wreaths across america mark turner gavilan hills memorial park
Mark Turner, seen here at Gavilan Hills Memorial Park in Gilroy, has been leading the South County Wreaths Across America effort for eight years. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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The South County Wreaths Across America effort will take place on Dec. 18, this time in person, and the public is invited to participate. 

Wreaths Across America’s mission is to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom. The annual wreath-laying effort began in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery, and has grown to more than 2,500 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.

Mark Turner, who brought this effort to Gilroy and Morgan Hill eight years ago, has been raising approximately $18,000 per year to ensure the more than 1,200 veterans who are buried in South County get a wreath placed on their graves.

When Turner learned about this opportunity, he said he knew this was the right thing to do and felt strongly that businesses and residents throughout South County would support such an effort. Turner said his father was a U.S. Marine and instilled a sense of patriotism in him and his brothers as they were growing up. 

“My father taught us love of country, respect for the American flag, and to honor current and former military personnel,” he said. “To some degree, leading the South County effort is not only a tribute to my father, but to a larger degree, it’s a tribute to all men and women who have served.”

The South County effort reached its fundraising goal this year, ensuring enough wreaths for Gilroy and Morgan Hill, according to Turner.

“We would not be able to do this each year without the generous donations of those who sponsor one wreath to those who sponsor 100 wreaths,” he said.

Those interested in participating in the wreath-laying ceremony on Dec. 18 at Gavilan Hills and St. Mary’s cemeteries in Gilroy need to arrive at Gavilan Hills Memorial Park, 1000 First St., at 9am. In Morgan Hill, the ceremony at Mt. Hope Cemetery, 250 Spring Ave., also begins at 9am.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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