(Riverton, WY) – On December 17, 2022, 44 volunteers supporting the 6th annual Wreaths Across America event at the Mountain View Cemetery. 475 Sponsored wreaths were solemnly laid on the graves of veterans after a moving ceremony. This just topped the previous highest turnout in 2019 by 3 volunteers, with more than double the number of wreaths sponsored that year. The number of grave specific requests was also an all-time high at over 50.
Pastor Paul Morrison of the Hudson Community Church gave the invocation. Ordinarily, a color guard would be arranged composed of CAP cadets and veterans to lay the wreaths for each of the armed services would have posted the colors, but illness and prior commitments prevented that. Instead, a color guard of the volunteers posted the colors in order of precedence: Spc. Brent Sheldon for the U.S. Army, Cpl. Karl Falken (TXSG) for the USMC (in honor of his daughter, SSgt Alexandra Von Hindenfalken), Petty Officer 3rd Class Beth Guggenmos for the Navy, Allen Schooner in honor of his uncle, Lt. Col. Eric Green III, Ashton Morrison for the U.S. Space Force, Karl Lawrence for the U.S. Coast Guard, Ben
Darnell for the U.S. Merchant Marines and Patty Quarles for POWs/MIAs.
Location Leader, Karl Falken, read the ceremony script a letter of greeting from U.S. Senator John Barrasso and a proclamation from Riverton Mayor Richard Gard. Wyoming State Representative House District 34, Pepper Ottman, also spoke, reminding the audience of the importance of remembering our history and maintaining our commitment to a strong military and free society. Following the ceremony, the volunteers placed the remaining wreaths on the graves of veterans throughout the cemetery. Some wreaths were also used for grave specific requests in other cemeteries.
The high turnout early in the morning was remarkable given the unusually low temperature of -15 F. Heavy snow made is a challenge to find enough marked veterans graves for all the sponsored wreaths. However, in about an hour, all the wreaths were placed and the volunteers were free to enjoy some hot chocolate before heading home to warm up.
Special thanks are due to Shoshoni Recreation District #24, who received the shipment from volunteer trucker, Sgt. Charles Cummings, U.S. Army (ret.), and transported
the wreaths to Riverton. As always, the support of cemetery sexton, Dan Ladd, and the cemetery committee are much appreciated.
The top individual for collecting sponsorships was Jordan Yager with over 50 sponsorships, and the top corporate sponsor was Brent Sheldon of Riverton Tire and Oil with 50
wreaths sponsored. Both of these supported the Wind River Chapter of the WYSSAR. The top group for sponsorships was the Wind River VFW Auxiliary 3628 (WY0028P), headed by Tricia Burwell and Deanna Booth with 345 wreaths sponsored.