Post 555 raises money for Wreaths Across America

Published 3:17 pm Friday, November 2, 2018

PELHAM – Members of American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 gathered on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Pelham Civic Complex to ring in the upcoming holiday early with its annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

The dinner also served as an opportunity for the post to raise money for Wreaths Across America, a national program with the mission of placing a wreath on the grave of a veteran in the nation during the month of December.

The organization’s mission to remember, honor and teach lasts all year long, far beyond the single day in December when wreath-laying ceremonies take place. Throughout the year, Wreaths Across America works in a number of ways to show veterans and their families that their sacrifices are appreciated.

Every year, Post 555 donates money that goes toward purchasing wreaths to be place on graves at the Alabama National Cemetery. During the dinner, post member Chuck Kiser encouraged those in attendance to make a donation toward the effort.

Last year, Post 555 raised $1,045 for Blue Star Salute, which helps coordinate Alabama’s Wreath Across America efforts. Kiser announced at the end of the dinner that $590 was raised, bringing the Legion’s total to $1,635.

This year, nearly 6,000 wreaths are needed for graves. That’s 33 percent more wreaths than were needed last year. Kiser said veterans are dying at an expedited rate and that it’s not unusual for as many as seven burials to take place in a day at the Alabama National Cemetery.

In addition to Thanksgiving dinner, post members, family and friends enjoyed a theatrical presentation by Nathan Waller in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Great War. The post also celebrated the American Legion’s 100th anniversary.