Local volunteers won’t forget Brevard County veterans


Beginning just a few years ago, volunteers placed wreaths at the graves of veterans interred at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery. This is the fourth year since the cemetery opened and volunteers expect to place 8,000 wreaths Dec. 14.

It is part of Wreaths Across America, which was formed in 2007 after a couple of years of placing wreaths on graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The idea spread across the country and abroad where American service members are buried. By 2008, wreaths were placed on graves in more than 300 locations.

This year, wreaths will be placed in 1,600 locations around the nation.

Brevard County will not be left out. As is usual when it comes to advocating for veterans, Space Coast residents are present, whether it is volunteering their time or donating money. I have said this many times, and they never fail to support veterans’ causes.

In Brevard, Wreaths Across America started with Cape Canaveral National Cemetery. This year, local volunteers aim to cover every cemetery in the county where there are veterans interred.

Wreaths Across America location coordinators in Brevard, Betty Jo Green, Sam DiBlasio, Dorothy Walsh and Bruce Rothschild, are volunteers who help to raise money from individuals and corporations to pay for the wreaths. They coordinate the fundraising for different cemeteries.

“I try to do all I can for veterans’ organizations,” said Green, the location coordinator for Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

She said Brevard residents and companies have been generous in sponsoring the wreaths.

“They embrace us quite well,” she said. “We welcome corporations to join us.”

With about three weeks remaining, sponsors had been secured for 6,000 wreaths, leaving 2,000 more needed for the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery.

Volunteers such as Debbie Plaag, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, were expected to continue helping raise funds and awareness.

Volunteers are needed to help place the wreaths during ceremonies Dec. 14 at cemeteries across Brevard County.

There are four contact location coordinators for the different cemeteries in Brevard:

• Betty Jo Green — bgreen@aol.com or 321-777-1007

• Dorothy Walsh — 321-426-6736

• Bruce Rothschild — 321-514-9874

• Sam DiBlasio — 321-222-8738

For more information about Wreaths Across America go to wreathsacrossamerica.org