Gambell and her Pekin teammates give back

When she?s not being honored for her athletic abilities, Maci Gambell can be found giving back.

Currently she is working on her FCCLA STAR project which involves selling sponsorships to raise money for the nearly 600 wreaths needed to honor every veteran in six selected cemeteries in Keokuk and Jefferson Counties this December on National Wreaths Across America Day.

Gambell has recruited her teammates on the Pekin girls basketball team who are joining in the efforts as part of their Iowa Hall of Pride Service Project.

When the jv/varsity teams hosts Fairfield at 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 for the Pride game, they will have a bake sale with all proceeds going towards the purchase of wreaths.

Gambell will also have a table at the event selling sponsorships.

There will also be donation buckets passed around the stands at breaks during the Pride game with all of those proceeds purchasing wreaths as well.

Each wreath sponsorship costs $15, but for every two-wreath sponsorships sold, three wreaths are provided to the group as part of a special fundraising program developed by Wreaths Across America.

The ceremony will be open to the public and held on Saturday, December 16 at 11 a.m. at Pekin High. Anyone who would like to volunteer can attend the ceremony and then help with the wreath laying afterwards.

The project?s goal is to place a live, balsam fir wreath at the headstone of every veteran buried in six local cemeteries with the hope of spreading patriotism while commemorating the ultimate sacrifices they made for our country.

The deadline to donate is Nov.19, to purchase a wreath or get registered to help, visit or for questions email Maci Gambell at

Gambell is hoping that someone from either FCCLA or the basketball team will take over this project when she graduates in the spring.

She hopes to start a similar project wherever she decides to attend college, and she says the ground work has already been laid for this to continue at Pekin.

?We?ve got it set up for someone to takeoverpretty easily once I?m gone,? says the senior. ?Everything is in line, we just need someone to step up and coordinate the communities efforts.?

FCCLA stands for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and it aims to help youth with family bonds, careers, and participation in the community.