Teens get Wreaths Across America Project underway in West Milford

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A nationwide program to remember deceased veterans by placing wreaths at their graves during for the December holidays is getting underway locally.

Evan LeMay and Matthew Hoffman, West Milford High School seniors, recently addressed the Township of West Milford Council about local participation in the Wreaths Across America project.

They asked for local governing body support and assistance to make the event happen and said they want to create a memorable and unforgettable township experience in honor of veterans.

The two students told about their past participation in the Wreaths Across America program in Sparta. Together they raised more than $6,000 in three weeks.

This year the Wreaths Across America is coming to local cemeteries in the township, LeMay said.

He explained that the national movement takes place throughout the country on the third Saturday of every December in recognition of the veterans who have served the nation.

LeMay said his group is open to suggestions and would sit with the governing body to brainstorm to make the project successful.

He provided a list of items they need, and an instruction sheets on how to donate and volunteer.

The want to have an opening ceremony at Veteran’s Park and want to use the town hall meeting room so the volunteers can have a place to prepare their program. They hope to have the high school band perform.

Hoffman said at least 100 volunteers are expected to participate. LeMay reported that the group will be hosting a luncheon at Macopin Fire House for the volunteers and they are collecting donations for the meal.

Councilman Peter McGuinnes thanked the students and commended their efforts.

He asked how they would raise needed money for their project. Hoffman responded that last year they put cups in classrooms for students to donate their spare change. He said sheets are printed out with information about donating for wreaths. Cost of each wreath is $15.

Rotarian Marilyn Lichtenberg was asked to bring the support information to a Rotary Club meeting in hopes that the Rotarians will support the youth’s project.

Finding all of the cemeteries throughout the 80 square mile township – dating back to pre-Revolutionary times may be impossible. There are dozens of them – many obscured by brush and trees.

Among the well known ones are at St. Joseph parish, Echo Lake; West Milford Presbyterian Church; Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church; the United Methodist Church cemetery in Newfoundland and the Ridge Road cemetery.

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