ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A group of local volunteers are in need of the community's help to ensure tens of thousands of fallen American heroes are honored this holiday season.

Every year, volunteers with Wreaths Across America place thousands of holiday wreaths at graves throughout Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Last year, COVID-19 limited the number of volunteers that were able to be out at one time. Wreath sponsorships were also down, totaling a little more than 15,000. 

"Two years ago, our count was 27,000 [wreaths] approximately, so that's quite a bit lower," Kathy Schulte with Wreaths Across America said.

Sponsoring a wreath costs $15 and allows one to be placed at a specific grave or somewhere else in the cemetery. To sponsor a wreath, visit this website.

Al Baker has been a volunteer laying out thousands of wreaths for the last five years. For him, the job is personal.

"We all graduated from high school and went off to war," he said. "Some of us came back and some of us didn't but a lot of them we never got to see again, ever."

A Marine Corps veteran himself, Baker makes sure to place a wreath at each of his late friends' grave.

"In Vietnam, over there, there is no funeral...you had to suck it up and move on, you don't have that opportunity to mourn the loss of them, " he said. "The war doesn't stop because one of your guys are killed."

Despite needing more sponsorships of wreaths, Schulte said all volunteer slots have been filled. The wreaths will be put out on Dec. 18 from 8 a.m to 3:30 p.m.

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