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Wyckoff Groups Honor Vets, Restore Vandalized Church Cemetery

Wyckoff-Midland Park VFW members fire rifles at the December ceremony.
Wyckoff-Midland Park VFW members fire rifles at the December ceremony. Photo Credit: Wyckoff Area Garden Club Facebook
Members of Wyckoff Troop 24 present their $700 check to help with the headstones restoration.
Members of Wyckoff Troop 24 present their $700 check to help with the headstones restoration. Photo Credit: Lisa Ambrose
The Wyckoff Garden Club raised money to help place a wreath on every veteran grave in the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery, as part of a Wreaths Across America event earlier this month.
The Wyckoff Garden Club raised money to help place a wreath on every veteran grave in the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery, as part of a Wreaths Across America event earlier this month. Photo Credit: Nancy Mattera
Members of the Wyckoff Area Garden Club and other volunteers prepare to lay wreaths on veteran graves earlier this month.
Members of the Wyckoff Area Garden Club and other volunteers prepare to lay wreaths on veteran graves earlier this month. Photo Credit: Wyckoff Area Garden Club Facebook
Locals laid wreaths at the graves of veterans in the December ceremony -- including this vandalized one, which has been covered to prevent further damage, pending repair.
Locals laid wreaths at the graves of veterans in the December ceremony -- including this vandalized one, which has been covered to prevent further damage, pending repair. Photo Credit: Lisa Ambrose
The Wyckoff Garden Club raised money to help place a wreath on every veteran grave in the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery, as part of a Wreaths Across America event earlier this month.
The Wyckoff Garden Club raised money to help place a wreath on every veteran grave in the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery, as part of a Wreaths Across America event earlier this month. Photo Credit: Nancy Mattera

WYCKOFF, N.J. -- Two Wyckoff organizations are giving back to the community, helping to honor those who have gone.

In the last month, the Wyckoff Area Garden Club placed wreaths on the graves of veterans at the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery, and local Girl Scouts raised money to help repair headstones that were vandalized there this fall.

On Dec. 17, members of the WAGC and others participated in a Wreaths Across America ceremony, placing wreaths at each of the 214 veteran graves in the cemetery. The group, itself, funded 40 of those wreaths.

Each year, Wreaths Across America facilitates ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and over 1,100 other sites, in the U.S., at sea and abroad.

Part of the ceremonies include reading the veterans' names. "We are not here to 'decorate graves,'" Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America, said at an another ceremony. "We're here to remember not their deaths, but their lives."

At the Wyckoff event, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 24 also presented a check for $700 to the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery Association. As the Daily Voice reported last month, the girls sold honey to raise funds to help restore the headstones which had been vandalized.

In early October, one or more people knocked down more than 50 headstones -- some dating back to the 1850s and some the grave markers of infants -- breaking some in multiple pieces.

Detective Sgt. Joseph Soto of the Wyckoff Police Department told Daily Voice that there are no definitive suspects and the investigation is ongoing. "I don't want to get into any particulars yet," he added.

As the Daily Voice reported last week, the cemetery association has been able to hire an expert to do the repairs.

"The Girl Scout project was just so touching," Nancy Mattera, president of the Wyckoff Reformed Church Cemetery Association, told Daily Voice.

The association has also received some insurance money, and over $14,000 has been raised. A GoFundMe campaign also raised over $4,000, and there have been a lot of private donations, Mattera said, especially from church members, and locals -- "people who drive by, who think of the cemetery as the center of the town, that were just so appalled (by the vandalism)."

If you have any information about the crime, call the Detectives Bureau at 201-891-2121 or email detectives@wyckoffpolice.org. Tips can be made anonymously.

To donate to Wreaths Across America -- which also conducts events with veterans groups and educates kids throughout the year -- or volunteer, click here.

To learn more about the WAGC, visit its website or Facebook page.

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