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Wreaths Across America announces annual Escort of Wreaths, Virtual Convoy Dec. 19

COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine — Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992.

The organization’s mission — Remember, Honor, Teach — is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

Another highly anticipated piece of this annual event is the weeklong, miles-long parade of tractor trailers, wrapped vehicles carrying veterans and Gold Star Families, law enforcement and motorcycle riders, leading the escort of wreaths to Arlington for placement.

This year’s annual escort of wreaths will have a different look and feel due to the necessary changes being made throughout the country for health and safety.

The physical journey — which will include one tractor trailer load of wreaths hauled by Gully Transportation professional driver JD Walker, who is also a Gold Star Father and Navy veteran, 11 wrapped Chevy vehicles carrying Gold Star Families, and nine police cruisers — will take place from Tuesday through National Wreaths Across America Day, Dec. 19.

“For those who have had the opportunity to participate in the escort of wreaths over the years, it is truly an experience of a lifetime,” said Karen Worcester, executive director, WAA. “The way we have been welcomed into communities, over the years, with flags waving and streets lined with children and veterans, is something we always wished every American could witness. And now, thanks to PenFed’s support, we’ll be able to offer this incredible journey to all those who wish to participate. We are both grateful and excited to safely share the mission with all who want to participate.”

In partnership with PenFed Credit Union’s digital media content team, PenFed Digital, this year’s escort will also be shared virtually for the nation to join along from the safety of their own homes. PenFed Digital and WAA are overcoming pandemic-related challenges to ensure fallen heroes are honored safely.

During the escort and leading up to its departure, viewers can follow along, learning about the mission and hearing stories from the people it impacts on Wreaths Across America’s Facebook and PenFed’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn pages.

From the professional truck drivers hauling this precious cargo to the hard-working, dedicated volunteers receiving them on the other side of the country, we are going to share their journeys too.

“We are proud to partner with Wreaths Across America to tell the stories of our nation’s veterans — the men and women who served to protect our freedoms,” said James Schenck, CEO of PenFed Credit Union and PenFed Foundation.

“It’s even more important that we continue to support the military community and give back during these uncertain times. This year is going to be especially memorable with both in-person events and the sharing of many incredible stories via social media with those at home. Everyone needs patriotism this holiday season and PenFed is proud to support Wreaths Across America’s mission to remember, honor and teach.”

The WAA escort will depart from Columbia, Maine at 9 a.m. Tuesday and travel through Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and ending in Washington, D.C. A virtual event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday on the Wreaths Across America Official Facebook Page.

For more information or to sponsor a wreath for $15, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. You can text WREATH to 20222 to sponsor a wreath for Arlington National Cemetery right from your phone.

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