YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – There’s an 11-year-old girl in Hampton who’s made it her mission to ensure that deceased veterans are never forgotten, especially during the holidays.

Cadence “Cady” Smeltzer comes from a family with deep military roots.

“My dad is in the military, in the air force, and my grandfather served in the Korean War, and his brother was a POW and Purple Heart recipient in WWII, and that goes back to the War of Independence, ”Cadence says.

When she heard about Wreaths Across America, she knew she had to get involved.

“I just started it and about two years ago I only got 25 crowns,” she said.

Last year the number rose to 57 wreaths, all laid on the graves of resting veterans at Yorktown National Cemetery. Year after year, the sheaves are laid. And year after year, there isn’t enough for all the veterans in the cemetery. It’s a reality, Cadence’s mother Vanessa says she hit her little girl hard at the end of last year’s event.

“Cady stayed long after everyone had left. She was the last little one there and she straightens the bows, and she stands over them and she prays and she thanks everyone and she apologizes that they don’t have enough crowns, ”said Vanessa.

“It broke my heart as a mother because here she is doing her best, and we went back to the visitor center with the driver and he let us know that they were still about 250 l ‘missing. last year, and Cady said, “They’ll never be short again. I’m arguing that they’ll never be short again.”

So this year, the founders created The cadence of freedom. The group has teamed up again with Wreaths Across America.

“She began her mission at the age of 150 [wreaths] and we said, “150 is a lofty goal when last year you were only 56 and she said,” Mom, this cemetery is going to be full this year. ” I know it, ”Vanessa said.

“Each person receives a Christmas present this year,” explains Cadence.

For every two crowns you buy, Cadence will put one more crown for free. So far, it has over 550 crowns, but it needs double that to fill Yorktown National Cemetery.

With the help of the public and her heart, there is no doubt that this child of change can achieve her goal.

“I want this whole graveyard to be filled because they all fought for one thing, and that was our freedom,” says Cadence.

Wreaths cost $ 15 each.

To donate to Freedom’s Cadence, Click here.

If you know a child who is doing good in your community, our Katie collett wants to hear about them so she can feature them in her Children of Change segments.

Email him at [email protected] or send him a message on Facebook.


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