Volunteers collect thousands of wreaths from veterans' graves

Saturday’s cold and windy weather did not stop volunteers from collecting thousands of wreaths at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

The wreaths decorated veterans’ graves there for one month, giving families a way to connect with the late veterans during the holidays.

Chris and Mary Bush brought Wreaths Across America to Dallas-Fort Worth in 2009 after their son, Cpl. Peter John Courcy was killed in action in Afghanistan. They say they felt it was a way to still give him a Christmas every year.

"It was our first Christmas and we just weren't sure how we were going to celebrate with peter and we saw the news story about wreaths across America and that's how we knew we would be able to share it with him. and then, it brought us so much peace and joy and that's when we decided we needed to get more families and the community involved," said Mary.

They’ve continued to do just that over the past ten years. On December 15th more than 23,000 wreaths were placed on graves at DFW National Cemetery with the help of about 6,000 volunteers, even more than they expected.

The wreaths were collected in about an hour Saturday, as people braced against the cold and windy weather to pay their respects.

Morrison Bob Fussner is a third generation marine veteran.

"Our veterans served in all types of weather. rain, snow, anything you can imagine...and it's not too much for us to ask and us to go through this for an hour, and hour and a half, one day a year for our veterans," said Fussner.

Fussner started Flags for Fallen Vets in 2012, where volunteers place flags on graves before Memorial Day, but he also shows support for Wreaths Across America because he says the event, although different, shares the same meaning.

“It's coming out and not really anybody wanting any recognition. It's just to come out and honor the veterans that are out here. I know that we do it. I know that Chris and Mary, volunteers do it. When they come out and place a wreath or a flag, they will say the veterans name out loud and thank them for their service. It gets pretty emotional out here."

There are nearly 45,000 graves at DFW National Cemetery. The goal is to one day lay a wreath at every single one. 

The Bush family is hoping the community will continue to donate to be able to make that possible. 

"You know, this is what the true American spirit is and you can just look around and you can feel it," said Mary.