Trish Gardner, location coordinator for Wreaths Across America addressed members of the Kiwanis Club of Clermont. She talked about National Wreath Across America Day on December 14, 2019 in which the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out not only at Arlington National Cemetery but at other locations in the United States and other countries.
This event was started in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery by businessman Morrill Worcester and has expanded to hundreds of veteran’s cemeteries in 50 states and beyond. At that time the mission was to lay a wreath on every fallen veteran’s headstone. Volunteers placed 5000 Remembrance Wreaths on headstones for fallen veterans to honor them. There were more than 1640 cemeteries in which veterans were honored in 2018.
Trish got involved with this project in 2013 when she travelled to Bushnell. In 2016 Trish and a group of volunteers started honoring veterans locally since there are more than 1000 veterans buried in the following cemeteries: Montverde has 73; Minneola has 76; Astatula has 85; Ferndale has 35 and Oakhill, the Clermont Cemetery has 426. It is believed that there are over 42 million veterans buried throughout the world.
In 2017 volunteers placed 352 wreaths and in 2018 they placed 750 wreaths. These wreaths are made with 10 pieces, each piece representing the ten qualities of our service men and women. These are as follows: Faith, Love, Strength, Honesty, Humble, Ambitious, Optimism, Concern, Pride and Hopes and Dreams. The preparations of these wreaths usually start after Thanksgiving and are prepared by many volunteers.
President Del Brandt thanked Trish for her dedication to a great cause and presented her with a club pin in appreciation for all she does.