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SG-VHV participates in Wreath for Vets Ceremony

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Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans was honored to assist Marty Smith, Copperas Cove councilwoman in working with the Wreaths for Vets ceremony at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery which is led by Ms Jean Shine.  SG-VHV representative for the wreath preparation was Ms. Pam Jamerson.  She attended the preparation ceremony and represented Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans well.

On a cold, damp, gray morning, with the surrounding hilltops shrouded in fog, more than 1,000 people gathered for the Wreaths for Vets ceremony. Volunteers decorated all of the markers on the Veterans graves with a red-and-green wreath for the Christmas season. 

Although Star Group VHV members were there to assist, we also wanted to pay tribute to our own; wreaths were laid on the grave of Mr. Don Bailey, a SG-VHV member (father of SG-VHV members, Sheila Timmons and Katrina Washington) who passed away in Sept 2015.  We also laid a wreath on the grave of Earnest Peel (husband of SG-VHV member, Ms. Evelyn Peel) who also passed away in Sept 2015.  The tributes were very emotional and the women SG-VHV volunteers, Sheila Timmons, Pam Jamerson, Audrey Hill, Evelyn Peel and Joanie Shedrick needed the strength of the only SG-VHV male volunteer, John Cook.  But we must mention that Joe Hill was there and kept the car warm for us even though he was unable to assist in the wreath laying due to medical conditions. 

"We were ecstatic with the number of people who came during this inclement weather," said Jean Shine, president of the Friends of the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery. "Even though we were nearly overrun with volunteers, one thing we certainly have to have next year is a big, booming sound system."  The event was still efficient and orderly with members of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps from Copperas Cove High School and the Civil Air Patrol formed a color guard.

Killeen First United Methodist Church Pastor Skip Blancett directed the ceremony and stated, "We're treating the people buried here with the greatest respect we can possibly give them. We remember the families of the fallen service members, because their pain never ends.

He thanked cemetery administrators for hosting the event on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and thanked the Patriot Guard. The motorcycle club that assists at patriotic functions had more than 100 members present.  

Blancett called successive groups to lay wreaths. First were Gold Star families who had lost members in combat and families of those missing in action. Next were those going to the monument near the cemetery's entrance for Central Texans who had lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Next were those going to Purple Heart graves. The fourth group called were spouses, family members and close friends of other people buried in the cemetery.   The last group was the volunteers who ensured that every grave marker had a wreath.

The wreaths will remain on the graves through the holidays. 

The local Friends organization got its start when Jean and Hilary Shine attended the first ceremony here, looked at the six wreaths provided and then at each other and agreed that wreaths should be put at each grave.

The nationwide "Wreaths Across America" is a 15-year-old project of the Worcester Wreath Co. of Maine that began as a tradition of placing wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. The event here, scheduled for noon Dec. 13, is sponsored by Disabled American Veterans W.R. Hold Chapter 147. Information is available from Theron Johnson at (254) 634-7918.

The Wreaths for Vets project is separate. Information on that is available at (254) 690-4321 or



  • Comment Link August Tuesday, 14 November 2017 17:37 posted by August

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  • Comment Link Ilse Tuesday, 14 November 2017 02:31 posted by Ilse

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