Arpin Van Lines drivers deliver over 100,000 wreaths to veteran cemeteries
“This is our fourth year participating in this event and the outpouring of support from our drivers, agents and employees continues to amaze and inspire me,” said David Vieira, vice president of Arpin Van Lines. “Wreaths Across America Day has become a tradition among our drivers and agents, who eagerly lend a helping hand and volunteer their own time to pick up, haul, unload and lay the wreaths at gravestones to honor our fallen heroes.”
Each Arpin trailer carried 600 boxes containing 5,400 wreaths. Combined, the 20 Arpin drivers and agents delivered approximately 108,000 wreaths to veteran cemeteries across the United States for remembrance ceremonies. Two Arpin drivers carried about 10,800 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In Rhode Island, even a sudden snowstorm did not keep the dedicated volunteers from honoring the fallen soldiers. About 15 Arpin volunteers, including several children and young adults, were present at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter to take part in a memorial service for the veterans. Current and retired service members from all branches of the Armed Forces were represented. Following the ceremony, volunteers helped lay nearly 4,000 wreaths at gravestones.
“Before placing each wreath, we recited the name of the fallen soldier,” said Brian Asay, vice president of the Arpin Charitable Fund. “It was very emotional for everyone involved. I brought my 14-year-old son, Cameron, because it’s important for young people to recognize our veterans’ ultimate sacrifice and to know that the freedom they have is thanks to these heroes.”
The Arpin Charitable Fund was an official fundraising sponsor of the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Donors raised enough money to purchase 160 wreaths to be laid at the cemetery.
Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization, founded in 2007, to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery started by Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992. The organization coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 800 cemeteries and military memorials in all 50 states. In 2008, and each year since, Congress has issued a proclamation officially recognizing “Wreaths Across America Day” each December. More information may be found on the organization’s website at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
Photo shown in the article was taken at the Arlington National Cemetery by Chad Queeney from Hampton Roads Moving & Storage in Chesapeake, VA