HELENA — Wednesday morning, bright and early at 8 a.m., volunteers got together and grabbed their tools for the Saluting Branches event at Montana State Veterans Cemetery.
Saluting Branches has been preserving veteran cemeteries in for eight years and counting to honor those who have sacrificed so much.
Over the eight years of volunteer work, they have helped preserve 78 veteran sites in 40 states.
Saluting Branches didn’t start out all tall and mighty. Arborist Tom Molitor says it all started from a private tree company in 2015 that had an idea and caught traction.
“Rainbow tree care wanted to find a way to give back to the troops that paid the ultimate price, so that’s why they started this program,” said Molitor.
Over 40 volunteers showed up on the 138-acre Helena site for this year’s event. Veterans like Jonathan Wishinski wanted to give back to those who devoted their lives to protecting our nation.
“This event means a lot to me as a veteran, it’s really good that the tree guys come together as a team to help out the armed forces and support them through times and for supporting us and it’s really good to give back to them and we will do as much as we can,” said Wishinski.
Saluting Branches have donated over $108,000 in tree services to veteran cemeteries since the start of their program.
The next annual event of Saluting Branches event will be held sometime in September of 2023.