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Volunteers clean up wreaths at cemetery where Richard Overton will be buried

Richard Overton is set to be laid to rest at the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin, where he has a plot.

AUSTIN — Richard Overton is set to be laid to rest at the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin, where he has a plot.

It's a place where famous people who contributed to Texas-- like Stephen F Austin, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Bob Bullock and Chris Kyle -- are buried.

And it's a place where each year people work to honor them.

"It means a lot," 7-year-old Remmer Machamer said.

He and his grandma, Sherilyn Owren, are helping retire the 3,100 wreaths they laid on each grave a few weeks ago.

"We're putting down all the wreaths,” Machamer said.

"He said, 'Of course it’s when we have to make it nice and clean, we can't just leave them there because that would mean we've forgotten,'” Owren said.

That's what this is all about: making sure people don't forget those who've done great things for Texas.

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"It's not just today or two weeks ago, but every day, we want to honor their service and sacrifice,” Ellen Fuller, with Wreaths Across America Austin, said.

People like Mr. Overton.

"In a few weeks, Richard Overton, the 112-year-old WWII veteran that passed last night, will be buried here,” Fuller said.

Fuller said the cemetery is a special place for Mr. Overton.

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During this year's wreath laying ceremony a few weeks ago, Mr. Overton's cousin, Volma, put out a wreath honoring those in the Army, where Mr. Overton served.

"He was truly part of the Greatest Generation. They just said what was my job, very humble, very inspiring gentleman,” Fuller said.

Friday, Fuller wore a photo of Mr. Overton and held a moment of silence for him -- all to keep his memory alive.

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"We always say that a person dies twice, the physical death and then when you stop remembering them,” Fuller said.

That's why Machamer wanted to make sure every person buried here had a special honor and recognition with a wreath on their grave.

"I like, went door-to-door [to] ring door bells,” Machamer said.

Last year, the group didn't have enough wreaths to cover all of the graves.

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"It didn't feel right to me,” Machamer said.

"He said it was very sad that there weren't enough wreaths, and he wanted to raise the money,” Owren said.

Machamer collected more than $2,000, enough to pay for more than 200 wreaths.

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Now, this year, 3,100 wreaths. They had one for every grave.

"He was determined to make it happen,” Owren said.

Fuller said they put wreaths on the graves of 2,500 veterans and 600 prominent Texans.

"I feel like I want to be a soldier someday too,” Machamer said.

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Next year, he wants to collect even more money, which can be used to buy more wreaths for new graves -- like the one for Mr. Overton.

"We don't care if it's a private, or a president, or a general, or a GI, they're all heroes to us,” Fuller said.

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Fuller said they will offer Mr. Overton's family's the opportunity to lay the wreath on his grave next year.

The wreaths that were on the graves this year will now go to Texas Disposal Systems who will re-purpose them into mulch and compost.

You can also drop off your Christmas tree, holly, pumpkins or other living decorations there between December 26 and January 31. You can then buy the mulch or compost at any Garden-Ville location across Central Texas. For a list of locations, click here.

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