MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – On Saturday, the Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina hosted a pig roast to raise money for Wreaths Across America, a day where fallen veterans are honored with wreaths placed on their graves.
For Melissa Dion, a retired Staff Sgt. in the US Army and the President of the Blue Star Mothers, Wreaths Across America is personal.
“When I retired in 2015, this became one of my soul projects,” Dion said.
Dion goes to the Florence National Cemetery every year on Wreaths Across America Day to lay a wreath on as many fallen veterans’ graves as she can. She has a special connection to one soldier buried there, Staff Sgt. Julius Wilkes. Dion was the first medic on the scene of his deadly helicopter crash in 1998.
“I didn’t know him, but I was there at the crash because that’s what my job was. 14 years later our mothers met because she’s from Florence and he’s originally from Florence; 14 years later they met and found out that I was at the scene of that helicopter crash, and he’s buried at the Florence National Cemetery,” Dion said.
“I give him a slow final salute every year and I say his name, and I let him know that he will never be forgotten for what he did for our country.”
This year, Wreaths Across America Day is on Dec. 14. To purchase a wreath for the Blue Star Mothers to use on Wreaths Across America Day, click here.