Wreaths Across America Presents its Annual LEARN Award to South Portland Resident Brayden Kirk
COLUMBIA FALLS and SOUTH PORTLAND, Me. — July 28, 2021 — This weekend, at its annual Stem to Stone event in Maine, Wreaths Across America (WAA) recognized recent South Portland resident Brayden "Brady" Kirk as the fourth recipient of the organization's LEARN Award.
This award given semi-annually to a young individual who has learned, and understands, the Wreaths Across America mission and incorporates it into their young life. Over the last decade, Brady has traveled with the WAA escort to Arlington, a week-long journey down the East Coast to share the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach in communities leading up to National Wreaths Across America Day. Now 18 and a 2021 graduate of South Portland High School, Brady is taking the lessons he's learned over the years and made the decision to find a way to serve his own community. He will be attending Southern Maine Community College in the Fall for criminal justice, with a goal of becoming a police officer.
Wayne Hanson, WAA's Chairman of the Board, and 13-year old Miles Worcester, the inaugural recipient of this award, and grandson of WAA's Founders Morrill and Karen Worcester, presented Brady with the award on July 24, at the 8th Annual Stem to Stone event held in Downeast, Maine, where the nonprofit is headquartered. It is also where the balsam is grown to make the veterans' wreaths sponsored by the public and placed by volunteers each December as part of the WAA's mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.
"The Learn Award is something we developed back in 2015 as a way to express the importance of not only teaching as part of the mission, but for youth to LEARN what it means to serve and sacrifice for this country and then use that knowledge in their own young lives," said Wayne Hanson, Chairman of the Board, Wreaths Across America. "It has been our honor and privilege to watch Brady literally grow up in front of us over the last decade, and knowing he has taken what he's learned and has chosen to serve his community makes me and the entire WAA family very proud."
"I was not expecting this, what an honor," said Brady Kirk upon being presented the award that is made from the same marble used for the headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. His mom and dad, Jennifer and Bill Kirk added, "We are so proud of the young man Brayden is becoming and it has been 100 percent Wreaths Across America influence for his decision of becoming a Police Officer. We are truly thankful for the opportunities WAA has created, not only for Brady, but our nation's youth. He has said on numerous occasions he hopes when he is serving the community in the role of Police Officer that he hopes to be able to escort the convoy down to Arlington and bring it full circle, but until then, he will serve where he can make a difference."
This year, National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. It is a free event, open to all people. For more information or to find a participating cemetery near you, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization's mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.