ZEELAND, Mich. - A group in West Michigan needs the public's help to honor veterans this holiday season.
Civil Air Patrol Squadron MI-135 has been placing wreaths on veterans' graves for the last 11 years. The group is based in the Holland area with 8 senior members and 26 cadets, ranging from 12 to 18 years old.
"When we get back to our squadron meeting afterwards, and we ask what it meant to [the cadets], you would be absolutely astounded to hear 12 and 18-year-old cadets talk about how it touched their hearts so much," said Major Tallman. "So that's meaningful to us."
Nationwide, the Civil Air Patrol has partnered with Wreaths across America, a nonprofit organization inspired by the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2019, they hope to place 1.7 million wreaths on veterans' graves.
This year, the MI-135 squadron is focusing on three cemeteries: Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, Park Township Cemetery, and Georgetown Cemetery.
All together, the group needs about 700 more wreaths sponsored by Monday, December 2nd. The largest amount of wreaths sponsorship still needed is for Georgetown Cemetery.
"It would be a really awesome thing to see," said Sgt. Ben Kuncaitis, a cadet with the group. "It would be very happy and lots of families enjoy that, when their loved one has a wreath on their grave versus not having one. That really impacts people. I think it would be really awesome thing if the whole cemetery was covered."
If you would like to sponsor a flag, they cost $15 each. All donations for the 2019 wreath-laying must be sent by Monday. If you would like to contribute, you can contact the group here. You can also donate directly to a fundraiser by clicking here.
You can also send a check to 8100 80th Ave, Zeeland 49464. It should be made out to 'Wreaths Across America.' They ask that you fill out one of these forms based on the cemeteries they are trying to sponsor the most.