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Baylor Trucking visits South Ripley for Wreaths Across America

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Honoring veterans during the Christmas season

Cari Baylor spoke about the national program

(VERSAILLES, Ind.) -- South Ripley Junior High School is the only school in the country where students get a patriotic lesson along with hands-on experience with the Wreaths Across America program.

The program is widely-known for the convoy of semis that travel from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. to place wreaths at veteran's graves.

Baylor Trucking is one of only 13 trucking companies nationwide that are participating in the convoy.

In addition, the company also delivered 4,322 wreaths to Osgood on Monday which will be placed at the graves of veteran's in Ripley County and a few cemeteries in Franklin County.

Baylor Trucking president Cari Baylor stopped by South Ripley to talk about the importance of the program.

"The mission of Wreaths Across America has three components, to remember, to honor and to teach. We put an emphasis here on the teaching part of the program," Baylor told The 812.

The company also brings wreath kits to school and allows kids to participate in the assembly of them. This is the only school in the nation that has received this opportunity.

"They can smell the evergreen, they can feel the pine needles and hopefully this helps them remember and understand the sacrifices of our veterans, the sacrifices of our armed forces, and help them remember to stay active in Wreaths Across America, both locally and nationally," Cari said.

Cari Baylor also reminded students about the importance of thanking veterans that they meet.

"We encourage them to extend their hand and not be shy. But to be brave just like the veterans are and show your appreciation," she said.

During South Ripley's event, Owen Menchhofer was also in attendance. He helped create the Wreaths Across Ripley County program and has spent countless hours researching records to identify veterans and where they are buried.

He and a group of volunteers will place the wreaths Baylor delivered at cemeteries in Ripley County next week. There will be a ceremony to honor the veterans at the Ripley County Courthouse at noon on Saturday. The public is invited.

"It was great to see the excitement of the students and to teach them about the program and hopefully make a lasting impression," Menchhofer said.

The program has grown to honor veterans cemeteries in Oldenburg, Hamburg and St. Mary's of the Rock this year.

Anyone interested in having wreaths placed at an area cemetery next year should call Owen at (812) 756-0160. Wreaths Across Ripley County is also supported by the Ripley County Community Foundation.


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