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."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to email@example.com.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Romano, coordinator of the North End Athletic Association, noted this might be the 29th year of the exchange but it was really the 30th trip west. Lipa, Abuisi and others had asked about doing a Feast of St. Anthony, what has been a North End tradition for century now.
click for more
Heat index values are expected to reach 95 to 100 degrees this afternoon. Heat index values could reach 107 to 112 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon for most of Massachusetts, with values between 96 and 102 locally in the Berkshires. click for more
The city native was memorialized on Thursday with the unveiling of a bronze statue of two children reading a book set by the East Main Street entrance of the North Adams Public Library where she began her long career as a librarian.
click for more