Pandemic won’t stop Wreaths Across America12/08/2020 11:05AM ● By Steven Hoffman
Oxford is proud of and dedicated to its veterans. That is obvious by the banners honoring veterans hanging along the borough’s streets. So, during this pandemic, the community will continue to honor veterans through the annual tradition of Wreaths Across America.
Clarissa Sherrow, the Wreaths Across America coordinator for the Oxford Cemetery, said, “Things are very different this year, but we will still be honoring the veterans by laying wreaths in the Oxford Cemetery. We had everything mapped out and the program set, but rising COVID numbers changed all that. There will be no public ceremony this year in an effort to keep everyone safe.”
Instead, Sherrow invited everyone to follow them on Facebook and the website.
Last year, Sherrow was interviewed for an article in AARP. This year, they will have 200 volunteers, half of last year’s volunteers. But they received the donations they needed to carry on this very important event, as 1,300 wreaths were purchased with donations from the community. They raised $15,000 and every dollar raised goes toward the purchase of wreaths.
Sherrow applauded all those that donate financially, or provide assistance or other in-kind donations. She is amazed at the giving of this small community.
“For a community of this size, 5,000- plus (residents), we have many big volunteers we depend on. Businesses such as C.W. Boyd Trucking, Landhope Farms, Wawa, Herr’s, and American Legion Post 194 in Rising Sun and Comfort Zone Mechanical. Landhope does a giving jar every year and their customers and Landhope are both very generous. We didn’t even send out letters this year soliciting donations,” Sherrow explained.
“The Oxford Chamber of Commerce holds a run in memory of Jerome Rodio every year and this year those funds raised were donated to us,” Sherrow said.
She also pointed out that they get many in-kind donations from businesses such as SECCRA, which receives the wreaths after they have been used and also Trash Tech, which provides a dumpster for the used wreaths. And in years past, Corporal Scott Brown and the Oxford Police Department have always assisted too.
A. Duie Pyle in West Chester lends a helping hand. Wreaths Across America sends the wreaths from Maine in a big truck to A Duie Pyle. They transfer the wreaths to their own truck and transport them to Oxford.
Sherrow’s love for the community and just people in general has grown even more this year. At a time when the pandemic has given the country one of the biggest challenges most of us will ever see, Sherrow can see the light at the end of the tunnel because of all of those that reach out to donate and help to preserve something as iconic as Wreaths Across America.
All sponsored wreaths in 2020 will be placed on gravesites by Dec. 19, which is National Wreaths Across America Day. Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. The local effort coordinated by Sherrow, brings volunteers from Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania and includes Boy and Girl Scouts and countless others. To join the group, Sherrow asks all those interested to please sign up for a specific section by going on the website at: www.wreathsacrossamerica.org and clicking the volunteer button. Type in Oxford Cemetery (PAOXCE). Masks will be required.
If you have questions, please contact volunteer location coordinator, Clarissa Sherrow at [email protected] or call 484-645-4513.
And visit the Oxford Cemetery to remember, honor and teach.