition started just 12 years ago when someone noticed that there were wreaths on only a few headstones and believed everyone should be given the special treatment.

An emotional day as thousands come to pay respects to not only strangers but loved ones who lay in rest. 

Although no strangers to the cemetery, Janeen and Monica Garza came to lay wreaths for the first time. 

"Just like an emotional impact because I know the military is a big part of my family and I want to embrace that and take in the military itself," Monica said. 

Janeen served in the army, where she met her husband. Her oldest two daughters also currently serve our country in the army and navy.

"I feel you can never do enough," Janeen said. "You can never volunteer enough. you can never give the military enough thanks and gratitude because there are still people serving." 

And in laying that first wreath down its a  moment that lasts a lifetime.

"Johnny R Sadler is her grandfather my stepdad. So its very impactful to see where he's at. And just a small way we can say thank you," Janeen said. 

And the end result, a beautiful sight, seeing all the wreaths laid out, some call it a sea of green. While Monica has a different way of describing the scene. 

"A sea of just gratitude a sea of just love for the military," Monica said.  

For more information on Wreaths for Vets visit their website

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