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GNBVT Students Honor Veterans with Wreaths Across America

Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech’s Metal Fabrication and Joining and Visual Design departments spread holiday cheer in a unique way this season by partnering with Wreaths across America. Wreaths across America is a national organization that is dedicated to honoring veterans who have passed during the holiday season. The organization hangs wreaths on veterans’ gravestones to honor and remember their service. Under the supervision of Paul Mendez and Keith Francis, the two programs collaborated to make 50 stands to hang the wreaths. The stands were crafted to hold both the American flag and the flag of the veteran’s branch of service.

Wreaths across America is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1992 by Merrill Worcester when his company had a surplus of wreaths. Instead of letting them go to waste, he wanted them to be placed on gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery as a way to show appreciation for veterans at such a special time of year. Over the years, this tradition grew and is recognized nationally with wreaths being placed in over 300 locations on every second Saturday in December. The mission of this organization is to remember, honor and teach. On the annual trip from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery, representatives stop at schools along the way to educate young students and the importance of honoring those who have served our nation.

In 2008, Patrick Robitaille, a local retired Marine became involved with Wreaths across America when he saw a brochure promoting the annual ceremony. Inspired by the cause, he made a donation and through the years became more involved. His chapter started placing wreaths at Bourne Cemetery and this year has expanded to Sacred Heart Cemetery and the Fort Taber Monuments. “It’s just very satisfying, I can’t explain it. I don’t do it alone either. I have so many people that help me out” Patrick said. “It is a great opportunity to teach younger generations how to honor the people who have served, especially at this time of year.”

To learn more about Wreaths across America visit: http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/#join-us