They served our country for years and now they are serving those who have passed on.
Lenore and John Combs are both veterans, who served in the Air Force in the 1970’s. Lenore worked as a nurse and John as a computer programmer. Now, the two make sure that veterans are not forgotten, even after they have passed on.
In 2018, the two launched Wreaths Across America in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s a national organization that honors veterans every December by laying a wreath on their grave site.
“When you go up to the tombstone, you say the name of the veteran. ‘Thank you for your service, you’re not forgotten.’ You place the wreath, then you back up and render salute,” said Lenore.
Days before, they walk the grounds at several cemeteries, identifying all the veterans. The day CBS 4 met with the Combs, we visited the City of Harlingen’s Cemetery on F Street. That cemetery’ is one of the oldest in the Rio Grande Valley, dating back to the early 1900’s.
The process isn’t an easy one. Lenore and her husband spent countless hours making sure everything was set.
“You can say, at least 50 hours a week she would put into this,” said Sal Carmona, Chairman of the Veterans Advisory Board. “She would come to my office from time to time for guidance. We would work together and then she would go out and run with it.”
Last year, they laid more than 800 wreaths across the Valley. This time around, Lenore worked with other cities to help them prepare ceremonies of their own.
This year, there will be enough wreaths to lay at every grave site of veterans in and around Harlingen.
John says it goes beyond remembering the veterans, adding, “it really kind of restores the memory of F Street Cemetery. It is so rich in history that just being here reminds you of what that history is.”
This year’s Wreaths Across America ceremony in Harlingen will take place on Saturday, December 14 at 11 a.m. It will be held at Veterans’ Memorial at Pendleton Park, located at 1425 Morgan Blvd.
If you would like to participate in the ceremony, lay a wreath, or donate, you can contact Lenore Combs at (956) 245-1276. You can also visit their website at HarlingenVeterans.com.
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