Basketball teams volunteer by placing wreaths at National Cemetery

Gracie Warda, Online Editor

The season for giving is in full swing, as is the season for shooting hoops. In a fundraiser attempt, FHS basketball players volunteered at the National Cemetery on Dec. 16 by laying wreaths on the thousands of graves.

“We went out to the cemetery early in the morning and helped put wreaths on all of the graves,” sophomore Erica Behnfeldt said. “We did it to raise money for our program and to honor the veterans that served. We raised money by each player sending letter out to family members asking them to ‘sponsor’ our volunteering. If they do decide to sponsor us, they will give the program a amount of their choosing for every hour we have volunteered.”

Family members of the deceased donate wreaths to be laid on their graves and volunteers lay them out. The Holly National Cemetery is the resting place of thousands of Veterans.

“It’s pretty impressive, with all the headstones lined up,” Boys Varsity Basketball Coach John Gilbert said. “And then to see everybody donating their time, and all those people coming together. I would hope our players would get a feel for how many people have donated their lives. This cemetery is just one, there are many of them all over the country. The number of people that have put their lives on the line to help this country is incredible. You don’t really realize it until you see its vastness.”

Aside from a fundraising opportunity, volunteering can be a way for players to appreciate those who laid down their lives for this country. Additionally, personal connection could inspire students to donate their time.

“My great grandfather on my Mom’s side and my grandpa on my Dad’s side both served in the military,” Behnfeldt said. “It was nice to be able to honor those who fought for the same thing they did and gave so much for us. In addition to that, I love to play basketball and there are a lot of things that need to be paid for so we can play. Jerseys, warmups, basketballs, referees, and buses just to name a few. So I’m more than happy to spend my time to help the basketball team get enough money for all the items that they might need to buy so we can play.”

The teams have yet to find out how much they raised, but are looking forward to the results. They plan on continuing this tradition and fundraiser in upcoming years, with hopes of inspiring generosity in their players.