Alabama Fifth Grader Works To Honor Veterans at Jefferson Memorial Gardens
What happens when a person sets their mind to make things happen? One individual can move mountains, or in this case a “mountain” wreaths sponsored to honor veterans in Hoover, Alabama, and fundraised over $2800 at the same time.
This is the story of Nicholas Carlisle, a fifth grader from Greystone Elementery School in Hoover, AL. Nick came to be involved with Wreaths Across America thru his uncle, Brad Bentley who as a writer for Randall Reilly Publications, had covered the wreath-laying events and the participation of the trucking industry in helping to honor veterans. In addition to his own work, Brad encouraged his daughter Magen to get involved with WAA, and this past summer participated in a wreath-laying ceremony sponsored by People to People at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France.
Like his older cousin Magen, Nick decided to get involved as a People To People Ambassador, which involves travel to different countries as part of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vision for a more peaceful world.
When selected for the People to People program, participants begin to engage in fundraising programs to help raise funds for their trips – and the Wreaths Across America fundraising program became a perfect opportunity to raise money AND build character by honoring veterans.
For Nick, this was a personal mission to not only grow as a young man, but to honor his grandfather who was a Marine, and to one day see the shores of Normandy where so many lives were lost to protect the world’s freedoms.
Once he decided to get involved, Nick set his goal on honoring the veterans in his local community, and specifically the approximately 560 veterans laid to rest at Jefferson Memorial Gardens South, in Hoover, Alabama. With that goal in mind – Nick set out with a campaign to approach individuals and businesses to let them know about the mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach.
For every $15 wreath sponsored to honor a veteran, a full $5 was paid back to help sponsor Nick’s People to People trip to England and France in the summer of 2015.
Well, with a lot of support along the way – Nick did it!
This summer he reported back to all his supporters to let them know that together they had raised 563 wreath sponsorships, which will be placed at Jefferson Memorial Gardens on Saturday, December 13th (National Wreaths Across America Day).
Job well done Nick! Job well done.
[Editor's Note] As I was putting together notes for this story, there are two additional pieces of information that will be of interest to readers. First regarding Brad Bentley, Nick’s uncle who introduced him to WAA. Brad was last week named the new President of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) – which speaks volumes about Brad and his abilities, and is great news to folks interested in veterans issues as he has been a great supporter of those who protect our freedoms. He walks the walk, and educates every bit as much as home as he does in his work.
Secondly, I (Tobin) was tickled to see and impressed that when Nick put together his thank you note to supporters, Nick reminded folks to pencil this project into their 2015 budgets because he said he has plans on doing this again next year. As he explained, “After all, our soldiers don’t just fight once and quit. They keep going.” I think Nick’s parents Mark and Chrissy deserve a lot of credit for raising this ambitious young men!