Nearly 2,000 Wreaths Will Honor Toledo-area Veterans

Posted Nov 30th, 2015 by Laura Kronmann  Category: Community Interest, General Interests,


Veterans’ graves will be decorated with donated wreaths

SYLVANIA, Ohio – Each year, Toledo Memorial Park participates in the national Wreaths Across America program to honor our country’s fallen heroes. This year’s ceremonial placing of the wreaths will take place Saturday, Dec. 12, beginning at 10 a.m.

The event will open with volunteers laying wreaths on the graves of veterans who rest at Toledo Memorial Park. A brief memorial service will start promptly at noon, happening simultaneously with the Wreaths Across America events nationwide.

During the ceremony, veterans and active-duty service members will place wreaths at six flagpoles – one flag for each branch of U.S. military service – surrounding the 85-foot-tall Veterans’ Memorial Tower.

“Each year we pay special tribute to one branch of the military,” said Jeff Clegg, president and CEO of Toledo Memorial Park and one of the people coordinating the December program. This year’s ceremony will pay tribute to the U.S. Navy.

“The honored service flag is placed directly under the American flag in the center of the veterans’ burial section. Active-duty naval officer, CDR Meghan Michael, Commanding Officer of Navy Operational Support Center, Toledo, Ohio, will deliver the keynote speech,” he said.

The invocation will be led by Pastor Nate Tuff of Olivet Lutheran Church, Sylvania, Ohio. Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops will be participating in the event as well. Other military, civic and veterans’ groups will also help with the event, providing the color guard, 21 gun salute and taps to honor the fallen heroes and departed veterans at Toledo Memorial Park.

“Last year, we placed 1,863 wreaths on the graves of veterans in the Toledo area,” said Mel Harbaugh, a Vietnam veteran and the executive committee chairman of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of Wreaths Across America, who coordinates a dedicated crew of volunteers to accomplish this patriotic task.

Volunteers will place wreaths on the graves of veterans around the Toledo area in the week following the ceremony. Clegg and Harbaugh have worked together to raise funds for the wreaths, which cost $15 each. They hope to one day raise enough to place a wreath on the grave of every veteran in the Toledo area.

“These men and women gave their lives, and we work to honor that sacrifice,” Harbaugh said.

Toledo Trucking Association has donated $3,000 toward the purchase of wreaths. The trucking association also donates the equipment, gas and time to pick up the wreaths in Maine and deliver them to Toledo.

“We’re delighted by the community support to help us honor the area’s veterans,” Clegg said. “The association has even issued a challenge to its members to match their donation.”

Last year all 225,000 graves in Arlington National Cemetery received a wreath, and volunteers placed more than 720,000 wreaths on graves worldwide.

For information about how to sponsor a wreath or volunteer, contact Harbaugh at (419) 349-9192 or

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 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 Arlington 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 Saturday, December 12, 2015.For more information, visit

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