Visit sponsored by KTVZ; Wreaths Across America placed wreaths on 2 million headstones last year
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- At the Bend Factory Stores on Friday, shoppers found something you can't put a price on.
In the parking lot sat a patriotic truck and trailer housing a mobile museum for Wreaths Across America. It's open for public visits until 7:30 p.m.
"Everybody we're honoring right now gave their life for freedom," said Delane Kellogg.
Kellogg and his wife Deborah are part of a team taking the display honoring veterans to multiple cities across the country. The Bend stop, sponsored by NewsChannel 21, is the first of a statewide tour.
A visit to the mobile museum includes an eight-minute video revisiting history and outlining the mission of the nonprofit.
"For this trip, we started in Florida, went to the Midwest, and now we're in Oregon for more than two weeks," added Kellogg.
Wreaths Across America works to put wreaths on the graves of veterans during the month of December. Each wreath is sponsored for $15.
"We're in over 3,000 cemeteries," said Deborah Kellogg. "Last year, we placed more than 2 million wreaths on headstones."
The Kelloggs' cargo also includes pins and proclamations for Vietnam veterans to commemorate 50 years since the war.
"They never got a proper 'welcome home,'" said Deborah, "so it gets very emotional when strangers say those words."
Vietnam veteran Barry Bowman received a pin during the Bend stop.
"When I came home, I had a crewcut, so people knew I was in the military, and I didn't feel welcome. So I really appreciate this," Bowman said.
The mobile museum will make nearly a dozen stops in Oregon, including Gresham, Tigard, Albany, Springfield and Medford.
"It's especially important to reach the young people," Kellogg concluded, "so they know the sacrifices which gave us our freedom."