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Volunteers needed to place wreaths on every grave at Hopewell Cemetery

Posted at 7:51 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 19:51:08-05

HOPEWELL, Va. -- Every year 80 to 100 volunteers arrive at City Point National Cemetery and place wreaths on graves as part of Wreaths Across America.

"Started out with like 300 and some,  to last year almost 1,000," says Bob Jones, President of Oldie But Goodies Classic Cruisers.

Jones says the goal of his club and of the other non profits was to one day have a wreath on every grave marker but headstones outnumber wreaths more than 5 to 1, until 48 hours ago.

Jones says he got a call that Wreaths Across America was sending more than 5,000 wreaths to Hopewell. "It was a God send" he says.

"It was a Godsend," he says.

"I was blown away," says Traci Hackley, President of Rolling Thunder, Virginia Chapter 5.

Hackley and Rolling Thunder members have participated the last four years.

"We grab some and we just go to the tombstones and we lay them on the tombstones," she says. But like Jones, she always hopes that one day enough donations would flow in to get a  wreath for each of the 5,545 headstones.

Now, with about 6,000 wreaths, Abilene Motor Express was called in to help store and then transport the wreaths to the cemetery on Saturday.

"To cover this ground, you need a lot of people," says Hackley.

City Point National Cemetery had thousands of Civil War Union soldiers buried there shortly after the end of the war.

In the early 1900's the cemetery was opened up to all veterans and today has World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam Veterans buried there.

Saturday more volunteers will be needed than ever before to accomplish placing wreaths on every marker.

Volunteers are asked to arrive at 11 a.m. for a short ceremony before the work begins.