In April, Wreaths Across America (WAA; Columbia Falls) opened registration for its annual Stem to Stone Race event. Available in both in-person and virtual formats, distances include a 5K, 10K and a Kid’s 1-Mile Fun Run. The in-person event takes place in Columbia Falls July 29. Every race registration includes sponsorship of a veteran’s balsam wreath, which will honor a hero on National Wreaths Across America Day, December 16.
“This is our fifth year holding these races and, to date, we’ve been really happy with the turnout – not only in Maine but across the country,” said Karen Worcester, WAA executive director. “The Stem to Stone Race is a great way to stay active, be healthy, get involved in the community and do something meaningful for people who have done so much for us. We encourage everyone to get involved, either virtually or in person, and help share the mission to remember, honor and teach.”
In other news, WAA recently launched its 2023 Youth Service Project as part of its year-round TEACH program. This project ties into the national nonprofit’s 2023 theme of “Serve and Succeed” and encourages youth of all ages/grade levels to develop, organize and execute a local community service project to improve the lives of veterans or others.
Students who successfully complete their project will receive a certificate of community service award and a commemorative bracelet from WAA. Each participant will also be entered into a random drawing for the opportunity to visit the National Wreaths Across America Museum, Gold Star History and Hospitality House, and the monuments where replica dog tags from thousands of service men and women are hung in remembrance. The service project must be completed by Veterans Day, November 11.
Finally, WAA partners every year with more than 300 transportation companies that donate equipment, fuel, staffing and time to deliver the wreaths placed on the headstones of veterans at more than 3,700 participating cemeteries nationwide. Recently, WAA announced that a “Virtual Convoy” will help expand this reach within the industry through the partnership and support of state trucking associations.
The Virtual Convoy kicked off in 37 U.S. states with the goal to raise awareness of WAA’s mission while helping each participating association raise funds for its own needs. Through the Virtual Convoy, each association will work to fill one “virtual tractor trailer” with sponsored veterans’ wreaths from their state for placement in December (approximately 5,000 wreaths per state). In return, $5 for each $17 sponsorship will be returned to the state trucking association to help its efforts to fund local programs. wreathsacrossamerica.org