The nonprofit, Wreaths Across America, emerged from the generosity of the owner of the Worcester Wreath Company, Morrill Worcester. When the company found themselves with an excess of wreaths near the end of the holiday season in 1992, Worcester realized he had an opportunity to honor our country’s veterans by placing the spare wreaths at the Arlington National Cemetery. The annual tribute went on silently funded by the Worcester Wreath Company until 2005, when a photo of the snow-covered graves at Arlington, circulated the internet. The project attracted thousands of requests from people across the country wanting to help honor our nations heroes.
The Worcester family, veterans, and other civic organizations formed Wreaths Across America in 2007 to remember and honor our fallen soldiers and teach the future generations of the ultimate sacrifice made for their country. WAA now coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 1,600 locations all over the United States, as well as at sea and abroad each December 15th on National Wreaths Across America Day. WAA honors our fallen veterans throughout the year with the Remembrance Tree Program that gives families a living memorial of their loved one at the WAA Museum in Maine. The mission of WAA has touched the lives of thousands of school, scout, civic, and religious groups across the country. Through fundraising, these groups help ensure that the goal of placing a wreath on each hero’s grave is possible. In return, WAA distributes fundraising dollars to the groups to assist in furthering their own goals and projects.
Ruthie’s selected WAA for the RSK of November after hearing that there would not be enough wreaths for the graves of the DFW National Cemetery. There are over 41,000 plus grave sites and roughly 22,500 of those graves were given a wreath during December of 2018. Becca Maddux started working with WAA in August of 2012 after she laid her father to rest at DFW National Cemetery. That December, they only laid about 3,000 wreaths for the 30,000 plus gravesites that were currently at the cemetery. “It was very upsetting to see so many gravesites bare and that were going without a holiday wreath,” Becca mentions. After that December, Becca and her husband decided they would start up a charity support group, DFW Wreaths for Heroes, so that one day they could cover every grave. Becca believes, “that the most important thing WAA and all [of their] volunteers share with the community is to REMEMBER the fallen, HONOR those that serve and their families, and TEACH the next generation about the value of freedom.” The wreaths that WAA lay every December are not purchased by the government. “These wreaths are one-hundred percent sponsored and bought with donations from individuals, companies, scout troops, churches, veteran groups, to name a few,” explains Becca. Ruthie’s collected $800 during November for WAA, sponsoring fifty-three wreaths for our fallen heroes. WAA and their mission were highlighted on the Ruthie’s food trucks and social media, during November. Becca conveys that, “without the support of companies like yours [Ruthie’s] we cannot do what we do every year for these fallen heroes and their families. For everyone that donates, we appreciate you and your support!”
Visit the DFW Wreaths for Heroes website for more information and to donate a wreath today for December 2019.