Come join the group to honor our veterans Over 4,000 wreaths to be laid
A ceremony unlike any other will take place Saturday, December 17 at noon on the courthouse lawn, Versailles. This is to honor all veterans buried in Ripley County with the total to date being 4040, according to Owen Menchhofer, who has diligently been collecting data for this project.
On Saturday, Ripley County Veteran Service Officer Ken Hylton will be the keynote speaker at the Veteran’s Monument on the square before wreaths are ceremoniously laid on graves at the Cliff Hill Cemetery. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend the short ceremony and then go to the cemetery for the wreath laying.
December 17 is National Wreaths Across America Day with the mission of the organization being: Remember those US veterans who have fallen, Honor those who serve, and Teach the value of freedom to our children. This is done across the United States and Ripley County is the first known county in the State to have wreaths for every buried veteran thanks to all involved.
With a handful of volunteers, the Ripley County Community Foundation, under the direction of Amy Streator and the Ripley County Historical Society, represented by Menchhofer, forged ahead to make the wreath project happen. “We have had generous donations and appreciate each and every one,” Menchhofer said. He said from donations of $15.00 to $12,000, the money all adds up and they are thankful they could purchase a semi-load of wreaths. The group had a short time to raise a lot of money, but the people of the county responded with donations.
The Baylor truck pulled into the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park in Osgood on Monday morning, December 12, bringing with it the pride of the county through its signage that wraps the trailer. It is complete with a photo of Veteran Bob Baylor looking over the grave of his friend, Buddy Boone, who was killed in the Pentagon in the 911 terrorist attacks. Baylor Trucking has always been a big sponsorof Wreaths Across America, donating thousands of dollars to the cause. The truck driver, Dennis Nation, has only driven for Baylor Trucking for three years, but is a veteran and volunteered his time to make the trip to bring the wreaths.
Various groups across the county have volunteered to help lay the wreaths and have already begun the massive effort. There were a lot of details that had to be worked out for such a project, but Menchhofer has spearheaded it and found the challenges nothing in comparison to the sacrifices our veterans have made. He said he was happy to coordinate and do research to pull it together.
“There is no data base for our buried veterans,” Menchhofer told The Versailles Republican when he began doing research at all the cemeteries across the county. This was in anticipation of placing wreaths on every grave before Christmas. So, he has compiled a database, as closely as it was possible. There is a list printed in today’s paper beginning with Adams Township. These names will continue to be printed in every paper until we have printed all of them, which should amount to around 4,040 names. These aren’t just names, but rather, heroes who have secured the lifestyle we enjoy today. If you do not see someone you think should be on the list, please give Menchhofer a call. And, on the other hand, if you think someone is on the list in error, he wants to know. You can reach him at 812-756-0160 where you can call or text.
To donate for next year, you can visit www.rccfonline.org or call 812-933-1098. You can also stop by the Ripley County Community Foundation’s office which is located at 13 E. George Street, Suite B, Batesville, to get more information.