Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett recently launched his final Wreaths Across America team as mayor. The effort raises funds to place as many live wreaths as possible on graves at the three veterans cemeteries located in Knox County. So what happens after the mayor leaves office? Mayor Burchett is proud to announce a partnership with the local Vietnam Veterans of America Captain Bill Robinson Chapter 1078 to jointly manage the program this final year before handing it over to chapter members who will spearhead future efforts. Mayor Burchett was the second person in Tennessee to be made an honorary lifetime member of VVA.
After leaving office, Mayor Burchett will continue his support of the wreaths program as an honorary member of the local VVA chapter. This will allow both parties to leverage existing partnerships and resources to support the effort for years to come.
“Honoring our veterans and their families with a wreath at Christmas is a simple way to show our appreciation for their service to our country,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “This is an important initiative and I want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to support it in the future. Our local VVA chapter does great work and I’m thankful to have them partner with us on this program.”
“We are honored and pleased to have this opportunity to partner with Mayor Tim Burchett to honor our East Tennessee veterans buried at the three area veteran cemeteries, and would like to see a wreath on every headstone,” said Don Smith, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Captain Bill Robinson Chapter 1078.
The fundraising effort for 2017 is ongoing. A $15 sponsorship will pay for a wreath made of live greenery to be placed on a veteran’s grave at either the Old East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on Lyons View Pike, the New East Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery on Governor John Sevier Highway or the Knoxville National Cemetery on Tyson Street near Old Gray Cemetery. There are more than 16,000 veterans buried at these three veteran cemetery locations.
Anyone wanting to sponsor a wreath can do so by visiting http://www.knoxcounty.org and clicking on the Wreaths Across America banner. The organization is also offering a “three-for-two” sponsorship special, which means it will donate a wreath for every two that are sponsored.
There’s less than a month left to donate. The deadline for online donations is Nov. 27, and the deadline for donations made by check is Nov. 20. Checks should be made payable to “Wreaths Across America” and mailed to 400 Main Street, Suite 615, Knoxville, TN 37902. The wreaths will be placed on the graves Dec. 16.
Wreaths Across America is a national non-profit that works to place live wreaths on veteran graves during the holidays.