Wreaths Across America ceremony held in Destin

Special to Gannett

The third annual Wreaths Across America ceremony took place on Dec. 19 at

the Destin Memorial and the Marler cemeteries.

The Girl Scouts from Troop 2070 served as the color guard. Wayne Frost, chaplain of Davis Sikes American Legion Post 296, led the invocation. Retired Chief Master Sergeant and City Councilman Skip Overdier was the emcee.

Ceremonial wreaths were placed by members of each branch of the service on a

grave of a member from their same branch. A Marine stood as sentry at each grave.

The Army presenter was Sgt. Major Afshin Aryana, who placed the wreath in honor of all Army on the grave of Flight Officer John Conard Maxwell of the Army Air Corps who served in World War II. The sentry was Sgt. Ulises Torres from Bakersfield, California. 

Air National Guard Senior Airman Janine Suarez, of Dallas, Texas, and sentry SSgt. Jordan K. Horn of Delaplane, Virginia, salute after Suarez placed a wreath for all who served in the Merchant Marines Dec. 19 in Destin. The wreath was on the grave of Julius Scheidl Sr., who served as a chief steward during World War II.

Marine Corps presenter was Sgt. Andre K. Morrow from Elkton, Kentucky. He placed the wreath in honor of all Marines on the grave of Captain Thomas E Robertson who served in World War II. The sentry was Sgt. Samuel A McDonald.

The Navy presenter was Seaman Shawn Purvis, from Philomath, Oregon. He placed the wreath in honor of all who have served in the Navy on the grave of William Louis Mundy who served in Korea. The sentry was Sgt. Dominick A Casanova from Vallejo, California. 

Four of the graves covered with a wreath are pictured during a ceremony Dec. 19 in Destin.

The Air Force presenter was Tech Sgt. Patrick Hensley from Columbus, Ohio. He placed the wreath in honor of all who have served in the Air Force on the grave of Lt. Col. Robert G. Hecker who served in World War II. The sentry was Sgt. David Sigdestad of Custer, South Dakota. 

Sgt.Major Afshin Aryana, an 18-year veteran with Special Forces places a wreath at the grave of  Flight Officer John Conard Maxwell of the Army Air Corps, who served in World War II as sentry Sgt. Ulises Torres, U.S. Marine Corps, stands nearby..

The Coast Guard presenter was Seaman Michael Reynolds from Ambler, Pennsylvania. He placed the wreath in honor of all who have served in the Coast Guard on the grave of Eugene Thomas Marler who served in World War II. The sentry was Sgt. Tyrone Jeronimo from Stamford, Connecticut.

Members of various U.S. service branches stand during the Wreaths Across America ceremony Dec. 19 in Destin.

The Merchant Marines presenter was Air National Guard Senior Airman Janine Suarez from Dallas, Texas. She placed the wreath for all who have served in the Merchant Marines on the grave of Julius Scheidl, Sr. He served as a chief steward during World War II. The sentry was SSgt. Jordan K. Horn of Delaplane, Virginia. 

In addition, a wreath was placed in honor of the 93,129 POW-MIA Americans. The presenter was retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Richard Menard. He was escorted by Marine Sgt. Zachary Evanchyk of Davenport, Iowa. He has served for five years.

Each brnach of the service was commemorated during a Wreaths Across America ceremony Dec. 19 at Destin Memorial Cemetery.

The ceremony was concluded by the playing of Taps by Jim Dodd.