"We want Michael to be proud of us, and we know he'd want us just to keep pushing through no matter what," says Gold Star Mother Tammy Stansbery.
Tammy's son Michael L. Stansbery Jr. U.S. Army is buried in Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery, and they reconnected on National Wreaths Across America Day 2016. Tammy and her husband, former Marine and professional driver Mike Stansbery of Tennessee had the honor of participating in a portion of the WAA Escort to Arlington as well as the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Uknown back in December.
Wreaths Across America met Mike back in 2015 when he picked up remembrance wreaths in Maine he was trucking to Fayetteville, Arkansas for J.B. Hunt.
As a Gold Star dad, Mike was given an opportunity to select a Family Tree among the balsam firs growing on the tip land in Washington County as part of the WAA Stem to Stone program. At that time, Mike said he was honored to be transporting his truckload of respect to another part of the country, but would one day like to be involved with the Arlington events considering his son is buried there. When Mike tagged the tree in honor of Michael Jr., he described his son's devotion to the country.
The Stanbery's exemplify the strength of character and courage that has built this country. Despite their personal sacrifice of their son in service to the nation and Tammy's battle with cancer, they continue to push through their grief and physical challenges to serve as volunteers honoring the lives and sacrifices of others.
Wreaths Across America is grateful and gives thanks for the service and commitment of proud Americans like the Stansbery's.
As the only fully-integrated recycling provider in Central Texas, TDS joined in the effort to remember, honor and teach by donating their services.
All of the 30 Medal of Honor Recipients in attendance during the four days of events were glad to have a chance to meet Morrill and Karen.
The goal of the S.W.A.T. training is to create a core "support group" for location and fundraising volunteers with more experienced leaders joining the ranks every year.
"If you're an American, you're proud to do it. I know it's probably one of the best things I've done every year."
Mission Matters with Karen Worcester is a new program heard only on Wednesdays on Wreaths Across America Radio. Here's the schedule of the shows coming up and a link to the station.
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."