NEWPORT CITY – For the past three years, Spates the Florist and Garden Center has donated over 1,000 Christmas wreaths to the Newport Rotary Club, who in turn lay wreaths on the graves of every veteran buried in city cemeteries.
Store co-owner Robert Gosselin and the Rotarians want to go one step further and lay wreaths on the graves of every veteran in Orleans County.
That ends up being between 2,100 and 2,200 wreaths. Until now, the company has covered the expense, but with that many wreaths, Gosselin needs volunteers and financial assistance to make his dream a reality.
“It’s a way to remember our fallen war heroes,” said Gosselin. “There is no better way this time of year to say thank you.”
He will give discounts for those who buy multiple wreaths.
Gosselin, who already sent request letters to some businesses, is pleased with the response. “We’re well on our way,” he said. “We want to really make this happen. We’re really excited about reaching our goals.”
Volunteers plan to lay the wreaths Saturday, Dec. 8. There might be a short ceremony at the memorial in Gardner Park.
The wreath project is part of the national campaign “Wreaths Across America.”
The purpose of the campaign is to ensure that Arlington National Cemetery is fully decorated for the holidays. The organization also reaches out to officials of veteran cemeteries in all 50 states.
Gosselin pointed out that not every veteran is buried at a national cemetery.
Those looking for more information or who want to volunteer their time may call 802-334-8330 as soon as possible.
Next year, Gosselin may include veteran gravesites in Caledonia and Essex Counties.