The Tuloso-Midway Primary School Students Council exhibited a great deal of patriotism Friday, donating $873.70 to the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery for the Wreaths Across America Project.
What is even more phenomenal is the fact that the amount was raised in just one week by the third grade group.
The Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery Honor Detachment, led by Detachment Director Ram Chavez, Cemetery Assistant Director J.J, De La Cerda and Local Wreaths Across America Coordinator Sue Heskett, accepted the check from the students council during a special ceremony in front of T-M Primary School.
The cemetery, which opened last Dec. 13, is open to all military veterans from throughout the Coastal Bend. Honor Detachment member and TMISD Board trustee Felix Landin, who participated in the ceremony, said the number of burials in the first year far surpassed all expectations.
“They thought we would only have 100 or so burials the first year, but we've had 340 so far this year,” Landin said. “We have two today. There are some days that we have three or four. There are days that we are there all day long, serving our veterans.”
Wreaths Across America was started at Arlington National Cemetery and is conducted every Dec. 15, to honor the nation's veterans buried at veterans cemeteries across the country, Heskett explained. At 11 a.m. Saturday, wreaths will be placed at every grave at the Coastal Bend State Veterans Ceremony, a practice that will be done at the same time at other veterans cemeteries. As part of a volunteer organization, Heskett said this ceremony couldn't be accomplished without the generosity and patriotism of the community.
T-M Primary School teachers Tanya Whitehead and Nidia De La Cerda serve as co-sponsors of the T-M Primary Students Council, which is comprised of third grade students.
“This time of year, it is not about what we receive, but it is about what we can give. Thank you so much for coming out,” Whitehead said. “We are so proud to be partnered with you all.”
The Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery Honor Detachment members conducted a presentation of a wreath, which will be used in the ceremony on Saturday. Students Council officers, including President Luis Rios, Vice-President Bethany Whitehead, Secretary Sophia Garza and Treasurer Jhonny Lopez presented the check to the Honor Detachment.
“We are here to honor our veterans who have passed away,” Rios said.
De La Cerda said the students efforts will go to pay for more than 60 wreaths at the cemetery this weekend.
Chavez informed the students that their contributions were some of the most important of all, because they raised funds for those veterans who might not otherwise have anyone to honor them in this way.
“There were funerals where only one or two people showed up, or where both the husband and wife are both buried there, and their may not be any family left to honor them,” Chavez said. “No one will be left out. You made that happen. You were thinking about all those other that someone may have forgotten. You have shown a tremendous love for this country.”