La Crosse, Wis – Continuning the annual holiday season tradition, members of the La Crosse Composite Squadron recently assembled at the Woodlawn Cemetery to lay wreaths on the grave sites of interred veterans. The program, which was part of the national Wreaths Across America effort, provided an opportunity for cadets and adults to remember and honor those who have served the United States.
During the event, more than 150 wreaths were laid. Cadets, senior members, and volunteers from the public all participated in the ceremony and the subsequent wreath laying. Due to delivery issues, a small team of members went back out the following week and laid another 50 wreaths. “Even though the second wreaths showed up late, it was important to keep our word and to honor those we promised to honor,” said Major Todd Mandel, the unit’s commander.
Donations to support this year’s wreath-laying efforts came from individuals and members, the Barb and Dave Erickson Fund, Logistics Health Incorporated, and Ashely Furniture.
This year’s event also included the laying of wreaths at two special grave sites outside of the Woodlawn Cemetery. The first involved placing a wreath at the grave of CPL Stanley Christianson, USMC. CPL Christianson is the only Medal of Honor recipient interred in La Crosse County. Major Ray Ebert, a Coast Guard veteran himself, laid the wreath on CPL Christianson’s grave.
The second wreath was placed at the grave site of Senior Airman Adam Servais. Senior Airman Servais served as a member of the Special Operations Command and died during combat in Afghanistan in 2006. He posthumously received the Bronze Star for his actions. Cadet Technical Sergeant Phoenix Tomlinson laid the wreaths on Servais’ grave site.