Gray Elementary School student Cooper Sanders, 10, kneels at a grave he had just decorated during a past Wreaths Across America placement ceremony at Mountain Home National Cemetery Saturday, Dec. 19.

KINGSPORT — The Marsh Regional Blood Center will hold blood drives at its three Tri-Cities locations on Monday in an effort to support the Wreaths Across America program.

The blood drives will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the following locations:

• Bristol: 1996 W. State St., (423) 652-0014

• Johnson City: 2428 Knob Creek Road, (423) 282-7090

• Kingsport: 111 W. Stone Drive, (423) 408-7500

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. All donors will receive a holiday donor T-shirt and a snack. Marsh will donate a wreath to Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City for every unit of blood collected during Monday’s drive.

Sam Jones, president of the Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council, said the wreaths will be laid on the graves Dec. 18, which is National Wreaths Across America Day. The wreaths will remain in place for the next 30 days.

“We’re approaching 17,000 (graves) at Mountain Home, and the goal would be to put one on every one,” Jones said. “What we ask when a wreath is placed on the marker, to step back, salute and call out the soldier’s name. We want them called out so they won’t be forgotten.”

If you would like to purchase a wreath for a grave not at Mountain Home, Jones suggests you contact the TCMAC office. The wreaths are $15 each with $5 of that purchase coming back to the TCMAC organization, which helps local veterans with their needs, whether it be rent, utilities or other expenses.

To order a wreath through TCMAC, call (423) 389-4033 or visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/tn0010p. The last day to order one is Nov. 22.

Founded in 2007, Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,500 additional locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad. The wreaths are laid each December to honor our nation’s veterans and to teach the younger generations about the value of their freedoms.

In 2020, the organization placed more than 1.7 million sponsored wreaths at 2,557 participating locations nationwide.

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