Indiantown Gap National Cemetery needs sponsors so every veteran’s grave has a wreath this December

INDIANTOWN GAP NATIONAL CEMETERY, Pa. -- Volunteers with Indiantown Gap National Cemetery say they need your help, and time is running out.

They say they need approximately 20,000 more wreath sponsors for all 41,000 veterans' graves at the cemetery.

Every December, volunteers gently place wreaths on veterans' graves all throughout the cemetery during the annual Wreath Laying Ceremony. They also read the veterans' names aloud.

For some volunteers, it's a very emotional experience because they know it may be the only time all year some of the veterans are acknowledged.

"Such a good hearted guy. Just wonderful," said Rhonda Culbert of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County.

Culbert is talking about her father, a veteran of the United States Air Force, who passed away in 2016.

“I know my dad is okay," Culbert told Fox43's Grace Griffaton. "[I feel him watching me] all the time."

The December after Culbert lost her dad, she visited Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and noticed a wreath placed on her father's grave.

“I think it’s amazing," said Culbert. "When somebody did that for my dad, I immediately went online and sponsored one for somebody else. I payed it forward."

Now, the nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America is calling on others to pay it forward; again, volunteers say they need 41,000 wreaths sponsored by December 2nd at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

"Of course, we want to get the whole cemetery covered. That’s what it’s all about," said Craig Butt, a volunteer at the cemetery. "It’s just respect for the people buried here.”

Butt says it’s the only time all year some of the veterans buried here are acknowledged.

“There are a lot of people no one comes to visit them," Butt told FOX43. "When we have Wreaths Across America, somebody puts a wreath there, spends some time there with them, says their name. It’s not going to happen unless people step up to the plate and make it happen."

“How would $15 not pay tribute to that person? I just feel like it would be an awesome thing for everybody to have a wreath on their grave," added Culbert.

For more on how you can sponsor a wreath, click here. 

Any wreaths ordered after December 2nd will count towards the 2020 Ceremony.

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