Gulf Power Company employees honored the sacrifices of veterans by placing wreaths at their graves at Barrancas Natational Cemetery on Dec. 15. 

Gulf Power Company employees purchased 100 wreaths and placed them at the graves of military veterans in Barrancas National Cemetery as part of Wreaths Across America. This year, about 4,000 wreaths were placed at Barrancas — part of a nearly simultaneous effort to place more than 400,000 wreaths at 800 U.S. military cemeteries around the world.

“For our employees, it was an honor to be a part of something special and to support our military community,” said Natalie Smith, communication specialist for Gulf Power. “It’s especially important this time of year to remember those whose sacrifices make our freedom possible.”

Buster Hartson, founding member of The Arlington Project and director of Wreaths Across America at Barrancas National Cemetery, said it was the biggest turnout in the seven years in Pensacola.

Wreaths Across America teaches about the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.

“This is a grassroots effort that relies on volunteers and corporate sponsors, and we receive no government funding,” Hartson said. “We could not have made it possible without the help of our community.”

Volunteer members of the motorcycle group The Patriot Guard escorted the tractor-trailer carrying the wreaths into the cemetery on Pensacola Naval Air Station. Close to 600 volunteers, including the youth group Young Marines, Boy Scouts, National Junior ROTC, began placing wreaths at the gravesites. Gulf Power employees joined the ranks of other corporate sponsors such as Navy Federal Credit Union.

“This was our first year being involved and it was touching to see the community come out in droves to support the effort,” Smith said.