Your Town Merrill: Local company makes wreath rings, donates to Arlington National Cemetery

MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) -- Take a look at the holiday wreath in your home. You may not realize that the metal frame holding it together might just be made down the road in Lincoln County.

The Merrill-based Mitchell Metal Products got its start in 1954. The custom manufacturing company makes metal stampings and other components for a variety of industries.

For roughly nine months out of the year, much of the focus is on wire wreath rings. They are shipped all over the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

The company is also a sponsor of 'Wreaths Across America.'

"We donate rings that are used to decorate the graves in Arlington National Cemetery. In addition to that, another 1-million wreaths are placed on soldiers' graves all across America," said Tim Zimmerman, president of Mitchell Metal Products. "It gives our people great pride knowing that they're honoring those who went before us."

Saturday is recognized as National Wreaths Across America Day.

Spokeswoman Amber Caron said a total of 1.2 million wreaths will be placed on markers across the country in 1,238 locations.

Caron said the purpose is to remember fallen veterans, honor those who serve and teach children the value of freedom.

As participants place each wreath, they say the soldier's name out loud. Caron describes it as "incredibly emotional."

The Wreaths Across America project began in 1992, when a Maine wreath maker donated 5,000 surplus wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.

This year, an estimated 25,000 volunteers gathered at Arlington in freezing rain with plans to lay 245,000 wreaths.