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More than 200 volunteers spent a few hours marking gravesites in preparation for the wreath-laying.
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North Adams Group Short 500 Wreaths for Veterans Ceremony

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Volunteers have been identifying and recording the graves of veterans for Wreaths Across America.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The organizers of the local Wreaths Across America effort knew they'd taken on a big challenge with their goal to place a wreath on the gravestone of every city veteran.
But they didn't know just how big a challenge it would be. 
Donna Engels and Donna Whitcomb were planning to raise $25,000 to put wreaths of remembrance on the graves of about 2,500 veterans. But when all the research and plotting was done, the full picture of the city's commitment to national service was revealed. 
The full number of graves: 3,218. 
Southview Cemetery alone has 2,867 at last count. So, the group's changed tactics to focus on Southview alone but it's still come up about 500 wreaths short. 
"We're trying to cover Southview," Whitcomb said. "What we're doing with the other cemeteries, we're going to have a member ... reading slowly the list of names of the veterans because we just don't have enough to do all of the cemeteries." 
The plan is to give Hill Side, St. Joseph's and Blackinton cemeteries one large wreath and then read the names of the nearly 400 veterans buried in those three cemeteries. The larger ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial on Dec. 15 at noon, the same time as the ceremonies taking place across the nation.
Whitcomb last week had been out trying to raise more funds to cover the final 500 wreaths for Southview. Each wreath sponsorship is $15; for every two purchased, the nonprofit Wreaths Across America provides a third.
"I'm optimistic," she said. "It's pretty amazing and I'm amazed at the generosity of the small businesses down here ... they hand you check of $250, $500, $1,000."
The deadline for donations is Friday, Nov. 30, to allow enough time to place the order for delivery. 
A dedicated group of volunteers has plotted all the graves over summer and placed all the markers in Southview in preparation for the wreath laying. Setting the wreaths on Dec. 15 is expected to take two to three hours.
Whitcomb said nearly two dozen teachers and students from McCann Technical School will be helping out. Drury High School students have also done a community service learning project to interview veterans. Their work will be on display in the lobby of MountainOne from 10 to noon on Dec. 15. 
"We've got a lot of volunteers pulling out to get this together," she said. However, "anyone's welcome to come to the setting out."
It is important that those wishing to donate should do so through the Facebook page or the North Adams page on Wreaths Across America.

Tags: cemetery,   recognition event,   veterans,   wreaths,   

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