In his 90th year of life, Navy veteran Anton “Tony” Kuhlman once more. finds himself on a mission to support those who have served. The Santa Clara resident is making sure wreaths are placed on the graves of every veteran in Washington County, Utah.
It was during a barbecue fundraiser organized by the Daughters of the American Revolution Color Country Chapter that Kuhlman first drew up plans for the operation. As St George News reports, Kuhlman was inspired by the group’s Wreaths Across America program, which relies on volunteers to place wreaths on the graves of military veterans on National Wreaths Across America Day, held this year on December 19.
“Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad,” the Wreaths Across America website states.
Kuhlman has been carrying out this mission since 2018, and always with his family in mind. One of the veteran’s grandsons served in the Utah Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion 222nd Field Artillery, also known as the “Triple Deuce.” He died a soldier and is buried in Ivins, Utah.
Kuhlman wanted to honor his veteran friends buried elsewhere in Utah, too, but was told that none of those cemeteries were participating in the holiday. So, he got in touch with Valerie King, Regent of the DAR Color Country Chapter, covered the cost of the wreaths out of his own pocket, and started a new tradition.
“Once these cemeteries were set in place, and with little time left to do any kind of fundraising activities, he quickly wrote checks to personally fund the wreaths for all the veterans buried at these two locations,” King wrote in a letter.
In 2019, Kuhlman added veterans in seven more cemeteries to the list of WAA wreath recipients. And he still covers the cost for most of these wreaths alone.
“His heart for patriotism is beyond measure,” King said.
“I don’t think most people understand what veterans go through,” Kuhlman told St George News. “And I don’t care where they served … every one of those people that served, have sacrificed a portion of their life that they were no longer in control over. Uncle Sam controlled their lives. He told them where they’d eat, where they’d live, what they’d do, where they’d go and they served him honorably.”
Learn more about National Wreaths Across America Day in the video below.Whizzco