U.S. Army Honors Husband/Wife – Donors of 15,000 Maine Wreaths – Before Placement at Arlington National Cemetery
Morrill and Karen Worcester of Harrington, Maine, donors and organizers of 15,000 Maine balsam fir holiday wreaths that were placed on headstones of service men and women buried at Arlington National Cemetery, were honored this past Saturday on behalf of the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff with U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute commendations for their 18th consecutive year of providing and placing thousands of holiday wreaths originating from their farm.
Wayne Hanson, former President and member of the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C. and organizer of “Wreaths Across America: Arlington,” was also honored for his long standing dedication to honor America’s fallen heroes at Arlington.
“The Worcesters’ and Wayne Hanson’s efforts are truly appreciated. The effort that goes into this project exemplifies patriotism and honor and we are proud to recognize their efforts with U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute commendations,” explained Colonel David Griffith, Pentagon official and Director of U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute.
Before blanketing selected sections with wreaths, the Worcesters and Hanson were officially pinned with U.S. Army supporter lapel pins and presented with U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute commendations under historic McClellan Arch in front of approximately 5,000 volunteers from Maine Civil Air Patrol units, local VFW and American Legion Posts, military units, congressional staffers, school children, scout troops, and volunteers from all corners of the United States.
“As a Vietnam Vet, it is nice to be recognized in this manner by the Army,” explained Mr. Hanson. “It is a privilege to honor our fallen heroes and have so many volunteers to help us do so.”
The wreaths, each emblazed with a bright red ribbon, were made by expert Maine wreath makers and Maine Veteran volunteers days before being loaded into trucks donated by Wal-Mart, Hartt Transportation, and Pottles Transportation of Bangor, Maine. The trucks were escorted on their trip from Maine to Arlington by members of the Patriot Guard Riders - a nationwide group of veteran bikers and troopers from the Maine State Police.
U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute was established in 2005 by the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff to give the public the opportunity to thank all U.S. Army Veterans for their service by recognizing them with official Army commendations. The program also honors and recognizes the parents, spouses, employers, and supporters of Active Duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard Soldiers. Commendations consist of a personalized letter and certificate signed by the Honorable John McHugh, Secretary of the Army, and General George W. Casey Jr., Army Chief of Staff. Honorees also receive an official Army lapel pin and The Salute, a yearly newsletter containing information on military history and today’s Army. U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute has honored more than 2.3 million Army Veterans, spouses, parents, supporters, and employers. Please visit www.FreedomTeamSalute.com for more information and to honor an individual or group.
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