Southern Utah News Articles
Celebrating Veterans - Wreaths Across America
Kanab resident Gloria McBeth is passionate about finding ways to honor Veterans. Gearing up for the holidays her adopted program, ‘Wreaths Across America,’ will give all of us an opportunity to honor our beloved Veterans who have passed away!
McBeth has earned her passion for those who have served in the Armed Forces. Her father Lloyd Laycook served as an Air Force pilot for 25 years, and husband Richard McBeth is a retired Army combat engineer. She also is the proud mother of two active military sons; John Culpepper is a Lt. Colonel in the Army, and Chris Culpepper is a Commander in the Coast Guard.
So you can say that respect for the military is in her blood!
The ‘Wreaths Across America’ program states its goal is to demonstrate that ‘Everyone Plays A Part’ to remember, honor and teach about the service and sacrifice Veterans have given for the preservation of our safety, rights and freedom.
“It all began with a gentleman from Maine who visited Arlington,” explained McBeth. “He was so touched by all the graves, he wanted to donate wreaths in the deceased servicemen’s honor.”
In 2005, there were photos taken at Arlington Cemetery of the stirring wreath memorials, and the idea of honoring the Veterans in this way went viral. “Thousands of people wanted to help do the wreaths for Veterans in other cemeteries around the country.”
McBeth first got into ‘Wreaths Across America,’ when she was with her husband in Ft. Leonard-wood, Missouri. The ‘Wreaths Across America’ had taken off there, and she became involved in fundraising and the program’s facilitation.
“When my husband and I moved here in 2017, my father Lloyd Laycook encouraged me to get the program going here,” said McBeth. “He said there were nearly 400 interred area Veterans. The local American Legion has marked each Veteran grave with a legion sticker.”
“We first talked to City Manager Joe Decker, and got the city’s blessing to place the wreaths.”
Wreath sponsorship is $15, and when you go online to the ‘Wreaths Across America’ website, do a search for Kanab, Utah. The honor is given to any Veteran who served.
The wreaths are ordered through the Warchester family of Maine, and is a non-political organization, with no religious ties and receives no federal funding – just private donations.
“We hope to raise enough sponsorship money to place a wreath on every Veteran’s grave,” said McBeth, “and we are half the way there! We must have our order in by December 2 to order our live wreaths.”
On Saturday, December 14, there will a service at the Kanab Cemetery at 10 a.m., that will be time-synched to other ‘Wreaths Across America’ ceremonies (including Arlington), and all over the nation!
“We will have a ceremony and family members will be asked to come forward and be recognized. We hope many citizens will attend to demonstrate our respect for our Veterans.”