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Jul 7, 2014 12:43 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Fundraising to honor veterans increases

TUCSON - A group is getting more support in its effort to honor veterans next holiday season.

Wreaths Across America started at Arlington National Cemetery more than 20 years ago. In 2011, American Gold Star Mothers organized the first local event in Tucson.

Sheron Jones's son, Staff Sgt. Darrel Kasson, died in Iraq in 2011.

"We want to honor, remember and to teach our young ones that freedom isn't free," Jones said. "I have a hard time, sometimes, getting through the ceremony, but at the end, I'm really glad that I did."

In a memorial type ceremony, volunteers are invited to help place wreaths on veterans' graves.

"There are so many veterans buried right here in Tucson," Jones said. "And it's really sad to go there sometimes, and there's nothing on those graves."

Jones has gotten support from Peter Piper Pizza, Chili's and Buffalo Wild Wings with fundraisers this year. She is working with other restaurants as well but has not finalized deals yet.

"This makes my heart happy to know that this year we're going to be able to put more than we've ever put on," she said.

Wreaths cost $15 each. In 2011, Jones had fewer than 400 for Evergreen Mortuary, where her son is buried. Last year she had almost 800. Wreaths will also be placed at South Lawn, East Lawn, Holy Hope and Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista.

On Wednesday, Buffalo Wild Wings will donate 10 percent of a guest check to Gold Star Mothers if they bring the flyer.

Thursday, four Chili's locations will donate 15 percent of their sales when guests bring the flyer.

All summer, different Peter Piper Pizza Locations will donate 15 percent of sales to Gold Star Mothers for guests who bring the appropriate flyer. The dates and locations are listed below.

7/7 - 7/13 at 432 W. Valencia Rd.
7/14 - 7/20 at 5925 E. Broadway Blvd.
7/21 - 7/27 at 4120 N. Oracle Rd.
7/28 - 8/3 at 4112 E. 22nd St.
8/4 - 8/10 at 1380 N. Silverbell Rd.
8/11 - 8/17 at 3780 W. Ina Rd.
8/18 - 8/24 at 3717 S. 12th Ave.
8/25 - 8/31 at 9545 E. Old Spanish Trail
9/1 - 9/7 at 7621 N. Oracle Rd.

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