Veterans Voices: Wreaths Across America fundraiser planned June 14
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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — This time of year, Christmas wreaths aren’t front of mind for most people.

But they are for the organizers of Wreaths Across America, an annual tribute to deceased American heroes buried in more than 3,100 locations across the nation during the holiday season.

One of those locations is the Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.

“We are honoring, remembering and teaching the community about these people who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving us our freedom as well as our country,” said Debra Deegan, local coordinator for Wreaths Across America Mountain Home Cemetery.

Deegan said Mountain Home is the final resting place for more than 17,400 veterans and their spouses. Her goal is to raise enough money to put a wreath on every grave.

“They averaged about 7,000 to 8,000 wreaths in years past,” Deegan said. “This past year, we were able to do 12,952 wreaths. So that’s the most we’ve ever done. It was amazing to be able to see the majority of the cemetery completely covered. It was just a beautiful sight.”

Each wreath costs $17 dollars. Veterans groups already are selling wreaths.

Deegan is planning a fundraiser at Eggs Up Grill on North Roan Street in Johnson City on Wednesday, June 14 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ten percent of proceeds will go toward the purchase of wreaths.

“We want every one of those service members to be remembered,” Deegan said. “We don’t want them to feel left out. We don’t want someone’s family member to feel like we aren’t honoring them as much as we’re honoring those that we’re covering.”

Wreaths will be placed on graves on December 16.

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