It’s a new Christmas story, you probably haven’t heard it before, so we’ll start at the beginning.
“It all started probably about four years ago or so, three or four years ago. Governor Tomlin was our state governor. I was searching the internet, it was right around the Christmas holiday and I noticed he had a beautiful Christmas tree, it was big,” said Kip Price, veteran advocate.
It wasn’t any ordinary tree though, this one honored veterans, something Kip Price has spent decades doing.
“Man it’d be nice if we could do that here in Marion County, have a Christmas tree honoring our veterans,” Price said.
He started small.
“At the time we had one tree, that was our first year,” he said. “Well last year it grew to 86 so we had to have two trees.”
Of course this third year they’re hoping to expand the number of trees and entries in the booklet that tells the stories behind many of those veteran pictures on the tree.
Paul McCue, World War II veteran, is one of those veterans with an ornament on the tree.
“I feel wonderful seeing all the veterans pictures everywhere. You have to give a lot of credit to Kip Price and Judy Wilson for doing all this, they’re really dedicated,” McCue said.
Price comes from a long line of veterans, his work advocating for them started with the Wereth 11, a group of African American soldiers who were brutally killed in WWII.
Now he works to tell the stories of the Wereth 11, and all veterans.
“Why not bring more honor and recognition not just to the Wereth 11, let’s expand it and bring honor to as many as we can,” Price said.
If there’s a veteran in your life you’d like to honor through the Marion County Veteran’s Christmas tree contact Kip Price: firstname.lastname@example.org.