December 09, 2022

#085: Wreaths Across America – Executive Director Karen Worcester

Hosted by Fran Racioppi

Freedom isn’t free. This December 17th thousands of volunteers across all 50 states will lay over 2.65 million wreaths on the graves of our fallen soldiers. Remember. Honor. Teach. That’s the mission of Wreaths Across America. It’s a tradition that started in 1992 when Morrill Worcester looked for a meaningful way to distribute a few hundred excess holiday wreaths. Today convoys of wreaths leave northern Maine for a trek across the country to over 3600 cemeteries.  

Wreaths Across America’s Executive Director Karen Worcester joins Fran Racioppi for a conversation on how a 2005 snow covered picture from a forgotten part of Arlington National Cemetery changed their lives. She shares the “stem to stone” process and why our generation must remember our fallen, honor those serving, and most importantly teach our children the value of freedom. 

The Wreaths Across America convoy will make its way from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC this week. Go to wreathsacrossamerica.org to see the route, get involved and meet the convoy along the way. 

Listen to the podcast here


 

Wreaths Across America – Executive Director Karen Worcester

This December 17, 2022, thousands of volunteers across all 50 states will lay over 2.6 million wreaths on the graves of our fallen soldiers. Remember, honor and teach are the mission of Wreaths Across America. It’s a tradition that started in 1992 when Morrill Worcester looked for a meaningful way to distribute a few 100 Excess holiday wreaths. Convoys of wreaths leave Northern Maine for a truck across the country to over 3,600 cemeteries. I’ve been following Wreaths Across America for a few years. For this episode, I asked Wreaths Across America’s Executive Director Karen Worcester to join me for a conversation about December 17, 2022 and how her family has turned her husband’s childhood inspiration into a national movement.

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

Karen and I discussed the growth of Wreaths Across America and how a 2005 snow cover picture from a forgotten part of Arlington National Cemetery changed our lives. She shares the stemness stone process and we talk about why our generation must remember our fallen, honor those serving and most importantly, teach our children the value of freedom. We take a lot for granted in this country but freedom is certainly not free. It never has been and never will be.

The Wreaths Across America convoy will make its way from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. Go to WreathsAcrossAmerica.org to see the ref, get involved and meet the convoy along the way. I know I will. Click any of the links to sponsor a wreath, volunteer or donate to one of their many programs to remember honor and teach the next generation what it means to be free.

Karen, welcome to The Jedburgh Podcast.

Thanks for having me, Fran. I appreciate it.

I’m excited because we have been talking about this episode in 2021. I asked Peter Cancro, the CEO of Jersey Mike’s to come on. He has been instrumental in my organization in the show, supporting us and also in what he has done for Wreaths Across America over the years. We talked all about Wreaths Across America. We launched our short form series jumping in number one with Peter on Wreaths Across America.

I said at that time that when we go into 2022, I was going to want to speak with you to talk about Wreaths Across America and their mission. I tried to get up to Maine but it was way too chaotic with my three kids and my head was in New Hampshire. I couldn’t make it happen. We’re going to make up for it later in 2022, come up, visit you and document this whole thing and video but I much appreciate you sitting down with me here.TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

I appreciate the opportunity. I love to talk about Wreaths Across America. I thank Peter for bringing us together. He’s a great man, has a good character and has helped a lot of people.

Let’s talk about Wreaths Across America. The organization is going to lay hundreds of thousands of wreaths at over 3,400 cemeteries across all 50 states. It all started when Morrill was twelve years old and he visited DC and Arlington National Cemetery. Can you talk about that trip, that inspiration and how it shaped him?

Like most kids at twelve, he wasn’t thinking well into the future and know that.

My daughter tells me every day I don’t know anything and she’s got life figured out.

It’s going to get worse for the record. They did win a trip as a paperboy. He’s always been ambitious. He went and they saw a lot of sites. He got in a little trouble here and there. One of the things he remembered was going to the cemetery and seeing how beautiful it was. It wasn’t like he formed a plan then. Fast Forward many years, it was in 1992. We had always been in Boston Business and did a lot of mail-order Balsam reads for big catalogs and stuff like that for wholesale reasons. We had some leftovers that year about the middle of the season. He’d always been very patriotic.

He thought he’d like to do something meaningful with these leftover rays. He said, “Maybe I could go back to Darlington and place these wreaths on the graves as a thank you and reference your kids.” He took the kids. That’d be such a great experience for them to see what he had seen. We enlisted the help of a couple of local politicians. They made a couple of calls and unbelievably we got permission to take those wreaths to Arlington.

He reached out to a local trucking company for another family, Bluebird Ranch Trucking Company. They put 5,000 wreaths on the truck. Away they went like Jed Clampett here we come from counties, Maine. They got to the cemetery. They were taken to the oldest section. It could be 26 or 27. It’s the Civil War section. They started laying those wreaths. They had 8 or 9 people there to help them and a couple of the kids. What they noticed was fascinating. You couldn’t lay a wreath without reading the name and wondering. In that section, there are civilians and unknowns. It’s a real piece of history. When they got back, they couldn’t stop talking about it.

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

“You couldn’t lay a wreath without reading the name and wondering.”

They were looking people up and trying to piece these people’s lives together. It impacted them. we decided if we could continue, we go every year. Every year after that, we made the wreath special. We take and meet a couple of volunteers. They take all day to place 5,000 wreaths. One section at a time, they did the whole cemetery. Fast forward to 2005, oddly enough, it was the first year that I was able to make the trip. We have six kids. The two younger girls are homeschooled. I was able to take the two girls that year. We were back in the Civil War section. We’ve made the loop. It had snowed that day. It was beautiful.

A pentagon photographer happened to be in the cemetery with something else. He took a picture of the wreaths. It went on their website and then news on their website. Life changed drastically after that. My husband’s not a white-collar guy. He’s a hard-working guy. He has a website and an email that he had never used ever. It was there for business. By January of 2006, he had thousands of emails and calls, “Is this real? Are you doing this? How can we do it? We want to get involved.” People would call us that were deployed and get on the phone with my husband.

I still get emotional. I don’t have to tell you because of your service. If you’ve lost somebody who served with somebody that the fact that they’re being remembered, it matters. We’re listening to these people, “Can you come to our cemetery? Can you do this and that?” As we got toward the end of 2006, we want to do something. We couldn’t send 5,000 wreaths to everybody. We came up with the idea. We do this ceremonial wreath, one for each branch of the military plus one POW-MIA.

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They wanted more. They wanted us to stop on the way. People were telling us, “People are listening to you. You need to talk about this.” The veterans would tell us this. Gold Star families were saying, “We want this message.” The Worcester family didn’t have this major plan. We were doing something that mattered to us. We were using this when merging our children’s lives and reminding us during the holidays why we’re free and what’s important. We were lifted by people who wanted to be involved. By 2007, we did do the 501(c)(3). From that humble beginnings, fifteen years of just the family and then the power of the internet, we are at 3,600 locations and we’re on track to place about 2.65 million wreaths in 2022.

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

“The Worcester family didn’t have this major plan. We were doing something that mattered to us.”

Every location has a volunteer coordinator. They make it personal about their community. It’s their veterans they honor. We all do this together. We do it at the same time, which is crazy. It happened. It’s such a hyperlocal effort. Those volunteers that go out get the sponsorships. They put the programs together. They feed us. We listen to them. We bring a message together and we have our finger on the pulse. We have people all over the country and it amazes me with much discord at the top that down here in the trenches people still love their veterans. They love their country and their neighbors even though they might have some differences. We love Wreaths Across America. It gives us an opportunity to show kids who we are.

Let me ask you about the process because we said that this started with bringing down a couple of 100 wreaths and then 2.65 million. You turn the process stem to stone. What does that look like when you had to go out there? You have to grow the tree, create the wreaths and then there’s the distribution. Talk a little bit about what you’re going through to get these things produced and out there.

Things have evolved to the point that my husband, the founding company, they are the vendor for Wreaths Across America, which is a separate entity but it’s a bid process. It’s separate. I know you’d hoped more he could be here but he’s busy. We hardly see each other because we’re separate entities. I don’t know how many acres he has in production at once. If I had to guess, there are about 20,000. He has a lot more. It’s every third year that the branches are chipped. We don’t cut the tree down. We take the branches. They’re harvested and it’s quite a process.TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

There are 200 workers out in the woods, picking the brush. To do 2.65 million wreaths and you put about 4 pounds into each brush into each wreath then it’s trimmed and that causes waste but that’s how much brush has to be harvested. There are about 600 workers. A lot of them are seasonal but local communities are very much involved in supporting people. They go two shifts and it takes a lot of time because you can’t start until it gets cold enough and the weather’s right to start. It’s crazy.

I cut down my first Christmas tree. I know that’s no comparison but having to go out into the woods and do that with the family, I can’t imagine trying to do an operation of this magnitude.

It’s like anything else. My husband’s wreath business has evolved. He was very instrumental in pushing me through a lot of wreath business. It was almost unheard of before he got involved. He’s very creative. As it is getting bigger, things are getting streamlined. It’s like pizza can’t grow and how it makes its sandwiches. There’s a process. Everything gets easier and better as time goes on. It’s amazing how much people care. For me, what’s equally amazing about the work that we do and what he does in the woods is the fact that 90% of the reason is delivered on volunteer trucks.

The trucking industry is critical to this. They come from all over the country. They make the trip to Maine. The whole community turned into something different. It’s like the North Pole, Santa’s Workshop got nothing on us. We have a truck stop. My husband turns one of his buildings into a truck stop. These drivers command. They have showers. Tyson foods come in and feed these truck drivers for ten days. They do 2,000 meals. These guys have hot showers and places to be. People from the community will bring in cookies and stuff like that. Everybody is working towards this goal.

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

“The North Pole…Santa’s workshop…got nothing on us.”

It’s all about people working together. It’s all about volunteers. Every single location is tasked with somebody stepping up. It’s like anybody that chooses a cause. People might be having a 501(c)(3) for breast cancer because they know somebody who loves somebody that has breast cancer. People who are doing this remember on a teaching mission 9 times out of 10 are somebody who has somebody that served and that they understand the importance.

It’s evolved in so many ways that everybody has an opportunity to serve. Separating Wreaths Across America from Worcester, which is the founding of the company. Wreaths Across America, early on, we made up our minds that we were going to work with other people. We couldn’t have a mission to remember honor and teach and not work with other organizations that were doing the same thing.

Everything from VFW, American Legions, DAI, to Gary Sinise to the smallest group of Girl Scouts who might be trying to raise money for a service dog in a small community, we work with those organizations. For $15 a wreath can be placed at any one of our locations volunteers will do it but $5 goes back to that other participating organization. By the end of 2022, we will give back almost $20 million to those other organizations to take care of living veterans and causes within the community. It’s a good plan of working together for the greater good. The teach mission is incredible and we do the same thing.

I want to ask about this mission here of remembering on our teach because it’s there three pillars that sit behind the organization. You have a quote on the website that is important to read here. It was by Pierre Claeyssens. It says, “To be killed in war is not the worst that can happen. To be lost is not the worst that can happen. To be forgotten is the worst.” You’ve rallied the organization and this entire community that you spoke of that involves many individuals, businesses and major companies that are out there supporting the trucking industry and everybody that you talked about, including the small organizations.

You talked about remembering our fallen US veterans. How do we continue to do that at a time when our military is not going to be at the forefront or the top of the fold? We had this conversation about Veterans Day and we covered the Veterans Day Parade live from the red carpet. It was a big topic of conversation. How do we keep that commitment to remember the fallen as we go into the next what we see as the foreseeable future?

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

“We weren’t just given a gift of freedom. We were entrusted with freedom. We are responsible for freedom.”

I had the opportunity to be a great friend of Roger Donlon, who was the first Medal of Honor recipient for the Vietnam War. He is an amazing man. He got his medal back then. He’s had it for many years. He’s seen why he’s been everywhere. He was very involved with the Medal of Honor Society. He has been a mentor for me. I said, “What is the most important thing Wreaths Across America does?” He didn’t miss a beat. He said, “We need to teach our children to love this country. They’re being bombarded with information that is not teaching kids the value of freedom.”

Freedom isn’t a gift. We weren’t given a gift of freedom. We were entrusted with freedom. We’re responsible for freedom. If we don’t teach the next generation how we do that, those are the stories of these men and women that served and how great they are. Ronald Reagan is another very smart man. We’re one generation away from people letting it slip away. Give up your freedom for your comfort. It’s important so we have to. It’s still not even enough to remember. We can’t just pull out our flags and say, “Remember.” To say thank you for your service is not enough.

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I should say, “Tell me about where you served. You tell me what you learned because what you know is important to what we teach the children.” That’s what we try to bring together here. When you have somebody like Roger Donlon that tells you, “That’s what needs to be done. You take it to heart.” Teaching children not just to remember but why it’s important to remember. It’s critical.

That’s the third component, teach our children the value of freedom. We as this generation of veterans, we can’t forget that. It’s so easy to fall back into our lives and go about our day, not sit down and have conversations about what we learned because telling the story is important but understanding the value of the story and sharing the value of that with this next generation is critical, especially at a time where they’re not going to hear about it every day.

We’re in an interesting position where we’ve seen the largest influx of veterans into Congress since the post-Vietnam era. We’re in a position where we can make a significant impact and show the country what Wreaths Across America is talking about with this third principle of teaching not only our children the value of freedom but remind everybody in the country about the value of freedom. We’re Americans. We have short memories.

We get very focused on a lot of other things, most often whatever is being pushed on our phone to us. That becomes our entire world. We’ve forgotten for many years what this country has gone through and what it sacrificed. Many people are in positions to share this. I would encourage all of them to get out there, share their story, talk about it and get involved with organizations like Wreaths Across America which are making it a core component of their mission.TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

When we were taking wreaths arrays, it made us feel good when it gave us an opportunity to teach our kids but it wasn’t until I started talking to Gold Star mothers and people who heard me speak. It was 2007 the first time that a group of Gold Star mothers went. It was 6 or 7 of a group of Gold Star mothers who went on this convoy with us which convoy now we used to go down and back but because people asked us, we take a whole week. We’ll make more than twenty-odd stops at schools, VFW halls and wherever they want us to stop. They bring the veterans to us. They bring the kids together and we teach but I wasn’t that smart before I got to talking to these people.

I remember that first night. It was late at night. It was the night before we are going to leave on the convoy. My husband’s secretary went to the airport to pick up this group of Gold Star mothers. I talked to a few moms on the phone but I had never met a Gold Star mother in person. I couldn’t kill his secretary because I was supposed to meet him the next day and I’m sitting here in this little makeshift off and it was closet. I’m coming up the stairs and I’m like, “I don’t know how to talk to these people. I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to say the wrong thing.”

They came into the door. They said, “I’m going to throw in my son and my daughter. Do you have children?” We talked. It was wonderful. They shared about their kids and I shared about my kids. We talked about being excited about the trip. I still get emotional about it. What I remember is that they left and I went down the stairs to drive home. I was only a couple of miles from the house. I got in the car and was driving down the road. I had to pull over because it dawned on me. They talked about their kids the same way I did mind blank, go home and call my kids up. What they have is to keep that memory alive. It’s important to them because they don’t want us to think about the children’s or their husband’s death. They want us to think about life. It’s the life that they sacrifice so that we can be fat, dumb and happy. It’s important to them.

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

“It’s life that they sacrificed so that we can be fat, dumb and happy.”

You look at this group of people, these Gold Star families who have buried their children, husbands and loved ones. They love this country with passion. You can’t be around these people, not be affected and not have it change your life. I get excited when I know that on December 17, 2022, 3 million people close to we’ll be out in 3,600 locations. 1/3 of our volunteers are kids that get taken to the cemetery and get to stand in line to get a wreath and maybe meet a Gold Star mother for the first time, maybe has somebody talk about this service or maybe meet somebody who’s lost their limbs in service, then it becomes real and more personal. That’s what has to happen.

They have to know that this person’s history is part of their future and heritage. They have to own it. It’s easier for children when they talk to somebody who has that story to make that connection. You can’t get a history book out and say, “I don’t like Vietnam. I don’t even find it in history.” The history of walks pretty much goes to the highest bidder depending on where you are in the country. It’s not political. It’s real. What’s in these books is not what kids need to know. We don’t talk about the conflict because that happens up here. We talk about what happens in the heart.

These people sign up and go to war because we are good. We teach our kids that they are good and that our country is good. There’s something about the wreath that is simply a catalyst. It brings us together with something tangible. People feel like they’re doing something. It’s not what happens at the very most but it’s what happens at the event that makes us grow as it grows. It’s not about decorating graves. It’s about making connections. We need that in this country.TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

Those are the hardest conversations that I have had. People say well, “Will you talk to this famous person?” What was it like? I say all the time, “Nothing compared to Sara Wilkinson, a Gold Star spouse whom I’ve had a couple of times or the family whose son took his own life and died by suicide. It was my neighbor and my best friends.”

Those conversations are so hard but also important because we grow from them. We share those stories. We honor. You talked about honoring. We honor their lives, service and sacrifice. It does make each one of us remember what we have and what we have to live for, stand up for and not allow to be degraded or forgotten. We owe it as our generation to continue to carry that launcher forward. This blog is going to come out a week before December 17, 2022. What’s going to happen here?

Everybody’s busy. What’s crazy about what we do is that we’ll do all that number of wreaths and about half of all those sponsorships are coming. We have trucks that are waiting to see how many wreaths and waiting to see where they are going to go. We have location coordinators who are doing their last-minute preparation. We have a few rules for the ceremonies. They have to be all-inclusive or not political and stay on track with the mission. Everybody is preparing. We will have Gold Star families and veterans coming from all over the country to join us on the convoy which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

When they come here, there’s a lot to see and do. We’ve been fortunate. Our office is very humble but it’s the school building. It is where my older kids went to grade school. It’s become a museum, noting that the Western family says, “Let’s do this.” It is because people started bringing things to us. It was a lot of Vietnam things here because Vietnam was so difficult. When men came home, they weren’t treated well. They had a lot of issues. It created a different time in our country. Things changed a lot in the aftermath of Vietnam. You fast forward a little bit and families break up. They don’t want to throw Uncle John’s uniform away. They bring us and then we try to put the stories together.

In the halls of this little school, there are hundreds of stories. We have the honor to have Gold Star families bring their loved ones’ uniforms here so that we can tell the story. Within this old school, they’ll come and see all these stories. It is kind of a museum spilled over into what we call history and hospitality home, which is a free bed and breakfast for Gold Star families from anywhere in the country that can come and stay here. Every room in the house, because of these things we’ve been gifted, represents a different area of conflict. You walk back in time. You walk into the bedroom from 1776 and kids can see what people wore.

One of the things that we love when you get up to World War I and forward, kids are fascinated with Sears Roebuck catalogs. Not anymore because everything’s online but the old Sears Roebuck catalog gives you a good look at history. It gives the tour guides an opportunity to talk about that because that’s what matters to kids. What would kids do? We have information on the conflict but that’s not where you’re going to reach kids. Things that first bring them in and then get them interested. We’ve been blessed that our teach curriculum, which can be found at WreathsAcrossAmerica.org but also Teachers Pay Teachers is free but it’s available at Teachers Pay Teachers when you talk about an amazing story.

Cindy Tatum is a Gold Star mother and a retired teacher. She has wrapped her arms around our teach mission. In the same way that we work with other organizations to do sponsorships, we formed an alliance with the Medal of Honor Society, the Eisenhower Foundation, The Random Acts Of Kindness Foundation, Rosie The Riveter Movement and the Vietnam 50th Commemorative. We share their information. We are being downloaded on Teachers Pay Teachers at an incredible rate. It’s not just for private schools. It is homeschooling, private school and public schools that are looking for these materials that are teaching.

I love what you do. I looked down through the characteristics of those inner special ops. We teach with that wreath. My husband wrote a poem for the Gold Star family many years ago explaining. Each wreath has ten bows and balsam. They go on it and he did pretty much the same thing. He said as he makes a wreath he thinks of these ten characteristics. They’re very much in line with your characteristics and ours because they believe in a greater good discipline and sacrifice, things that kids need. They need to be taught. We teach our kids not to be offended. We want our kids to be safe and happy but they have to learn resiliency and responsibility. Freedom comes with responsibility.TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

That’s why we like kids to build the wreath and talk about each component of the wreath. We’re fortunate to have these opportunities to teach. They come from other people. I’m very long-winded but let me tell you about Cindy. Cindy Tatum on Christmas morning her son was in a state in training but he couldn’t be in the country, not in her state. They had talked and he was not going to be able to be home for Christmas. Christmas morning the Tatum family is having a tree and a car pulls up.

They see a uniform get out and they think he’s home. He’d been killed in an accident on Christmas morning. She is the most amazing woman and I want to meet them. They’re involved in this teach piece and the little things that she says make it real. She and I were talking with a group of people about stop moments. She laughed and said, “My son wouldn’t know what to think of me because one of the things that I’ve held on to is his superheroes underwear from when he was a little kid.” Think about the sacrifice. She has thrown herself into serving others. That’s how she is healing.

I love these ten characteristics that you’re putting on these resetting. It’s going to be important that we share that and you all want to share that and compare that to what we talked about. I look at my kids, all three of them every day. Having the experiences that I’ve had, I often think about what would happen if they were called to serve. I had a conversation with Lieutenant General Ken Tovo, who was the chairman of the Green Beret Foundation and he was the Commanding General of the Army Special Operations Command.

Our job is to create an environment where our kids don’t have to go to war. I also said that if they do we want them to make sure that they’re not fighting the same war we did. That’s important as we look at this next generation and our duty to teach as we talked about. I want to ask you, as we close out here, what you’re a caveat at this way, the Jedburghs of World War II. They had to do three things every day to be successful.TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

They had to be able to shoot, move and communicate. If these were their core foundations, their habits that they were highly effective at every day, they could put their focus and attention on more complex challenges that came their way. It’s the busiest time of the year as you prepare for December 17, 2022. What are those three things that you do every day to set the conditions for success in your world?

It might be a little different from what I do as the Executive Director. Were you asking me as the Executive Director in life or the three things that I do every day? We are a non-religious organization. We fully understand that people serve from all faith or no faith. I pray. I’m fortunate to come to work in a place where you’re minded daily. I can get caught up in the work. There’s a lot of hard work. Everybody isn’t nice. Some issues come off and things that you have to deal with. Some days are frustrating and hard. I have the opportunity to walk out in the halls of this whole school and see the uniforms that these Gold Star mothers have left here.

TJP - E85 Karen Worcester, Executive Director, Wreaths Across America

“Patriotism begins at home and spreads to community and spreads to country.”

That is such a stack reminder for me. It always brings you back around. There’s always a priceless story. We will hear so many stories on the convoy. Gratitude for living in a country reminding me of that and for doing the best I can. It’s almost cliché but don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff. We talk about teaching our kids to love the country. It’s so important that we do this now because there’s another 9/11 looming over here. Someday we’re going to have to make a decision. If we think for a minute that there aren’t people out there who wish to do us harm, then we’re being complacent.

Kids are so into their phones. It’s not just us teaching our kids anymore. It’s not even just the teachers. They see so much coming from all around them. What they watch more than anything are their parents. We have to keep our heads on straight and decide what we want them to live in, not just at home. Patriotism begins at home and spreads to the community and the country. I’m so proud of the 3,600 communities out there that are making this happen and bringing these communities together because you will see communities come together.

Patriotism begins at home and spreads to the community and the country. Share on X

They will come together and forget all about the divided politics. In that spirit, we come together and this wreath, which was such a simple thing, whoever thought that it was something as simple as a wreath that they could lay their hands on and take pause. It is a healing thing. People find a way to serve and serve their community, families and country. We will get there because there’s a lot of noise at the top. We connect the dots of all these people that feel like-minded. I’m proud of the organization, not of what my family has done. I’m very proud of my staff but I am so proud of these volunteers all over the country.

We talk about community and Wreaths Across America, what you’ve done and how you’ve built this organization to be so impactful. Not only at this time of year. One of the big differentiators that we look at with Wreaths Across America, Veterans Day and Memorial Day and single days where we pay tribute but the mission is enduring. The mission and the effort are year-round. There’s an incredible amount of people who are involved in this all across the country. It’s one common goal, mission and vision to remember, honor and teach. We have to continue to live up to that and support the efforts of Wreaths Across America and everybody who’s involved.

I’m thankful to have spent some time with you here. I look forward to watching and seeing the convoy as it leaves Maine and it heads down South, makes its way to Arlington and spreads out throughout the entire country as we move. I encourage everybody who wants to get involved to please do so. It’s simple. They got to Wreaths Across America.org. They can sign up there and in any capacity that they want across many different ways to get involved. They can even listen to Wreaths Across America Radio. Thank you so much.

 

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