VFW auxiliary supports Wreaths Across America

Alice Robinson, Auxiliary Chair of Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 holds two veterans wreath pages [decorated by Spruce Mountain Elementary School students] on Nov. 8 while the election was taking place at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Livermore. Robinson is a resident of the town and chose Wreaths Across America as her project while chairman. She provided the school in Jay with 30 copies of the coloring page but collected 191 colorful wreaths each with a written thank you. Published by Pam Hernand/Livermore Falls

Jay – Alice Robinson, Frank L. VFW Post 3335 Auxiliary Chairwoman Mitchell chose Wreaths Across America as her project, with several things already accomplished.

Robinson provided Spruce Mountain Elementary School with 30 copies of a veteran wreath for students to color and write a thank you note to a veteran. During a Nov. 8 interview, Robinson said she had collected 191 completed pages. That Thursday Robinson planned to take the pages to the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta to give the veterans a name.

The veteran wreath used in the Strangers Across America program is a symbol of honor, respect and victory, Robinson said. According to a fact sheet from Wreaths Across America Robinson shared with the Livermore Falls Teachers and Advertiser, 10 balsam wreaths make up each veteran’s wreath representing the 10 special qualities veterans embody:

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• Their belief in a greater good

• Their love for each other

• Their strength, work ethic and character

• Their honesty and integrity

• Their humility, selflessness and modesty

• Their ambitions and aspirations

• Their optimism for America

• Their concern for the future

• Their pride in their duties

• Their hopes and dreams that were not always fulfilled, but left them with no regrets

The evergreens in the wreath represent longevity and endurance, the red rainbow is a great sacrifice, the scent of the forest is purity and simplicity, and the circular shape is eternity.

Wreaths Across America was founded by Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington. In 1992 his company had a surplus of foreigners. Recalling a trip he took to Arlington National Cemetery as a child, with the help of Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made to place the wreaths in an older part of the cemetery where the number of visitors was dwindling.

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Worcester continued to donate wreaths each year for the cemetery. In 2005, a photo of the wreath-adorned headstones covered in snow was circulated online, bringing the project to national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from those who wanted to continue the project in their countries.

In 2006, the Patriot Guard riders volunteered to escort the strangers going to Arlington and began the annual Veterans Honor Parade that travels the East Coast every December. In 2007, the Wooster family and others founded Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “Remember. Honor. Teach.”

“In 2010, people placed 220,000 strangers in 545 locations,” Robinson said. “The laying of wreaths takes place every year on the second or third Saturday in December. This year the annual parade will begin from Harrington to Arlington National Cemetery on December 17.”

Robinson said the auxiliary raised $491 — from AMVETS, Otis Federal Credit Union, the VFW and others — to buy 48 wreaths. “Of those, 24 will go to Arlington National Cemetery and 24 will go to our local cemeteries, where there are 670 graves of veterans.”

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One wreath can be purchased for $15 while two cost $30, and an additional one is provided for free, Robinson noted. “We hope to make a lot more money to buy more wreaths next year,” she said.

Robinson’s husband, son and grandson all served in the military. “I am proud to be in the auxiliary system and work to support veterans,” she added.


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