Recycled wreaths put towards helping veterans

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB)- After about three months of holiday wreaths decorating the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery, it was time to clean them up. Hundreds of volunteers showed up to not send them to the landfill, but to recycle them.

After the over one thousand wreaths were collected from the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery to be recycled to help veterans. (KSNB)

Teams gathered the nearly 1200 wreaths and stripped them to sort the paper ribbons, branches, and the wire frames. Dozens of people showed up to help out.

“I was actually really surprised with the amount here. I thought there was going to be 30 people maybe and when there's so many people it just really reminds me how much tese veterans mean to us,” Boy Scout Elijah Silva

The wire frames were cut from the branches and the money received from recycling the metal will go towards funding hero flights. Boy Scout troops and families came to take down the wreaths some were there to put them up as well in December.

“I think it's incredibly important for us to educate our young folks about the value of freedom and the fact that freedom is not free. Men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could be free,” Grand Island Express President and Owner Tom Pirnie said.

It took a couple hours to clear away the bins of recyclables into trucks to be hauled away. Volunteers said with the veterans home now in Kearney they feel it is important that the community doesn't forget the veterans buried in Grand Island.

“They will be here so we have to still be responsible for the veterans. We have to make sure they are taken care of,” Volunteer LaVonne Catron said.

Now that the veterans in the cemetery have enjoyed their wreaths they now can go towards memorable trips for our living heroes.

Hero flights allow for veterans to be flown to Washington D.C. to see the war memorials. Hall County has sent several veterans on the memorable trip.