This past weekend, The Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA) Greater Kansas City Chapter recognized Morrill Worcester, Founder of Wreaths Across America, with the second presentation of the Colonel Roger H.C. Donlon Patriot Award for his continued support of veterans and families of the fallen through the Wreaths Across America mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach. The award was presented during the Chapter’s program recognizing its 20th Anniversary with AUSA and in celebration of the 244th Birthday of the U.S. Army.
The inaugural Donlon Patriot Award was presented to philanthropist Gary Sinise, and honors Colonel Donlon as the first American Soldier of the Vietnam War and the first U.S. Army Special Forces warrior to be awarded the Medal of Honor. As a strong advocate and volunteer for Wreaths Across America, Colonel Donlon understands the impact Wreaths Across America has on the communities and individuals it serves.
“Let us all join together with Wreaths Across America to forever continue to honor our fallen heroes by saying their names aloud as we place a veteran’s wreath at their gravestones,” said Col. Donlon. “We pledge to hold high their torches and emulate their legacies of service and sacrifice. In doing so, we teach the next generation about freedom and patriotism. This assures that their memories and bravery will live on...for their families, and for a grateful nation.”
Morrill Worcester was just 12 years old when a trip to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery impressed upon him a sense of gratitude for the service and sacrifice of veterans. Years later, as a successful business owner, Worcester found a way to honor those veterans by delivering a surplus of wreaths from his wreath making company in Maine to Arlington and laying them on veterans’ headstones. What began as a small endeavor grew tremendously, and in 2007, Worcester founded Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization, to continue and expand upon the annual Arlington Wreath Project fulfilling a mission to remember the fallen, honor those that served and their families, and teach the next generation about the value of freedom. Today, more than 1,600 locations participate in the Wreaths Across America mission and wreath-laying ceremonies in all 50 states, at sea, and abroad.
The evening’s program included a special attendance by General Carter F. Ham, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of the United States Army. General Ham’s remarks addressed the Army’s Birthday Celebration theme: “Honoring the call to service from D-Day to today,” and thanked Mr. Worcester for Wreaths Across America doing so much to remember the soldiers buried at Normandy, as well as other service-members and veterans laid to rest throughout our nation.
“KC AUSA has supported the Wreaths Across America mission for many years. In particular, KC AUSA leaders and members participate each year at the ceremonies conducted at the nearby Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery and Leavenworth National Cemeteries, in Kansas, events that involve thousands of community members each year,” added Greater Kansas City Chapter, AUSA President, Major (Retired) Emma Toops. “It was a huge honor for us when Morrill Worcester accepted the Executive Committee’s decision to have him receive the Colonel Roger H.C. Donlon Patriot Award. Both Morrill and his wife Karen certainly are worthy of the recognition for what they have accomplished in Wreaths Across America over the years. KC AUSA is very pleased in now having a personal relationship with the Worcester family and certainly will continue to participate in the mission for years to come.”
In recognition of his extraordinary efforts to honor our nation’s veterans, Worcester has previously earned many distinguished awards including the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award, the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Award, the American Legion Public Spirit Award, the Silver Helmet Americanism Award presented by AMVETS, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor.
About the Association of the U.S. Army:
The Association of the United States Army is a nonprofit educational and professional development association serving America’s Total Army, our Soldiers, Army civilians and their families, our industry partners, and supporters of a strong national defense. AUSA provides a voice for the Army, supports the Soldier, and honors those who have served in order to advance the security of the nation.
Since 1950, the Association of the United States Army has worked to support all aspects of national security while advancing the interests of America’s Army and the men and women who serve.