Board of Directors
Please note anyone wishing to read about the difference between Wreaths Across America, the national non-profit organization, and Worcester Wreath Company can read more here.
Karen Worcester, Executive Director
Immediately upon the creation of Wreaths Across America™ (501-C3 status – EIN 20-8362270) in 2007, Karen Dow Worcester was chosen for the position of Executive Director by the Board of Directors. With over 35 years of experience in the administrative stewardship of the various Worcester family enterprises, Karen is well known as a passionate champion and spokesperson. As a co-founder of Wreaths Across America, Karen tenaciously works on ways the organization can best Remember the fallen; Honor those who serve, and Teach our children that our freedoms are purchased at a great cost.
Equally passionate about her family, Karen is a mother to six children and nine grandchildren. Her favorite hobby is participating in and preparing for equestrian events and tending to the family farm.
Wayne Hanson, Chairman
Born in Concord, NH but moved to Maine in the third grade, so Maine is home. Graduated from Bangor HS and received a BS in Education at the University of Maine Orono. After 7 years of ROTC during high school and college received 2nd Lt Commission in the US Army, Military Police Corps. He served in the Army from 1967-1971 with assignments in Alaska, Vietnam, and Alabama. Rose to the rank of Captain before leaving service. Received two Bronze Stars for service and achievement in Viet Nam.
After military duty was a criminal investigator with the Office of Inspector General, US Dept. of Agriculture in GA, NC, NY, and DC, he was transferred after 10 years to be a criminal investigator in DC with the US Dept. of Labor, where he spent 20 years until mandatory retirement in 2002. He began working with WAA through his involvement in the Maine State Society. He is married and has two grown children.
Michael Edgecomb, Vice Chairman
Biographical information is coming soon.
David “Mel” Russen, Jr., Treasurer
David Russen earned the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, 6th ACR at Fort Meade, MD, during his service from 1968-1970. Afterward, he attended Monmouth University, earning a Masters of Arts Business Administration in 1982. Mr. Russen was the Toms River Board of Education Assistant Board Secretary for Accounting from 1970 to 1986 and is now the President and CEO of Mar-Jel Remodeling Inc
Mr. Russen volunteers with the following organizations: Durand Masonic Lodge No 179; Point Pleasant, NJ Current Senior Warden. Point Pleasant Garden Club Point Pleasant, NJ. President 2009 to Present. Master Gardeners of Ocean County, Toms River, NJ. Class of 2003 to present; Class Mentor and Member of Speakers Bureau. Wreaths Across America Columbia Falls, Maine Location Leader. 17th Masonic District Association; Secretary/Treasurer 2010 to Present.
Renee Saunders Worcester, Secretary
Renee graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1999, attended the University of Maine at Farmington and Eastern Maine Technical College, and has an Associate's Degree in Medical Transcription. Previously employed at Down East Community Hospital and Arnold Memorial Medical Center, she is currently employed as the shipping manager at Worcester Wreath Company. A former high school soccer coach, she is married and has two children.
Debbie Ruane Sparks
Debbie is a passionate, dedicated executive with twenty years of marketing and operational leadership. She currently serves as the Vice President, Women In Trucking Association, Inc., a nonprofit established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women in the industry.
Although she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising and public relations from Loyola College, Debbie kicked off her career in sales, ranking top 2 percent of the company sales representatives nationwide in one of her first sales roles. Over the years, she accumulated expertise from various positions and industries through her roles as director of marketing for IVC International, vice president and director of operations for C.G. Slogans Auctioneers, and product manager for Kinkos.
Debbie has been involved in the transportation industry for nearly two decades. She previously served as director of transportation and community outreach at Wreaths Across America. She served as vice president, business development at the Truckload Carriers Association, and director of marketing for American Trucking Associations.
Lorna is the mother of Spc. Dustin James Harris who was killed in action on April 6, 2006, while serving our Country in Iraq. She is the President of the Maine Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. Lorna resides in Patten, Maine, with her husband, professional truck driver Scott Harris.
Randy has been involved with Wreaths Across America since 2006 as the volunteer Location Coordinator for Florida National Cemetery. Randy was born and raised in Omaha, NE. He entered the military in 1980. Throughout Randy's 23-year career, he was a helicopter repairman, Infantryman, and Imagery analyst. Randy retired with over 23 yrs of honorable service in 2003, where he began work with the Department of Defense with the National Geospatial Agency as an Imagery Analyst.
Randy is currently providing his imagery analysis and management skills at USCENTCOM MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL. He manages over 150 military and civilian personnel who provide imagery analysis on countries in the Middle East. Randy is a member of the US Military Vets Motorcycle Club, a veteran-only motorcycle club with chapters throughout the U.S., whose membership is open to honorably discharged veterans. The club participates in numerous veteran charity events. Currently, over 25 chapters within the club participate in some capacity at Wreaths Across America events across the U.S. Randy is also a member of AMVETS and the American Legion. He is a graduate of the University of Phoenix with a bachelor's in Business Management.
Pamela W. Slaven-Lee, DNP, FNP-C
Dr. Slaven-Lee received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Maine before earning a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. There she studied the impact of operational deployment on military families. In addition to her clinical work, she served as an Assistant Professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. She currently serves as the Interim Dean, George Washington University School of Nursing. She resides in Virginia with her husband, Lt. Col. Ho Kyu Lee, United States Marine Corps, and their two young sons.
Sarah J. Worcester
Sarah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (cum laude) from Husson College. And is currently working on a Master's degree of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. She formerly owned and ran her own lobster fishing boat and is currently lobster fishing part-time. She is happily married with two children. She volunteers at the Women’s Health Resource Library in Milbridge, Maine.
Senior Director of Logistics, Walmart Stores, Inc. Bentonville, Arkansas, Pat had almost ten years of active federal service in the US Army 1990-1999, 2 years in the South Carolina National Guard 2000-2001, serving in the Armor, Infantry, and Logistics Branches. He graduated Cum Laude in 1990 from Kent State University, Kent, OH, and received the Distinguished Military Graduate George C. Marshall Leadership Award. He was Commander of ROTC Battalion, Captain-Ranger Challenge Team. He serves as Senior Director of Logistics for Walmart Stores, Inc., and is married with two children.
Col. Daniel M. Leclair
Colonel Dan Leclair is the Commander of the Northeast Region Civil Air Patrol (CAP) with its Headquarters at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts. Enlisting in 1972, the Colonel has served in numerous capacities during his time in both the active-duty U. S. Air Force and as a volunteer in the Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. One of his assignments was to the White House in Washington DC with the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) as a watch officer in the White House Presidential Communications Center. His duties consisted of providing the President of the United States with direct command and control of both conventional and nuclear U.S. military forces. After four years at the White House, he was promoted as the Chief of Technical Security. He provided the President and traveled the White House with technical security services for over 10 years. He has toured with three Presidents on over 500 Presidential Missions in this capacity.
He retired from the United States Air Force in 1992 and returned to Maine in 2000. After returning to Maine, Col. Leclair joined the Civil Air Patrol and served in the 77th Composite Squadron as the Deputy Commander and later as the Squadron Commander. He manages national programs for the Civil Air Patrol and served as the Director of the National Flight Academy and as a project officer for Wreaths Across America. Col Leclair is President and a principal in his consulting firm with offices in New England and married Pamela (Rowe) Leclair for 39 years. They currently live in Minot, Maine, with their two dogs.
Kevin has dedicated his life to serving others as a police officer with the City of Portland for the last 20 years and as an athletic coach for the Cheverus Swimming & Diving Team for the past 30 years.
Within the Portland Police Department, he has served as a Field Training Officer (F.T.O.) for new recruits, a hostage negotiator, a member of the Police Department’s Honor Guard, and as a member for the Department’s Peer Support team. He learned about Wreaths Across America about 14 years ago. Since learning about it, he has have taken numerous Portland Police Officers, Portland Firefighters and other Maine Law Enforcement agencies to Arlington to volunteer to lay the wreaths. Each year he has also been able to bring the Cheverus Swimming/Diving team and other members of the Cheverus community and are able to teach them at Arlington about the ultimate sacrifice.
Kevin and his wife Miriam have two children, Emily and William, and reside in Portland, Maine. He had two brothers in the United States Air Force: William Patrick Haley E-9 MSGT (deceased, buried at Arlington National Cemetery) and Patrick James Haley, Retired E-6, in addition to Dr Timothy Haley, a physician in Kennebunkport, ME.
Ann Ahern Hanson
Ann is a native of Washington, D.C. She retired in May 2011 from the Federal Government after 39 years of service. Ann began her employment immediately after high school working for seven years for the Office of General Counsel at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. She transferred to the Department of Labor in 1979 and worked 32 years for the Office of Inspector General retiring as the Director of Administrative Operations for the Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Labor. Her Division was responsible for financial management, human resource management and information systems (policies/procedures, case tracking, and Peer Reviews).
Ann is also the Treasurer and Membership Director for the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C., a non-profit organization. Ann and Wayne have been married since 2003. Ann has two grown sons from a previous marriage and four grandchildren.
Daniel Patrick Mead
Dan was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 31, 1966 He joined the military at the onset of Operation Desert Storm during his United States Army Ranger years, 1991-1994. He continues to serve our wounded warriors and organizations that support our nation’s heroes. He is currently on the Board of Advisors as Nonprofit Governance, Veteran Affairs, & Law Enforcement Advisor for American Initiatives for Military Services (AIMS).
His professional activities include over 32 years of experience in the concrete construction field, working in all positions of planning, placement, procurement, estimating and management. He is a Senior Estimator for Edifice Solutions in Beltsville, Md.
Dan spends much of his free time working for the Irish community. He is President of Irish Charities of Maryland. Dan has served on the board of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick since 1994; serving in every volunteer activity, and finally as the Friendly Sons’ president 2006 to 2007 and 2013-2014 and is currently on the Friendly Sons Board of Stewards. He served on the Board of Directors for the Police Emerald Society of Maryland as Director of fundraising. He is also Founder of the Greater Baltimore Irish Council. He is currently on the Wreaths Across America Committee and is on the Core Team for the Arlington Experience Project.
Nate was born and raised in Biddeford, ME. After high school, he graduated from New Hampshire Technical Institute and Keene State College with degrees in Business Administration and Safety. Nate began a career in the trucking industry in 1994 and has spent most of that time, since 1998, with Walmart Transportation. The first 15 years he was a professional driver achieving over one million safe miles, then transitioning to a safety professional where he received the 2013 Maine Safety Director of the Year award. Nate has been a supporter and volunteer for Wreaths across America since 2008 and currently supports Northeast operations for Walmart as Senior Director II, Supply Chain Management. Married in 1999, Nate and his wife reside in Arkansas and together have 2 children.
Chaplain Diefendorf served 24 years as an active-duty Army chaplain, assigned to various commands all over the world including the Pentagon where she worked on the Constitutionality of the Chaplaincy. She also contributed to the revision of the Army’s Field Manual on Leadership as it related to belief systems. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel to answer her church’s call to become the Academic Dean at Lincoln Christian University’s Undergraduate College, Lincoln, IL and was recalled back to active duty on special assignment by the Secretary of the Army. Karen received multiple military awards to include two awards of the Legion of Merit and Instructor of the Year at the Army Chaplain Center and School. She was also the first female chaplain to become a paratrooper. Karen was inducted into the Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame, class of 2020.
Karen spent over 13 years in the local parish prior to entering the Army.
Following the completion of her recall to active duty, January 2014, she served a Tyson Prepared Foods plant as a part-time chaplain while also serving as a chaplain with Hospice Care of South Carolina. She completed her formal pastoral career as Director, Chaplain Services for Tyson Foods, Inc., retiring in April 2021.
She continues active ministry by hosting a weekly radio program, “Encounters With God” on Wreaths Across America Radio and serving on two boards, Philippine Mission of the Churches of Christ and Tyson. Center for Faith and Spirituality at the University of Arkansas.
She holds an undergraduate degree in Christian Education and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Lincoln (IL) Christian College and Seminary (now Lincoln Christian University) and a Master of Sacred Theology in Christian Ethics from Yale University. Karen completed all residency requirements for the Doctor of Ministry degree from Lexington Theological Seminary. She was honored to receive an honorary Doctor of Theology degree from Seoul Christian University, Seoul, South Korea.
She is married to her husband, Walt, for 43 years and they have three adult children and six grandchildren.
Charemon A. Davis, C.P.A. | Director of Finance & C.F.O.
(Biographical information coming soon.)
Advisory Board Members
Scott DeMasi, Location Leader for Houston National Cemetery
Born April 19, 1968 in Houston, Texas. I spent my youth in Humble, a Northeast suburb of Houston, with my 5 brothers and sisters and my folks. I went to school at the University of North Texas and received my degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. From there I have spent my entire career in a variety of different restaurant or food related capacities. From running my own restaurant, to working for the corporate side, and then to the supply chain side. I currently am the Vice President for Maher Marketing, a food broker covering the Texas markets. Along the way I managed to get married to my wonderful wife Susan, who happened to be one of my waitresses. We are celebrating our 15th anniversary this year. We have two awesome kids, Katie who is turning 7, and Alex who just turned 10. Alex was the catalyst for involvement and reason for the growth in WAA in the Houston area. I couldn’t be more proud. God has dealt me a pretty fair hand and me having the opportunity to give a little back by WAA is truly an honor.
Michael A. Calenda was born and raised in Providence Rhode Island. A former Police Sergeant, he retired from the Johnston, RI Police Department in 2000. In 1999, he received the Medal of Valor, and was also the recipient of the Top Cop Award from the National Police Association, presented by President Clinton at a White House Ceremony.
Michael has been married to his wife Marie for 25 years. They have a 20-year-old daughter, Marianna. A teacher with qualifications in special education and social studies, Michael is presently teaching 8th grade American History / Social Studies at Ponaganset Middle School in the Foster-Gloucester School District; the school received the Teach Award from Wreaths Across America as the Outstanding Teach school in 2011.
Duane’s public service began when he enlisted in the US Army in 1984 where he served his country for 5 years on Active Duty. He attained the rank of Sergeant and was the Section Chief of the TACFIRE support team providing direct support to the 210Th Field Artillery Brigade and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment playing a key role in the fielding of the TACFIRE Computer System.
His civic service continued after his Honorable Discharge and was hired as the Town Manager for the Town of Wallagrass. Mr. Belanger went on to be elected to the Maine House of Representatives where he proudly served in the 118th Legislature representing the good citizens of Maine House District 151. While in the legislature he served on the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee where he was instrumental in the expansion of the Veterans Cemeteries to the remote areas of Maine.
He is the Veterans Program Director of Maine State Knights of Columbus where he also serves as a liaison to the Travis Mills Foundation. He is active in the Maine Military and Community Network. He is the Post Commander of Martin-Klein American Legion Post 133 and has served as Adjutant of District 17, American Legion Department of Maine.
He is an active member of the community serving as Vice-President of the Fort Kent Historical Society. He organized and chairs the Annual Polar Dip in Aroostook County for Special Olympics. He has served as the President of the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Fort Kent Lions Club, American Legion riders and a board member of the Armed Forces Motorsports Foundation.