Wreaths Across America is a national initiative honoring veterans.

The Civil Air Patrol squadron along with community members are helping carry out that celebration by giving back.

“My father’s been out here for the last three years, my father-in-law has been out here for the last four and I think it’s a good thing for everyone in the public,” Volunteer Victor Shock said.

Saturday, about 25 Civil Air Patrolmen along with their family members and 150 community members joined forces while participating in one big community service project at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery.

“We did a quick risk assessment; the weather was warm enough that we felt we could do this. We knew that it was going to be snowing but it’s winter, it’s North Dakota, it’s an opportunity to get outdoors, let’s do it,” Bismarck Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol Coordinator Kevin Iverson said.

The special task was cleaning up wreaths that were placed on site last December.

“The pieces or in some cases the bows get torn off in the snow. We’re picking all that up and we’re placing it in dumpsters,” Iverson said.

Volunteers refused to allow the snow to get in the way of the tidying task.

“The snow didn’t really cause any issues. The build up around the headstone you really had to pry,” Shock said.

“It’s gratifying that the people appreciate the event, respect the veterans that are buried out here, it’s just humbling,” Iverson said.

The cleanup took about an hour and a half to complete, about 7,000 wreaths were removed on site.

“There’s not a lot of other opportunities that we have on a regular basis that we have to recognize them especially those that have been gone for quite some time,” Shock said.

Wreaths Across America has been placing wreaths on graves at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery since 2006.