Wreaths Across America: Ceremony makes its way to Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

Wreaths Across America: Ceremony makes its way to Moffat County

Wreaths lay in front of headstones at Arlington National Cemetary in this iconic 2005 photo. (Courtesy Photo / Master Sgt. Jim Varhegyi)

Moffat County is set to join in on a nationwide tradition on Saturday at the Craig (Fairview) Cemetery.

Wreaths Across America, founded by Morrill Worchester, the owner of Worcester Wreath Company, will take place Saturday, Dec. 14 at the cemetery, starting at 10 a.m. with Frank Sadvar of the local Elks chapter leading the way.

“The Colorado Elks got involved and brought it up at one of the quarterly meetings though the Veterans Affairs representative,” Sadvar said. “My daughter, who worked for VA for 25-plus years, grabbed it by horns and ran with it.”

When Worcester was a 12-year-old paper boy for the Bangor Daily News in Harrington, Maine, when he won a trip to Washington D.C. His first trip to our nation’s capital was one he would never forget, and Arlington National Cemetery made an especially indelible impression on him. That experience followed him throughout his life and successful career, reminding him that his good fortune was due, in large part, to the values of this nation and the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Due to that experience as a young boy, years later as the owner and operator of Worcester Wreath, Worcester found the company with a surplus of wreaths nearing the end of the holiday season in 1992.

Remembering his boyhood experience at Arlington, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor the country’s veterans. With the aid of then-Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in one of the older sections of the cemetery that had been receiving fewer visitors with each passing year.

As plans were underway that year, a number of other individuals and organizations stepped up to help. A local trucking company in Maine generously provided transportation all the way to Virginia. Volunteers from the Maine American Legion and VFW Posts gathered with members of the community to decorate each wreath with traditional red, hand-tied bows. Members of the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. helped to organize the wreath-laying, which included a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Worcester’s annual tribute went on quietly for several years, until 2005, when a photo of the stones at Arlington, adorned with wreaths and covered in snow, circulated around the internet. Suddenly, the project received national attention. Thousands of requests poured in from all over the country from people wanting to help with Arlington, to emulate the Arlington project at their National and State cemeteries, or to simply share their stories and thank Morrill Worcester for honoring our nation’s heroes.
Now, it’s gaining traction right here in Craig.

“We want it to be as big as we can,” Sadvar said. “We want it to be a money-maker for the Elks, and want to show support to the vets.”

The company will send seven wreaths to Craig; one representing POWs, and the other six representing each branch of service in the United States Military.

The Worcester Wreaths company sells the wreaths to the Craig Elks club for $15, and then donates $5 back to the club.

Those interested in purchasing wreaths for their loved ones can order one at wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Wreaths Across America also conducts several programs to honor our veterans, including the popular “Thanks a Million” campaign, which distributes cards to people all over the country to give veterans a simple “thank you” for their service. WAA participates in veterans’ events throughout the year outside of the wreath ceremony.

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