Organization that collects wreaths to honor fallen heroes comes up short

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The chilly morning conditions did not stop close to 100 volunteers from honoring our fallen heroes.

An American flag now decorates thousands of gravestones at the Clovis Cemetery-- markers for the annual wreath laying ceremony, with full military honors.

"They place a wreath for each branch of the military-- Coast Guard, Merchant Marine,and POW, MIA-- and after that we place the wreaths in the cemetery," said Linda Branam, Wreaths Across America Clovis.

Those who attend are able to participate by laying live balsam wreaths on each veteran headstone.

"It's made up of 10 balsam bouquets and each one represents a character of a veteran," said Branam.

Drivers donate their time to transport the wreaths from Maine-- the same ones placed at Arlington National Cemetery. It's part of the national organization Wreaths Across America.

Over the last decade, volunteers have laid more than 700,000 memorial wreaths throughout the United States. Something Clovis has been a part of for the last four years.

"We don't want our veterans to be forgotten, we want to say their names when we lay the wreaths this year," said Branam.

Branam said the non-profit has a three-part mission.

"To remember the fallen, honor those who have served, currently serve, and to teach our children the value of freedom."

There may be a large turnout of volunteers, but there are 1,000 fewer wreaths to lay this year. Donations came in for less than 2,500 wreaths but there are about 4,000 veterans that are buried here.

"That's just lack of donations, getting the word out is very hard even though this is our fourth year," said Branam.

Fundraising opportunities are available year-round; you can find them here or send an email to

The ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Clovis Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3225 is officiating.


- Academy, on Mendocino Ave off of Highway 168

- Red Bank Cemetery, east of the City of Clovis by 10 miles on Shaw Ave. across from Wild Water Adventure
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