VFW auxiliary supports Wreaths Across America

Alice Robinson, assistant chairwoman for the Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 holds up two pages of veteran’s wreaths [decorated by Spruce Mountain Elementary School students] on November 8 while the election took place at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Robinson is a resident of the city and has chosen Wreaths Across America as his project during his tenure as chairman. He has provided the school in Jay with 30 copies of coloring pages but 191 colored wreaths each with a text of thanks have been collected. Pam Harnden / Livermore Falls Advertiser

Jay – Alice Robinson, Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 auxiliary chairman has chosen Wreaths across America as his project, with some things have been done.

Robinson provided Spruce Mountain Elementary School 30 copies of the veteran’s wreath students can color and write a thank you note for the veteran on. In an interview on November 8, Robinson said he collected 191 completed pages. That Thursday Robinson plans to take the glass to Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta to give to veterans there.

The veteran wreath used in the Wreaths 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 teachers and the Livermore Falls Advertiser, 10 balsam bouquets make up each veteran’s wreath to represent 10 special qualities veterans embody:

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• their belief in the 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 do not always come true, but leave them with no regrets

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

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

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Worcester continues to donate wreaths every year for the cemetery. In 2005, a photo of a wreath-adorned headstone blanketed in snow circulated on the internet, bringing the project to national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from those trying to continue the project in their state.

In 2006 Patriot Guard Riders volunteered to accompany the wreaths going to Arlington and the annual Veterans Honor Parade that travels up the east coast every December began. In 2007 the Worcester family and others formed Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “Remember. Honor. Teach.”

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

Robinson said the charity has raised $491 – from AMVETS, Otis Federal Credit Union, the VFW, and others – which will buy 48 wreaths. “Of that, 24 will go to Arlington National Cemetery and 24 will go to our local cemeteries where there are 670 veteran graves.”

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One wreath can be purchased for $15 while two cost $30 and one is provided for free, Robinson noted. “We hope to have more money to buy more essays next year,” he said.

Robinson’s husband, son and grandson all served in the military. “I’m proud to be in aid and work to support veterans,” he added.

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