Donate & Volunteer: Wreaths Across America

Connecting Vets
November 15, 2019 - 7:22 am
Wreaths Across America - Connecting Vets
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This year's National Wreaths Across America Day will be on Saturday, December 14.  Volunteers will place more than 250,000 wreaths throughout Arlington National Cemetery and at 1,600 additional locations throughout the country and overseas. 

Here's how you can help and get involved: 

1. Click here to sponsor a wreath.
2. Volunteer to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.
3. Help organize a Wreaths Across America event in your community: Email awpvols@wreathsacrossamerica.org

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The event started with a wreath farm in Maine and the Worcester family.

"It came to be in 1992," said Karen Worcester,executive director of Wreaths Across America. 

"Our family had been in the wreath business forever. We had a surplus of wreaths that year, and my husband recalled a trip that he had won as a twelve-year-old paperboy to Arlington National Cemetery. Being a very patriotic man and very grateful for all that our family had, he thought it would be a nice way for our family to say thank you if he could take some of those surplus wreaths down to Arlington and place them on the graves of veterans."

It took some phone calls to get permission, but the Worcester's got permission to take 5,000 wreaths to place on graves at Arlington National Cemetery that year. 

"It changed our lives," Worcester said. "You just couldn't help but read the name as you placed the wreath. It was such a personal thing, so we did it for years and years."

The Worcester's continued to bring wreaths to Arlington each year with a team of roughly ten volunteers. It wasn't until 2005, with the help of a Pentagon photographer, that the Worcester's project went viral. 

"It was 2005, and a Pentagon photographer took a picture of what we were doing. It went viral. It changed life quite drastically," Worcester said. "By January of 2006, my husband, who to this day has never answered an email, had literally four or five thousand emails from people wanting to get involved and people wanting to share their stories — military families, Gold Star families, veterans."

From there, the Worcester's family project grew into the national event that Wreaths Across America is today. 

"I get a lot of questions about our business plan, and we really don't have one," Worcester said. "We grow at about 30 percent every year because when people go and participate, place a wreath, read that name, and make that connection they want to do it again. So, many times, they'll go to a place like Arlington and then go back where they live and take it to their own cemetery."

Sponsorships are still needed. The coast is $15 to sponsor a wreath for placement. The government does not provide these wreaths and without the support from grateful Americans, it would not be possible to honor all the men and women laid to rest across the country.

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