Classic Beauty Meets a Classy Cause

Posted Jul 29th, 2013 by Laura Kronmann  Category: Community Interest


Amidst the tranquility of Toledo Memorial Park safely rest thousands of heroes – heroes who fought, and some, even giving their lives – for our freedom. They may be gone, but they’re certainly never forgotten.

It’s a cause Mel Harbaugh holds near to his heart. Four years ago, the Vietnam veteran from Ottawa Lake, Mich. enlisted again – this time in the Wreaths Across America program, a volunteer effort to place wreaths on the graves of servicemen and women across the nation. Every year, on the second Saturday in December, Harbaugh traveled to Ohio Veteran’s Home Cemetery in Sandusky to place wreaths on the graves and pay his tributes. Curious to see if such a program existed in Toledo, Harbaugh turned to Jeff Clegg, president of Toledo Memorial Park, and a partnership was born.

“When Mel came to me with the idea, I couldn’t hop on it fast enough,” said Clegg. “Given that we have Memorial Day in the summer and Veteran’s Day in the fall but nothing in the winter, Wreaths Across America is a wonderful way to pay our respects during the holiday season.”

This December, Clegg and Harbaugh plan to start with the 1,400 graves in the veterans’ section of the Park (section six), with the eventual goal of placing wreaths on all 12,679 sites. As each wreath costs $15, it will take $21,000 for the first phase, and $195,000 to cover every veteran in the Park.

To make that happen, several fundraisers will be taking place over the next few months – the first being a Classic Car Show on Sunday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Toledo Memorial Park, 6382 Monroe Street in Sylvania. Classic car owners and spectators alike can enjoy the rumbling roar and stunning cruisers from years gone by – and prizes will be awarded for the top three entries. Motorcycles are welcome as well. Admission and registration are free; advance registration isn’t required. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about (and sign up for) volunteer opportunities, purchase wreaths or make donations. Music and refreshments will also be available.

“While we’re off to a strong start, there’s still a lot of money to be raised over the next few months,” said Clegg. “With events such as this – where we’re combining the classic beauty of the cars with a classy cause of honoring our veterans – we’re confident that we’ll reach that goal. We look forward to seeing everyone on the 18th!”

MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Kronmann at Image Focus, at (419) 265-5252 or lkronmann@bex.net.

Toledo Memorial Park

Established in 1922, Toledo Memorial Park is the area’s finest cemetery, with 380 beautiful acres of meadows, ponds, magnificent trees, flowering plants and sculptures all designed to celebrate the living beauty of nature. Our goal has been to create a peaceful retreat where generations can gather in beauty and tranquility to remember their loved ones. The non-sectarian, non-denominational, non-profit Park is solely owned by property owners who believe in family, choices and commitment. The Park includes a crematory, mausoleums, chapels, columbariums and burial sections accommodating both lawn level memorials and upright monuments and provides for all individual preferences including earth burial, mausoleum entombment, cremation and inurnment. For more information visit www.ToledoMemorialPark.com or call (419) 882-7151.

Wreaths Across America

In 1992, the Worcester Wreath Company found itself with a surplus of wreaths leading into the holiday season. With the help of the local congressperson, the company arranged for the wreaths to be placed in an older section of Arlingon National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Other companies immediately joined in, turning it into an annual effort – efforts which went almost unnoticed until 2005, when a photo of a snow-laden wreath at Arlington went viral. From there, national interest and inquiries soared – and in 2007, the Wreaths Across America (WAA) program was born. The national nonprofit organization is based on three pillars related to our veterans: to remember, to honor and to teach. Today, the organization includes more than 1,000 local fundraising groups in all 50 states representing more than 800 cemeteries, military memorials and other locations, along with our nation’s cemetery at Arlington. In 2008, and each year since, Congress has issued a proclamation officially recognizing “Wreaths Across America Day” each December. This year, it will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. For more information, visitwww.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

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Laura Kronmann - Toledo Memorial Park | Toledo, OH

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