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Wreaths Across America is delivering ‘truckloads of respect’

Each holiday season, Wreaths Across America honors our nation’s fallen heroes by placing Remembrance Wreaths on veterans’ graves all over the country. WAA’s “Honor Fleet” of over 300 volunteer drivers and trucks deliver wreaths across the United States, with 172 trucking companies delivering 359-plus loads of wreaths in 2016.

“In 1992, Morrill Worcester [owner at Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, ME] had a surplus of 5,000 wreaths that were unsold, so he contacted Arlington National Cemetery and got permission to bring those wreaths to ANC and place them on graves, with the help of his family and friends,” Amber Caron, WAA’s national spokesperson told The Produce News.

WAA-BLOCK-SET-2Wreaths Across America is offering a gift opportunity for its youngest supporters — a limited edition, 344-piece Wreath Carrying Truck building block set. “After that, Morrill decided that he would never not bring the gift of those wreaths to Arlington. So, for more than 14 years Morrill and his family picked a different section of the cemetery each year as a way to say thank you for the soldiers’ service to the country.”

In 2005, a photo taken by an Air Force photographer of the snow-covered Arlington headstones decorated with wreaths received national attention. Thousands of requests from people all over the country wanting to help at ANC or to set up their own local tributes were received. So in 2007, the nonprofit 501-(c)(3) WAA organization was established, in order to expand the effort and support other groups who wanted to do the same thing.

“This year we will have about 1,300 participating locations across the country,” said Caron. “Last year we did 1.3 million wreaths nationwide and this year we are anticipating 1.6 million wreaths.”

Also this year, WAA is offering a gift opportunity for its youngest supporters, paired with a veteran’s wreath — a limited edition, 344-piece Wreath Carrying Truck building block set for $59.99, plus shipping.

“The trucking community in this country has really taken this organization to a whole new level because of their commitment, providing kind donations, equipment, and drivers to move wreaths from Maine to all over the country,” Caron said. “This building block set came out of the idea that the trucking community is so deeply involved — we call it ‘truckloads of respect.’ Theses wreaths are being hauled because we have men and women who step forward every year to do it for us as volunteers. Our mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach, and the teach piece is really at the heart of it because it’s important for children to understand the future of our country and the cost of freedom. Having the LEGO-compatible blocks are like tools for children to use to learn about the WAA story and to understand why it is important to give and to thank our veterans. So we are hoping it will be a teaching tool for children and families and a way to thank the trucking community.”

Each purchase of a building block set also places a wreath at a cemetery, which provides an additional teaching tool to remember our fallen U.S veterans, honor those who serve, and teach your children the value of freedom.

National Wreaths Across America Day is scheduled for Dec. 16, and coordinated wreath-laying ceremonies will take place at Arlington as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad. Volunteers are encouraged to place a wreath on a veteran’s grave, to say that veteran’s name aloud, and to take a moment and thank them for their service to our country.

“We are not here to ‘decorate graves,’” said WAA executive director Karen Worcester in a statement. “We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives.”

For more information, go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.