Now approaching its third year, the Everlasting Wreath Program is more than half way to reaching the funds needed, to place over 850 wreaths on the graves of veterans in the over 30 cemeteries in Windham and Raymond area this Christmas. Funds have been raised through the successful outreach by members of the American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 to community businesses. A generous donation of $500 was submitted by Coldwell Banker Team Real Estate when Charles Tufts, CFO and VP of marketing, presented the check last week.
|Charles Tufts presents check to Legion members|
With $2000 more to go, Field-Allen Post 148 is well on their way of reaching their objective. “To date, the American Legion has raised approximately $4000 towards its goal of $6000, thanks to the generosity of both large donors as well as small donors giving an average of $25.00 each,” Adjunct Dave Tanguay stated. “The Coldwell donation takes the Post a long way toward its goal of completing this solicitation by October this year.”
The Everlasting Wreath Program was initiated by Libby Sawyer of Studio Flora in the fall of 2014. “Libby approached Field-Allen Post 148 with an idea and needed our support to complete it, said Commander Mel Greenier. “She wanted to place a wreath on every Veteran grave site in Windham/Raymond. She said Studio Flora would order and pay for the wreaths up front and would appreciate our support in counting the veteran graves in all 28 cemeteries, preparing the wreaths with ribbons; helping to raise funds to help her defray some of the cost and organizing placement teams and thus the program began.”
The Coldwell Banker donation was made, in part, due to its association and history with veterans. Tuft, who is a Vietnam Veteran and a member of the American Legion, described the alliance. “The donation is given in the name of the Tufts family (Karen, Charlie and Jim) who own and operate Coldwell Banker Team Real Estate,” Tuft said. “I believe we are the only vet owned and operated real estate company in the region.”
“My brother was one of the first Vietnam vets and I was one of the last.” Tuft continued. “As you may or may not be aware, many vets were not treated especially well on our return home after serving in Vietnam. The Windham American Legion has sponsored some very cathartic events over the past year to honor the people that served in Vietnam. I think it only fitting that we give back to our community, which supports these efforts, in order to help honor all brothers and sisters that have gone before us and especially comrades from the Vietnam War.”
Many families wish to honor their loved ones and remember them with a wreath but many costs associated with winter bills and the holidays create limited funds for some individuals.
“We understand that not everyone can afford to buy a wreath for their loved ones at Christmas time so we want to help ensure that all vets buried in our town get one” Tuft said. “It should be noted that smaller donations add up surprisingly fast and that all are welcome to participate. People that contribute to the program are guaranteed to have a wreath placed on a veteran family member grave.”
Greenier noted that Larry DeHof, the Post’s Sergeant-at-Arms, has headed much of the fundraising efforts along with Tanguay and Post member, Walter Braley. Their work and outreach has also contributed to the success of the fundraising program thus far.
“This program is an opportunity for the community to honor a loved one with a wreath this winter,” expressed Tanguay. “Many donors have already given a check ‘in memory’ of a vet loved one. For all donors, The American Legion Field-Allen Post will recognize and publish a complete list of all donors in the local paper at the end of 2017 campaign. The push is now on to complete the program by the first of October.”
Donations may be sent to “Field-Allen Wreaths”, P.O. Box 1776, Windham, Maine 04062. All donations, large or small, will be greatly appreciated.