Veteran collecting, re-purposing fake Christmas trees for Memorial Day wreath

Veteran collecting fake Christmas trees for a noble cause

You'll rarely catch Jonathan Laureles these days without three things by his side: his loyal pooch Sadeki, his 1965 Chevy pick-up, and a load of fake trees.

"Hopefully, people don't see me as a Grinch or something, taking everyone's Christmas trees," he laughed.

At any given moment, Laureles may have a forest full of fake Christmas trees in the back of his truck. It's a head-scratching scene until you find out why.

Laureles is the commander of the Cleburne VFW. Recently, the group painted a patriotic mural in PD Lacewell Park in Cleburne. While Laureles was there, he noticed a huge circular slab, which he said used to be a water tower, and he had a vision.

"I thought, being a circular platform, we could have a giant wreath there and a Memorial Day vigil for the community," he said.

Knowing people were likely discarding their fake Christmas trees this time of the year, he put a call out on Facebook for the trees. The response was overwhelming. He now has a storage unit stocked with fake fir-- the tree variety, that is. And the material will be made into a gigantic wreath for Memorial Day in Lacewell Park.

"Basically, we'll use these artificial Christmas trees, we'll shape them up and lay them all around the perimeter here," he showed WFAA Thursday.

Jon hopes the wreath will become a yearly tradition on Memorial Day. He said he also hopes one day to have something more permanent here to honor our veterans.

According to Mayor Scott Cain, the city is fully on board with all of the plans.

Laureles spent five years deployed in Iraq with the Army National Guard. He said he's okay with his new reputation as the guy driving around Cleburne with tons of fake trees in his truck, knowing that his Christmas tree efforts will be so appreciated come Memorial Day.

Laureles is still seeking a few extra trees. You can contact them here

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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