In the hearts and minds of those who make up the Wreaths Across America organization and family of volunteers every day is a day to give thanks to our military veterans for their service and sacrifice. Every day we remember our freedoms and values have been protected by those who have worn the cloth of our armed services. Every day we strive to teach younger generations what has been given to ensure against the infringement of our customs and liberties.
There's no better way to recognize Veterans Day 2016 than to announce a meaningful partnership between Wreaths Across America and Easter Seals Veterans Count and to ramp up sponsorships of remembrance wreaths.
As a way to help emergency services for our living veterans, Wreaths Across America will donate back five dollars from every fifteen dollar remembrance wreath purchased through the Veterans Count program. Their mission is to provide critical and timely financial assistance and services when no other resources are available to veterans, service members and their families, to ensure their dignity, health and overall well-being.
We told you about the beginning of our partnership a few months ago when ground was broken in Columbia Falls, Maine for an Easter Seals Wreaths Across America Heroes Wall.
A fresh balsam fir remembrance wreath was placed this week on the two hero's walls on the DiMillo's Boardwalk in Portland, Maine.
Anyone who really knows me knows that I am often a walking Wreaths Across America billboard. They will normally see me sporting a WAA-branded sweatshirt or t-shirt, my blue and green WAA wristband and my ever-present WAA baseball cap. I’m proud of my connection with WAA and love to promote what we do and why we do it.
That being said, I want to relate a recent encounter I had while standing in line at our local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office the other day.
Air Force Veteran*, Wayne Merritt, currently manages the Veterans Transportation Program based out of Wreaths Across America Headquarters in Maine. Monday thru Friday, Wayne travels to area towns in the Downeast region to pick up veterans and bring them to their doctors’ appointments. This is just one of the many free programs Wreaths Across America offers to veterans and their families.
Military children worry about their parent’s safety very day. These children face many challenges, frequent moves and lengthy separation due to trainings and deployments. They take on more responsibilities and worry about their parent every day.
"I really don't see it stopping, and we want people to tell us where they see it. Take pictures and videos when you check it out and share them with us on social media."
Debbie says she and the transportation team are excited about new and more efficient systems that will be in place for 2018 and beyond.
To come up with an accurate wreath count for sponsorships, great effort was taken to assure no one was forgotten.
As we approached, Morrill and I began to realize that here laid the body of a very important veteran that we had apparently overlooked for the past 26 years in our annual wreath placement.
The many stops along the way at schools, veterans organizations, police and fire stations were also overflowing with love and good wishes.
I want my daughter to grow up understanding what true heroes are and the sacrifices that have been made for us to live in a free country.
Complete strangers just moments before, together, Denny and Ella read the name on her grandfather's headstone and talked some about him while laying his wreath.
"When she explained to us what Wreaths Across America is and does, it was a no-brainer for me that we would get involved."
On behalf of her father Rod, Cindi shared her grandfather's words with the audience during the memorial service. You can hear her presentation and see other highlights from the service in this video.
These two quiet and humble individuals are a team dedicated to giving back to their nation. They educate others by sharing their experiences and lessons of love and sacrifice not just from the war but the other "battlefields of life."
To better serve our volunteers in 2018 and beyond, we're reorganizing and providing more tools to support their inspiring efforts.
"I witnessed a few of the boys laying an "in honor of" wreath. They did it with reverence."
Guided by an infrangible faith when the supply of lifejackets ran out they gave up their own to save the lives of others.