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The goal is to sponsor wreaths for approximately 2,500 veterans gravestones in four cemeteries in North Adams.

Volunteers Raising Funds for Wreaths on North Adams Veterans Graves

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Kris Maloney explains the concept to the City Council. The group is looking for support in use of facilities and participation. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The local volunteers in coordination with the national nonprofit Wreaths Across America are hoping to raise $25,000 to place a wreath of remembrance on the gravestone of every city veteran on Dec. 15. 
 
Kris Maloney told the City Council on Tuesday that "through the Wreaths Across America program we are ensuring that the lives of our men and women in uniform are remembered, not their deaths. It is our responsibility as Americans to be their witness and to share their stories of service and sacrifice with the next generation."
 
City Councilor Rebbecca Cohen had requested that Maloney be able to speak on the topic, saying Congress had chosen a Saturday each December since 2008 to honor those who served. Since then, municipalities have participated with annual wreath-laying ceremonies. 
 
Maloney said the mission was to place a wreath on the graves of approximately 2,500 veterans in the city cemeteries of Hill Side, Southview and Blackinton, and in St. Joseph's Cemetery. 
 
"In order to accomplish this, we plan to raise monies through individual wreath sponsorships, fundraising activities, corporate donations and grant money from various community organizations," she said.
 
Each wreath sponsorship is $15; for every two purchased, Wreaths Across America provides a third. There will be a booth at this Saturday's farmers' market with more information.
 
The group is requesting the support of the city and the use of the Veterans Memorial for the day of the wreath laying and City Yard as a delivery point for the wreaths before the event. Maloney said it was hoped that police and firefighters will be involved and that the Department of Public Works would also help with the wreaths' removal in January.
 
"We believe this to be a benefit to our community to remember and honor our veterans and to give people of all ages the opportunity to be involved in the preparation leading up to wreath day," she said.  
 
Donna Engel and Donna Whitcomb are the location and fundraising coordinators for both the North Adams and Stamford, Vt., cemeteries. Facebook pages have been set up to raise awareness of efforts for wreath sponsorships at Stamford's Houghton and Millard cemeteries and at the North Adams cemeteries.
 
Wreaths Across America coordinates some 1,400 wreath-laying activities, including at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Tags: cemetery,   memorial,   veterans,   wreaths,   

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Estate Plans Can Help You Answer Questions About the Future

Submitted by Edward Jones

The word "estate" conjures images of great wealth, which may be one of the reasons so many people don't develop estate plans. After all, they're not rich, so why make the effort? In reality, though, if you have a family, you can probably benefit from estate planning, whatever your asset level. And you may well find that a comprehensive estate plan can help you answer some questions you may find unsettling – or even worrisome.

Here are a few of these questions:

* What will happen to my children?
With luck, you (and your co-parent, if you have one) will be alive and well at least until your children reach the age of majority (either 18 or 21, depending on where you live). Nonetheless, you don't want to take any chances, so, as part of your estate plans, you may want to name a guardian to take care of your children if you are not around. You also might want to name a conservator – sometimes called a "guardian of the estate" – to manage any assets your minor children might inherit.

* Will there be a fight over my assets? Without a solid estate plan in place, your assets could be subject to the time-consuming, expensive – and very public – probate process. During probate, your relatives and creditors can gain access to your records, and possibly even challenge your will. But with proper planning, you can maintain your privacy. As one possible element of an estate plan, a living trust allows your property to avoid probate and pass quickly to the beneficiaries you have named.

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