On Saturday morning, a penny was placed on the gravestone of every veteran in Forest Hills Memorial Gardens in Exeter Township and Gethsemane Cemetery in Laureldale. 

Volunteers walked the rows of graves checking each gravestone during Iron Warriors Inc.'s annual Veterans Remembrance Penny Drive. The event is held the Saturday before Veterans Day every year.

"We like to pay respect to our past veterans by placing the pennies on their graves," said Chris Schweitzer, event coordinator and Iron Warriors Inc. secretary. "It's to honor them."

Schweitzer spent the morning at Forest Hills.

As 11 a.m. approached, volunteers had placed a penny on nearly every gravestone as they checked off another section of the cemetery. About 30 volunteers were at the Exeter site and about 40 spent the morning at Gethsemane, according to Schweitzer.

"We get everyone from Boy Scouts to Girls Scouts, and we also have the American Legion," Schweitzer said. "It's a whole family event. They bring their children. It's good for all ages."

The event has become not only annual for the organization, but for many of the volunteers as well. One of those volunteers is Keith Romig, president of the Morgantown Legion Riders and junior vice commander of the Sons of Post 537 in Morgantown.

"We've always supported everything with Iron Warriors," he said of American Legion Post 537. "We have always continued to help Kyle (Hummel, co-founder and chairman of the Iron Warriors Foundation) in all of his events to raise money for veterans. That's our main goal."

Missy Seifert, president of the American Legion Auxiliary, was also one of the volunteers at Forest Hills.

"I think it's very important to come out and visit our veterans," she said. "The fact that we can do this is because of our veterans."

The pennies remain on the gravestones and serve as an indicator that someone visited the veteran.

"They remain so family members or other people who knew the deceased can see that somebody else has been here to pay their respects," Schweitzer said. "We've received messages from family members that they're honored that somebody took the time to come out and pay respect to their family member for their time of service."

The pennies come from donation drives.

Schweitzer said donation jars are set up at events and placed at other locations all year. Once the pennies are collected, they are then wrapped. The wrapped pennies are then separated into bags, which the volunteers carry with them as they search for gravestones belonging to veterans.

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