VFW auxiliary supports Wreaths Across America

Alice Robinson, assistant director for the Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 hosts two veterans pages [decorated by Spruce Mountain Elementary School students] on Nov. 8 when voting took place at Spruce Mountain Primary School in Livermore. Robinson is a resident of that city and has chosen Wreaths Across America as his project as director. He gave the school in Jay with 30 copies of coloring pages but 191 colored wreaths each with written thanks. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Alice Robinson, Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335 assistant president has chosen Wreaths Across America as her mission, along with many that have already been done.

Robinson provided Spruce Mountain Elementary School with 30 copies of a veteran’s wreath students could color and write thank you notes to veterans. In an interview on November 8, Robinson said that he had written 191 pages of work. On Thursday, Robinson planned to take the pages to the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta to give to veterans there.

The veteran’s 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, the 10 balsam bouquets that make up each veteran’s wreath represent 10 special qualities veterans embody:

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• Their belief in the better

• They love each other

• Their strength, work ethic, and character

• Their honesty and integrity

• They are humble, selfless and modest

• Their ambitions and aspirations

• Their hopes for America

• They worry about the future

• They are satisfied with their work

• Their hopes and dreams are not always true, but they have no regrets

The evergreens in the wreath represent longevity and endurance, the red bow big scissors, the forest scent purity and simplicity, and the eternal circle.

Wreaths Across America was founded by Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington. In 1992 his company had more than wreaths. Remembering a trip he took to Arlington National Cemetery as a boy, with the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe arranged to lay wreaths in an old part of the cemetery where visitors had dwindled.

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Worcester continues to donate wreaths each year to the cemetery. In 2005 a photo of the wreath-adorned gravestones covered in snow on the Internet, brought the project to the country. Thousands of requests poured in from people seeking to continue the project in their state.

The 2006 Patriot Guard Riders volunteered to carry the wreaths to Arlington and the annual Veterans Honor Parade that travels up the East Coast every December. In 2007 the Worcester family and others founded Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization with a mission to “Remember. Honor. Teach.”

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

Robinson said the organization has collected $491 — from AMVETS, Otis Federal Credit Union, the VFW, and others — which will buy 48 wreaths. “Of these, 24 will go to Arlington National Cemetery and 24 will go to our local cemeteries that have 670 veterans’ graves.”

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One wreath can be purchased for $15 while two cost $30 with the rest being free, Robinson noted. “We hope to raise more money to buy more wreaths next year,” he said.

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

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