Photo Credit: Edmond Joe

Morrill and Karen Worcester present the Remember, Honor, Teach and Founders Awards in Arlington, Virginia

What started twenty-five years ago as one family's tribute to our fallen heroes has now become a national movement of gratitude and respect for our nation's military and their families who selflessly serve our nation to protect our freedoms.

Wreaths Across America annually recognizes individuals and organizations who exemplify its mission to remember, honor and teach.

This year, those annual awards were presented at the United States Patent and Trademark Office Military Association's reception honoring Wreaths Across America in Arlington, Virginia.

This year’s recipients are:

Bre Kingsbury, a WAA volunteer and military spouse, recipient of the Remember Award. This award is given to an individual for exceptional effort in remembering the fallen and their sacrifice. Kingsbury is receiving the Remember Award for her dedication to building awareness and tireless efforts to ensure that a remembrance wreath was placed at every headstone and at the bottom of each column in the Columbarium and on the niche wall — 240,815 total — at Arlington National Cemetery in December 2015.

The staff of Arlington National Cemetery are the recipients of this year’s Honor Award. This award is given to those who honor veterans and their families in a way that promotes WAA’s mission to Remember, Honor, Teach. Cemetery Executive Director Patrick Hallinan — who accepted the award on behalf of the Cemetery — and the Arlington National Cemetery staff received the Honor Award for supporting the expansion of WAA’s wreath-laying events over its 25-year history.

Nancy Willey, WAA volunteer and retired educator, is the recipient of the Teach Award. This award is given to an individual who has made a large contribution in teaching the importance of remembering and honoring those who serve or have served our military. Mrs. Willey is given the Teach Award for her commitment to developing and advancing school age-appropriate content supporting WAA’s educational curriculum.

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), are recipients of the Founders Award. This important distinction is given each year to those who exemplify WAA’s mission to Remember, Honor, Teach and demonstrate active support of our nation’s military. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment is given the Founders Award in recognition of the unit’s role as never-wavering sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown, for funeral service details rendered, and for its role in teaching the public about the service and sacrifice of our veterans.

Since 2007, the Remember, Honor, and Teach Awards are chosen from recommendations received by WAA’s national volunteer base and decided on by the members of WAA’s executive board. The Founders Award — which was first given to WAA Founder Morrill Worcester in 2006 by his family — is chosen by Morrill himself.

“Since 1992, that first year we placed wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, the Old Guard has graciously allowed me to choose the participants in the annual noon wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider,” said Worcester. “It is an experience that deeply touches the lives of every person granted the honor to participate, and for this, I will be eternally grateful.”

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