Wreaths across America (WAA) at Arlington National Cemetery courtesy WAA website.
One man’s dream and tribute of Christmas wreaths to honor veterans is coming true in a national event that offers every American an opportunity to participate.
Morrill Worcester and his wife, Karen Worcester, of Harrington, Maine with the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe began in 1992 placing wreaths on American Veteran Graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
Worcester’s dream resonates with Americans all across the nation. Today, Wreaths across America (WAA), sponsored by the same name as a 501-©(3) organization, spearheads a national event on the second Saturday of each December. The mission of the organization is “Remember. Honor. Teach.”
WAA is currently appointing state coordinators in all fifty states. Volunteers from trucking companies across the nation and volunteer truck drivers in coordination with local organizations and individuals donate money and time to lay wreaths on veteran graves. One wreath sponsorship is $15.00.
According to the Wreaths across America website, most states conduct State House Ceremonies to “kickoff a week-long series of events designed to raise awareness and appreciation for the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans and their families.”
Photo taken from rearview mirror of a trucker as Tyson trucks leave their site loaded with WAA wreaths for designated locations. Tyson is among one of many trucking companies recognized for their WAA volunteerism. Name of trucker unknown at this posting, but we thank him for this photo.
Live Oak County VFW Post 6119 posts colors at Oakville Historic Texas Cemetery near Oakville, Texas for the 2019 WAA celebration honoring all Oakville Veterans.
The flagpole stands with the Oakville Cemetery Texas State Historical Marker dedicated in 1968. The cemetery dates to 1857 when land was donated by Thomas Wilson. Property was originally part of the 1831 McMullen-McGloin land grant from Mexico. The Oakville Historic Texas Cemetery Medallion next to cemetery marker was approved by the Texas Historical Commission in 2018 and dedicated on December 15, 2018 when Oakville Cemetery hosted Live Oak County's first Wreaths across America celebration.
All photos of Live Oak WAA ceremonies unless stated otherwise are courtesy Peggy Skoruppa. Story continued by scrolling below near end of the page.
Cover of LOCHC Associate Appointee, Kurt House's 2018 revised edition, "A Reading Guide for Live Oak County, Texas." House compiled the first edition in 1977. It has been revised again in 1990 and most recently 2018-2019, for inclusion (here) in the Live Oak County Historical Commission's website, www.liveoakchc.org.
While Kurt engaged in graduate studies in1977 at Southern Methodist University, he compiled a reading list of books to help him in his studies of anthropology and
Books in the guide were either about Live Oak County or books focused on South Texas with snippets of information about Live Oak County.
Revisions in 1990 listed additional books. Again, in 2018, House added more books to
the guide which he is offering to the Live Oak County Historical Commission to place
on its website.
“As an associate member of the Live Oak County Historical Commission (LOCHC),” said
House, “I wanted to do something for the local folks to help them learn more about
their county. So I’ve revised the guide to be placed on the LOCHC website(www.liveoakchc.org) for free access.”
Webmaster and former teacher/professor Janis Hudson says Kurt’s Reading Guide for Live
Oak County, Texas, should be online by the end of this month.
“If you haven’t been to the LOCHC website,” said Hudson, “let me encourage you to do so.
There is lots of good historical information with photos about the county’s history. Teachers can use the site to dovetail county with Texas history in their social studies programs. It’s very student-friendly.”
The Reading Guide will join the website’s library section with Ervin L. Sparkman’s book, “The People’s History of Live Oak County, Texas.” Sparkman wrote the book with the help of his granddaughter, Mary Sparkman-Weirich, who assigned to the LOCHC rights to the book for free online access.
“I am very pleased with the Reading Guide Kurt House granted the LOCHC to place on its website,” said LOCHC Chair Ross Harris. “It is a valuable research addition to our
free library accessible online in your homes. We will be doing more of this in the days ahead.”
The Texas Legislature authorized counties to establish County Historical Commissions
(CHCs) to assist county commissioners courts and the Texas Historical Commission in the preservation of state and county historic and cultural resources. All Live Oak County
CHC volunteers are appointed at the pleasure of County Judge Jim Huff and the commissioners court to serve twoyear terms.
LOCHC Associate Appointee Kurt House is a native Live Oak County son, rancher and anthropologist/historian. He secured his degrees at Southern Methodist University.
The guide was revised again in 1990 and most recently, 2018, for inclusion in the Live Oak County Historical Commission’s (LOCHC’s) website, www.liveoakchc.org.
The truck lies on top of the Oakville Centennial Marker.
The truck burst into flames. Immediately the driver pushed the passenger out the door and quickly followed. The driver was uninjured, though shaken. The passenger sustained a broken arm and wrist.
Emergency vehicles arrived to put out the flames before nearby buildings caught fire.
Armagosa Ranch is located 20 miles south of George West, in northwestern Jim Wells County, about one hour west of Corpus Christi. Live Oak County (LOCHC), Wells(WCHC), and Nueces County Historical Commission (NCHD) appointees met there on October 19, 2019 for a combined field trip. The historic Armagosa Ranch was also called Tecolote or Owl Ranch. In early history, the area had an abundance of caliche and original building blocks on the ranch were quarried from shall caliche pits. It has become a recreational high fenced ranch known for its abundance of deer, wing shooting, and other wild life. Trip was hosted by Jim Warren (above left in photo), local Live Oak County archeologist. Warren gave a brief but very informative presentation on caliche and preservation of old surviving caliche remains. Photo credit to Peggy Skoruppa, LOCHC appointee.
Boy Scout brothers, Matthew and Nicholas VanWay, helped place wreaths on veteran's graves. Matthew led the Pledge of Allegiance at all three cemetery association WAA celebrations: Oakville Cemetery, St. George Cemetery, and Gussettville Cemetery. Nicholas, an Eagle Scout, led the pledge at Oakville last year.
Live Oak County volunteers were busy Saturday, December 14, placing balsam wreaths on veterans’
graves as part of Wreaths Across America Day ceremonies.
Their day began at 10:00 a. m. at Oakville Cemetery with invocation given by Dale Burrell of American Legion Post 413 followed by posting of colors by members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6119. Rebecca Darling of Three Rivers sang the National Anthem and Matthew VanWay led the pledge of allegiance.
Peggy Skoruppa, Wreaths Across America Location Coordinator for Oakville, gave the opening remarks and read the Wreaths Across America statement as it read at every WAA ceremony across America. Part of that statement includes, “Today we show a united front of national unity all across the United States of America as we Remember the Fallen, Honor those who serve and Teach our children the value of freedom. “
Seven ceremonial wreaths representing Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and Prisoners of War/Missing in Action were placed in front of the flag and Oakville Cemetery historical marker by members of the VFW and American Legion.
Live Oak County Commissioner Donna Mills thanked all those attending in honor of veterans past and present. She spoke of the importance of the service provided by these veterans to our country.
Remarks were also given by representatives of VFW Post 6119 and American Legion Post 413. Members of Live Oak County Historical Commission and Oakville Cemetery Association were recognized. Thanks was given to members of the 4-H and Boy Scouts who volunteered to place wreaths.
Mrs. Skoruppa thanked Albert Davila, John Hinton, and Garnot Gillette for generous donations that made possible the purchase of wreaths for veterans who no longer have family in the area.
After Taps was played by Blake Fudge of Three Rivers, each veteran’s name was called and a family member or volunteer came forward to accept a wreath to place on that veteran’s grave.
St. George Cemetery, George West, Texas, second point of the WAA ceremonies among four Live Oak County Cemeteries on Saturday, December 14, 2019. Seven United States of America Service organizations are honored with ceremonial wreaths placed by veterans from the VFW and Amercan Legion early during this ceremony: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and Prisoners of War/Missing in Action. Ceremonial wreath in front of these seven honors WWI Marine Pvt. Robert William Tompkins killed in action September 14, 1918 in France at the age of 18. Pvt. Tompkins is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. As Peggy Skorrupa, WAA Contact, so well observed, "Donations from Tompkin's family, Hal and Earlyn Tompkins continue Pvt. Tompkin's service." Photos courtesy Peggy Skoruppa.
East side of St. Joseph's Church, located near Gussettville, was the first church in Live Oak County. The cemetery surrounds the sides and back of the church. Immigrants from Ireland receiving the first Mexican land grants in now Live Oak County area are buried here. Many gravestones show Ireland as birth place of the interred. Photos of Gussettville Church and Cemetery courtesy Richard Hudson.
The Honorable Jim Huff, County Judge for Live Oak County, welcomes you to the Live Oak County Historical Commission (LOCHC) Website. The Live Oak County Historical Commission is an arm of the Live Oak County Commissioners' Court; appointees are selected at the beginning of odd numbered years and serve two year terms. Judge Huff and the Live Oak County Commissioners support and approve actions of the LOCHC in coordination with the Texas Historical Commission (THC).
Live Oak County Commissioners:
Precinct 1: Richard Lee
Precinct 2: Donna Kopplin Mills
Precinct 3: Willie James
Precinct 4: Emilio Garza
The Commissioner's Court is committed to the preservation of our county's history. Judge Huff and your local commissioner welcome suggestions.