Basin Electric employee helps present a holiday tribute to fallen soldiers

Everyone in the Bismarck-Mandan, North Dakota, area knows what a beautiful sight it is to see the Christmas wreaths adorning the gravesites at the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery.

Mark Scheele, Basin Electric chief pilot, plays a role in making sure there’s funding for them each year.

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Scheele is the deputy commander of the Bismarck Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. The Squadron has been involved with the Wreaths Across America program for over 10 years. Since joining this effort, their goal has been to completely cover the North Dakota Veteran’s Cemetery with wreaths – something they were able to achieve for the first time in 2014. This year, almost 7,000 wreaths were placed at the cemetery, which is south of Mandan.

“We are a small group of volunteers so it’s a large effort to make this happen every year, but we have had amazing support from the community,” Scheele says. “We start raising the sponsorships in November and the wreaths are delivered from Maine on donated semi-trucks with volunteer drivers. They usually arrive a few days before the event. We have a short ceremony and place a ceremonial wreath for each branch of the armed forces and then we invite the public to place the wreaths.”

About 1,200 people came out to honor North Dakota’s finest at this year’s ceremony. The ceremonial wreath presenters were nominated by the community and selected via a random drawing. The event occurred simultaneously with over 1,500 other ceremonies at locations in the United States and beyond.

WAA 2019 (2)

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