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News | Jan. 12, 2018

Employees build team through wreath laying

By DCMA Hampton

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Jan. 12, 2018 — Rather than the traditional holiday gift exchange this past December, the Defense Contract Management Agency Hampton quality assurance team here once again chose to team up with a local veterans group to support a national wreath-laying initiative.

Now Kenneth Grant’s idea has become a tradition. In 2016, Grant, an Asheville QA specialist, suggested the team pool their money to purchase wreaths to be laid on veterans’ graves at the holidays, rather than buy gifts for one another. The first year they donated 24 wreaths, followed by 16 in 2017.

The team worked with a local veterans’ group, who in turn worked with Wreaths Across America, a national non-profit and volunteer network that laid more than a million wreaths last year.

Randy Wright, Asheville’s QA team supervisor, said that as the 2017 holidays approached, the veterans’ group asked for more volunteers to help place the wreaths. “Our team was enthusiastic to give back to the men and women who had given so much for the country,” said Wright.

On Dec. 16, a crisp Saturday morning, team members volunteered alongside veterans, veterans’ family members, community volunteers, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets and Boy Scouts, placing wreaths on graves at the North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain and at Tennessee’s Mountain Home National Cemetery.

At the cemeteries, volunteers were instructed to say the name on the headstone and thank the service member for their service. They were then to place a wreath on the grave and salute the veteran. At noon, a ceremony was held to honor service members. When the day was finished over 10,800 wreaths were laid between the two cemeteries.

Wright said, “Even though the volunteers only had enough wreaths to fill half the graves, every volunteer’s heart was full of pride for the accomplishment.”