For the fourth consecutive year, the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9242 took part in Wreaths Across America, a nationwide event to remember the fallen, honor those now serving and teach citizens about the price veterans have paid.

Nancy Casillas, local coordinator for the event, said all of the ceremonies were scheduled to begin at the same time at 1,400 locations across the nation.

“My sister and brother-in-law and nephew have done it here for three years and they’re in Washington D.C. doing it this year,” Casillas said. 

The Hollister VFW Honor Guard presented colors and member Bernie Ramirez led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance before those present at Calvary Cemetery off Hillcrest Road heard the same 9 a.m. tribute that others heard around the nation, from Hawaii to Arlington National Cemetery.

There were approximately 150 wreaths at the 2018 ceremony, according to Casillas. Local companies and individuals sponsor the program by purchasing wreaths for $15 each. The wreaths are hand-made at the nonprofit Wreaths Across America headquarters in Maine.

“Some people buy for specific graves and other people just place them randomly throughout the cemetery,” Casillas said. “In the past we’ve had wreaths for every veteran here, but not this year.”



John Chadwell worked as a feature, news and investigative reporter for BenitoLink on a freelance basis for seven years, leaving the role in Sept. 2023. Chadwell first entered the U.S. Navy right out of...