Honoring fallen heroes with wreaths at Ivy Hill [Old Town]

Laurel Leader

Christmas will be here before we know it, Laurel resident Lisa Wright observed last week, and she wants to make sure that our nation’s heroes are not forgotten in the busyness of the holiday season.

So on Saturday, Dec. 16, Wright will coordinate a team of volunteers to lay wreaths on the graves of the roughly 300 military veterans buried in Old Town’s Ivy Hill Cemetery. It will be the first year that the cemetery along Sandy Spring Road is a designated location for Wreaths Across America, a national nonprofit that honors fallen heroes with annual wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and 1,200 other cemeteries across the country.

Wright, who has lived in Laurel for 24 years, first volunteered with the group last December. The closest participating cemetery was in Columbia, so she drove there to help. Then she decided Laurel – which holds an annual Memorial Day service at Ivy Hill – should be part of Wreaths Across America as well. She applied and was approved to lead the effort at Ivy Hill. The oldest grave there dates to 1867.

“I want our veterans to be remembered and honored,” Wright said. “I certainly don’t have that bravery to go out and fight for strangers. Without them we wouldn’t be the great country that we are.”

Wright has enlisted the support of Mayor Craig Moe, American Legion Post 60 and the Captain John Odber Chapter of the WarFighters Motorcycle Club. She hopes to begin on Dec. 16 with a short ceremony and a procession from the Municipal Center to Ivy Hill. Ideally, she’d like about 30 volunteers to place the live balsam wreaths on graves. She is also looking for a local business to donate hot beverages to serve to the volunteers on what is sure to be a cold morning.

Those who are interested in volunteering at Ivy Hill can contact Wright by e-mail at waaivyhill@gmail.com or phone at 301-346-2302. You can also go to wreathsacrossamerica.org and type in “Laurel,” “Ivy Hill” or ZIP zip code 20707 in the volunteer tab to sign up or to sponsor a wreath at $15 a piece.

The Main Street Second Saturday event this Saturday, Oct. 14 will feature an Art Walk that has been organized with the help of the city’s newly-appointment Arts Council. Local artists and vendors will be set up in the Farmers Market space in the 300 block of Main Street from 1 to 6 p.m. Live music, poetry readings and book signings will be featured in addition to deals from Main Street businesses. Be sure to stop by.

Fall Designer Purse Bingo featuring handbags from Coach and Michael Kors will be held Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Breen Room of St. Mary of the Mills Church, 114 St. Mary’s Place. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for this adults-only evening and bingo begins at 6:30 p.m. The cafe will serve bratwurst, pretzels and cheese and a variety of homemade pumpkin deserts. Harvest beer and wine will also be available. Admission is $25 with a confirmed reservation or $30 at the door, with proceeds benefiting St. Mary of the Mills School. Those who bring a canned food item for the parish pantry will receive a ticket for a special raffle. For reservations, call 301-725-3080 or email events@stmaryofthemills.org.

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