Las Animas VFW Auxiliary #2411 Annual Wreath’s Across America Project Wrap Up
Description: Pictured above are volunteers Anita Kuhns with her grandsons, left to right, Austin, Hunter, Tanner, and Anita Kuhn at Las Animas Cemetery and George Pawlish MIA plaque at Fort Lyon National Cemetery(pictured below).
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA WRAP-UP
By Kathleen Tomlin
December 31, 2020
Las Animas VFW Auxiliary #2411 is wrapping up their annual Wreath’s Across America project, and would like to thank all those that bought wreaths and helped lay wreaths. The National Theme this year was, “Be An American Worth Fighting For!” Wreaths Across America is currently having a great sale – buy one, get one free, to help support your local sponsorship group, which is the VFW Auxiliary #2411. Wreaths have to be ordered online at wreathsacrossamerica.org with our group number CO0002P. Sale ends January 15 th . A special thanks to Darla Youngblood who arranged the Wreaths Across America Dedication at Fort Lyon National Cemetery on December 19th and to all the volunteers who helped her. Due to the pandemic, services were very brief, but meaningful. The VFW Post #2411 of Las Animas presented the colors. Darla instructed designated volunteers to place the evergreen wreaths, trimmed with simple red bows, in memory of those who served and are serving. U. S. Army was placed by Lee Scofield, Army Veteran; U. S. Marine Corp was John Ritter, Army Veteran and son of Marine Veteran Ray Ritter; U. S. Navy – Terry Menges, Jr., Retired Navy Veteran; U. S. Air Force – Andrew Alonzo, Retired Marine and Army Veteran; U. S. Coast Guard – Rick Ward - Coast Guard Veteran and Bent County Veterans Service Officer; U. S. Merchant Marines – Denise Gripka, Retired Navy Veteran. Bert Huff, Veteran, placed the wreath in honor of the more than 82,000 U. S. servicemen from all branches of the military whose last known status was either POW or MIA.
These individuals have never returned to their families and homes but will never be forgotten. After the ceremonial wreaths were laid, the American Legion Post #6 of Las Animas and Ordway honor guard delivered the three-volley salute. The dedication concluded with TAPS performed by the VFW Post #2411. Community volunteers from all ages came out and placed wreaths on flag marked graves. Approximately 486 wreaths were placed on veteran graves at Fort Lyon; 234 at Las Animas/Bent County; and 4 at Peaceful Valley (Smith Ranch) Cemeteries, for a total of 729 wreaths. Appreciation is expressed to the drivers of the semi-trucks that delivered the wreaths to Fort Lyon and Las Animas. The trucks are beautiful and many of the drivers are volunteers. The Auxiliary receives $5.00 for each wreath sold, and then in turn uses this to help veteran projects in our area. The wreaths looked awesome on the newly fallen snow. We have 620 veterans’ graves at Bent County/Las Animas Cemetery and approximately 2285 interred at Fort Lyon National Cemetery and 4 veterans at Peaceful Valley. If you have any questions contact Kathleen Tomlin, President, VFWA at 719-469-2721. A special thanks goes out to all the volunteers that make this event possible and for those cemetery employees that help us! God bless our Veterans and Remember – Honor – Teach.