Royalston takes on Wreaths across America Mission

  • HONOR GUARD – The Royalston Police Department turned out in full force recently for the placing of a Military Remembrance Wreath at the war memorial on the Royalston Common. A gift from Wreaths Across American through the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, the 36” balsam wreath was presented by Marine JROTC Cadet Alexandra G. Phelps, and accepted by Select at the beginning of their last meeting. Cadet Phelps placed the wreath at the conclusion of a ceremony that drew 50 attendees. Honor guard participants included (l-r) Royalston Police Department Chief Curtis A. Deveneau; Sergeant Wayne Gelinas; Patrol Officers Alexa Morgan and Paul Pothier; Cadet Phelps, Royalston Patrol Officer and D.A.R.E. Instructor Sherry A. Miner, Special/Reserve Officer John Coflesky; Patrol Sergeant Roland G. Hamel; and Patrol Officer Josh LaMarche —Mary C. Barclay

  • PROUD PARENTS - Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School Marine JROTC Cadet Alexandra G. Phelps of Royalston, recently accepted a wreath from Wreaths across America, for placement in Royalston. Cadet Phelps, before a crowd of about 50, explained how Royalston came to be in possession of the wreath, and at the conclusion of a ten-minute ceremony, placed it on the war memorial on Royalston Common. Cadet Phelps’ proud parents Elizabeth Newton and John Phelps, were both in attendance. —Submitted

  • PROUD GRANDPARENTS – Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School Marine JROTC Cadet Alexandra G. Phelps of Royalston, recently accepted a wreath from Wreaths across America, for placement in Royalston. Cadet Phelps, before a crowd of about 50, explained how Royalston came to be in possession of the wreath, and at the conclusion of a ten-minute ceremony, placed it on the war memorial on Royalston Common. She is flanked by her proud grandparents, Keith and Deborah Newton.  —Submitteed

Published: 12/24/2018 8:49:19 AM
Community takes on Wreaths across America Mission

By MARY C. BARCLAY

For the Athol Daily News

ROYALSTON – The past Tuesday, on what was anticipated to be the coldest day for the remainder of the year, a group of about 50 residents gathered to witness the placement of a Military Remembrance wreath, to remember and honor veterans and their families during the holiday season. The wreath was gifted to Royalston, through Montachusett Regional Vocational-Technical High School, by Wreaths across America.

Due to the brutal cold, the order of events was changed up so the majority of the ten-minute program took place in the Royalston Town Hall. Ryan Hood of Royalston, and Al Brogdon of Fitzwilliam provided background patriotic music on keyboard and coronet, respectively, as people assembled for the opening of the Select Boards meeting. Chair Chris Long opened the meeting promptly at 7 p.m.

Monty Tech Marine Junior Reserve Officer Training Cadet Alexandra G. Phelps explained to attendees that a Wreaths across America convoy, on the way to Arlington National Cemetery, made a stop at her school, giving wreaths to each of the 18 communities in the District. She then presented the wreath to the Select Board, who accepted the gift on behalf of the Town of Royalston, with thanks to all attending, and especially to those who have served in the military.

Brogdon, who served in the United States Army Security Agency in the 1950s and 60s, and Hood provided accompaniment as the dining room now filled with people, sang the National Anthem. Accompanied by eight members of the Royalston Police Department, who served as an honor guard, Cadet Phelps made her way to the war memorial on the common, and placed the wreath.

Brogdon, first learned to play the coronet in 1943 and has played Taps countless times in the years following. He stated he was honored to participate in events honoring veterans. He continued, explaining his coronet, which had been restored to near-original glory, has special significance, having been used by his father, who played Taps “hundreds of times during his lifetime.”

Wreaths across American had its beginnings in 1992, when Harrington, Maine wreath-maker Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, made too many wreaths.  Remembering a childhood trip to Arlington National Cemetery, he decided to donate them to decorate older graves that didn’t have many visitors.

Word spread quickly. Truckers volunteered to drive the wreaths, and volunteers promised to place the wreaths.  Mr. Worcester was so moved, he continued his donation every year, rather quietly, until 2005, when a picture of the decorated graves – all of those brilliant green wreaths with bright red ribbons against the stark white snow and headstones – went viral.

As a result of that image, Wreaths across America was formed in 2007, and now receives thousands of donations and offers of help each year, from all across the country. The annual convoy from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery is now recognized as the “world’s largest veteran’s parade.”

Stops along the way, like the one at Monty Tech last week, help Wreaths across America accomplish their mission to, “Remember.  Honor. Teach.” The Town of Royalston continued that mission by dedicating the opening of the Select Board meeting to receiving and placing the wreath. For more information, go to www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

 

 

 


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