COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine and BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 24, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wreaths Across America today announced that its Executive Director Karen Worcester and Founder Morrill Worcester were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Patriot Award, the highest award the Society can bestow to an individual. The Patriot Award honors individuals who have exhibited dedication to and passion for the American ideals of freedom and democracy through their lives, words and actions. The Worcesters were presented with the award at the Salute to the Medal of Honor Gala sponsored by Walmart in Bentonville, Ark., on Friday evening, April 20, 2018.
"The Worcesters are incredible people and very deserving of our Patriot Award," said Medal of Honor Recipient Bob Patterson, vice president, Congressional Medal of Honor Society. "What they do each and every year with Wreaths Across America truly honors our Veterans and their families. Our entire Nation should be grateful to them for their steadfast efforts for our Veterans, who are gone but never forgotten."
It was December 1992 in Harrington, Maine, when wreath maker Morrill Worcester found himself with a surplus of 5,000 wreaths during the holiday season. Worcester saw the surplus as an opportunity to pay tribute to our country's veterans and with the help of Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, arranged for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery. This annual tribute to our country's veterans has continued ever since, touching the lives of millions of veterans' families and volunteers and growing in scope through the years.
"As a nation, we owe our veterans so much. Their sacrifices have made it possible for this great country to be free and that should never be forgotten," said Morrill Worcester, founder, Wreaths Across America. "Millions of volunteers have made Wreaths Across America what it is today, and Karen and I are honored to accept the Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Patriot Award on their behalf."
In 2007, the Worcester family along with veterans and volunteers formed the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America to continue and expand their efforts at Arlington National Cemetery and to support those around the country who wished to do the same. Morrill's wife, Karen, has served as the organization's volunteer Executive Director since the non-profit was created and today oversees what has become a massive volunteer organization that continues to grow. In 2017 alone, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 1.5 million veterans' wreaths at 1,433 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
"Wreaths Across America brings together people from all walks of life, uniting them in the common mission to remember the fallen, honor those that serve, and teach the next generation about the true cost of freedom," said Karen Worcester, executive director, Wreaths Across America. "Wreaths Across America has become a beacon of hope and connection for many in a world that can sometimes seem filled with strife. Morrill and I are humbled to be a small part of this and are beyond moved to be recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society who represents the best of the best in this country."
This year, National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. It is a free event and open to all people. For more information or to find a participating location near you, please visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
About Wreaths Across America 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.