For those who have ever had the opportunity to visit Wreaths Across America headquarters in Maine, these two smiling faces are likely some of the first you’ll see. Julie (Emery) Hinkle and Kelly Hinkle are the event coordinator team. And, as of last weekend’s nuptials, they are also a team for life!
As event coordinators Julie and Kelly work year round to plan the escort to Arlington in December. The planning for this annual trek starts in January and doesn’t stop until everyone returns safely after National Wreaths Across America Day. In addition, they coordinate local events in Maine, including the annual Stem to Stone event, and any Remembrance Tree ceremonies that take place on the tip land. In addition to managing events, they also head up the Remembrance Tree Program.
Julie started with Wreaths Across America as a volunteer and then joined the team full time in 2015 as a customer service representative. Kelly has been part of Wreaths Across America’s staff since 2014, but was involved with the program for a couple years prior when he helped load the trucks with wreaths that would be shipped across the country to all of the participating locations.
When asked what the mission to remember, honor, and teach means to them, Julie says, “the mission is personal for me being that my grandfather served during the Battle of the Bulge. He now has a remembrance tree out on the tip land that will go on to honor other veterans across the country for years to come. It is very rewarding when you get to go out into the community and teach the younger generations about the remembrance tree program and why it is so important to remember their service and sacrifices for our freedoms.” For Kelly, the learn aspect is the most rewarding for him, “...to be able to hear other families stories and make personal connections with each family means alot to me. We never stop learning.”
On Saturday, July 21, Kelly and Julie were married at Balsam Valley Chapel on the tip land in Maine, which is a very special place to the couple. They were able to incorporate a piece of Kelly's grandfathers remembrance tree in his boutonniere, and the Wreaths Across America family was there to celebrate the day.
For the Hinkle’s this is not a job - they carry the mission to remember, honor, and teach in everything they do!