A partnership between Wreaths Across America and the Ardmore High School softball team, headed by Coach Stephen Baugh, is sharing the spirit of Christmas with the Friends of Fayetteville-Lincoln County Veterans, all as part of a mission to honor those who have served.
“This is just such a sweet and generous gesture,” said Linda Williams, president of the local nonprofit which oversees the Lincoln County Warrior Exhibit, explaining that the Ardmore softball team and Coach Baugh have donated 100 wreaths to the organization to give out to locals for placement on veterans’ graves here.
“These wreaths are free to anyone as long as they place them on a veteran’s grave,” she said. “This is another wonderful opportunity to honor our veterans and their service to our country.”
The wreaths are available at the Lincoln County Warrior Exhibit, located at 113 Main Ave. North, just off the Fayetteville square. The exhibit’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“We partnered with Wreaths Across America on this project, and their goal is to get a wreath on every veterans’ grave across the country,” said Baugh, explaining that the team’s original objective was to place the wreaths on veterans’ graves at the Hollow Cemetery. “We did that, but we realized we had way too many wreaths, and so I thought of Aunt Linda ... I knew she could find a good place for them.”
Baugh had recently visited the Lincoln County Warrior Exhibit, a labor of love for his aunt and many others in the community since its inception four years ago. The exhibit, which honors the service of well over a thousand Lincoln County veterans, first opened on Veterans Day 2015 at the Fayetteville Recreation Center, and just the past November, it was relocated to its own building downtown.
“The new building is a true tribute to the veterans of Lincoln County,” said Baugh, “and since Lincoln County is also home to a part of Ardmore, I thought it would be an appropriate gesture ... My mom also went to Lincoln County High School, and half of my family calls Lincoln County home, too.”
Saturday the Ardmore softball team laid the wreaths on the graves of numerous veterans in northern Alabama, he said, noting that just a few days earlier he had become a new father, and while he wasn’t able to be present as the wreaths were placed, he was proud of what his team had accomplished.
Wreaths Across America started in 1992 in Maine when a local family that made wreaths had some left over. They took those extra wreaths and laid them on the gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. Now, thousands of cemeteries across the country lay wreaths to remember their veterans.