Mary Lou Summers was recently honored for outstanding community service by the Alleghany Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. An award and pin were presented to Summers by Karen Finch, Regent of Alleghany Chapter, for her leadership in forming the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery Volunteers.
In 2013, Summers, whose deceased husband is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, realized that no organization was placing holiday wreaths on the graves of veterans resting in the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin. Remembering how much she appreciated the efforts of people to honor her husband and other veterans at Arlington with holiday wreaths, she formed a small community committee to raise money for the purchase of wreaths for the veterans’ graves in Dublin, following the national veterans cemetery guidelines. Summers’ dedication, leadership and hard work has made the December wreath-laying a yearly ceremony which involves military and community members in honoring the service of the veterans and their families.
The Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery committee now has 25 members and numerous volunteers. The first year the committee laid 350 wreaths. In December 2020, 1,336 wreaths will be purchased for placement by the committee, volunteers and veterans’ families. The committee has formed a 501©3 organization and has created an endowed fund to pay for wreath purchases in the future.