Somerset Man Needs Help Honoring Fallen Veterans
On December 18, cities and towns across America come together for National Wreaths Across America Day to honor our veterans. When Somerset native George Andes learned about the national day of recognition, he made it his mission to bring that tradition to the SouthCoast, and after five successful years, he is gearing up for the sixth.
Wreaths Across America started in 1992 after Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company, sent thousands of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. Morrill was inspired by his trip to Washington, D.C. as a child, and in particular Arlington National Cemetery.
That’s when he realized that much of his freedom and success stems from the sacrifices of our veterans. Arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington to honor forgotten fallen veterans, and the trend spread through the country like wildfire.
Andes was incredibly moved by the meaningful gesture.
“In 2016, I had seen a picture that went viral of the wreaths at Arlington (cemetery) that were against the headstones covered in snow,” Andes said. “I reached out to a friend in town and said we needed to do this.”
Since 2016, Andes and a group of organizers have hosted fundraisers where people donate to the cause. All proceeds go straight to Wreaths Across America, who in turn send out the wreaths for volunteers to place them on the graves of veterans.
“Somerset has been unbelievable with support,” Andes said. “Thanks to donations, we will be able to honor 1,4000 veterans in our town and over two million nationwide.”
Andes explained how a truck comes in with a police escort, and the Somerset Police Department and Bristol County Sheriffs' Office help with an escort. If the weather is nice, a motorcycle club called the Original Garage Club helps escort the truck filled with wreaths to Slades Ferry Avenue.
“This year, we are looking to honor our Vietnam veterans and we would like to have one representative from each branch of service to present the wreath for their service,” Andes said.
One Marine has stepped up, but representatives are still needed for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force.
While Andes is passionate about the event, he can’t do it alone. He and his team are looking for volunteers on December 18 that can help disperse the wreaths to the four cemeteries in town.
All are welcome to attend the grand ceremony at 12 p.m., when the national day officially begins.
Andes is overjoyed to have brought this national day of recognition to the SouthCoast and looks forward to honoring those who have sacrificed everything for this country.