Wreaths Across America Caravan Stops at College for Ceremony Honoring Veterans, Military and Families

December 14, 2021

Wreaths Across America Education Exhibit Trailer

Watch a video of the ceremony at https://vimeo.com/656581977

Wreaths Across America’s Escort to Arlington – the longest veterans’ parade in the country – made a stop at Hudson Valley Community College for a special ceremony honoring veterans and service members of the United States Armed Forces and their families on Tuesday, Dec. 14 in the McDonough Sports Complex.

Wreaths Across America is a national organization with a mission to remember our fallen U.S. service members, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom. Through donations, the organization collects sponsored veterans’ wreaths to lay at Arlington National Cemetery, and more than 3,100 additional participating locations across the country each December. A caravan of more than a dozen tractor trailers is transporting a portion of these wreaths from Maine during the annual Escort to Arlington Dec. 11-18.

The caravan will spend the rest of this week traveling down the East Coast, stopping at schools, memorials, and other locations along the way to spread the mission to REMEMBER, HONOR and TEACH. Stops with public events have been or will be held in Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C., before the caravan arrives at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 18 – National Wreaths Across America Day. The Hudson Valley Community College stop was the first of only two made in New York State this year, and was the largest, with hundreds in attendance.

“We are honored to host Wreaths Across America at Hudson Valley as part of their annual Escort to Arlington,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Dr. Roger Ramsammy. “As a college originally founded as a veterans’ school nearly 70 years ago, serving our veterans and members of our military community has always been an important priority for us. We thank our veterans and service members, and their families, for their service, and we are proud to be a part of this special event and to share in furthering Wreaths Across America’s mission to remember, honor and teach.”

The event at Hudson Valley included remarks given by keynote speaker Sgt. Bill Schaaf, US Army, State Captain and Board of Directors President of Patriot Guard Riders NY and New York State Coordinator for the Veteran Recovery Program; Arlington Escort Co-Grand Marshals Jo Ann Maitland, National President of American Gold Star Mothers Inc., and Nancy Menagh, President Emeritus of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.; Cindy Roberts, President of NYS American Gold Star Mothers; Lt. Col. Douglas Brock, State Chaplain NY Army National Guard; LCpl. Mike Maloney, USMC, founder of steadyfriend.us, an organization geared toward building communication between service members and veterans and VSOs; Hudson Valley Community College President Roger Ramsammy and Director of Veterans Resource and Outreach Center at Hudson Valley Community College Andrew Roberts.

Gold Star Families, Blue Star Families, veterans, volunteers, and members of the Patriot Guard Riders and Patriot Riders, elected officials and local leaders, students, faculty and staff of Hudson Valley, and community members were in attendance.

The event also included the ceremonial folding and presentation of several American flags, presented to Gold Star Mother Jo Ann Maitland in memory and honor of her son, SPC Richard Buckingham Hubbell 3rd, United States Army, DOD 12 Dec. 2002; Gold Star Wife Nancy Menagh, in memory and honor of her husband, Capt. Phillip Menagh, Marine Corps/Virginia National Guard, DOD 9 June 1984; Morrill Worcester, founder of Wreaths Across America, celebrating 30 years to Arlington National Cemetery laying wreaths; Corporal Ken Bailey, United States Army WWII, in gratitude for his service in WWII and continual service following the war; Gold Star Mother Carrie Farley, in memory and honor of her son, SSG Derek Farley, United States Army, DOD 17 Aug. 2010; and Gold Star Mother Cindy Roberts, in memory and honor of her daughter, SGT Kristie Roberts, New York Army National Guard, DOD 21 Aug 2012.

As part of the ceremony, the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Science Club presented a donation check to Wreaths Across America; the club chose this organization to be the recipient of their annual fundraiser in 2021.

The visit also included a stop by the Wreaths Across America Mobile Education Exhibit, and information for veterans, service members and their families on resources available to them.

Tuesday’s event came just a few weeks after Hudson Valley Community College officially opened its new Veterans Resource and Outreach Center (VET-ROC) on campus. The VET-ROC is the focal point for veterans and the military-connected community on campus. Located on the first floor of the campus center, it houses the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program of Rensselaer County, which offers non-clinical peer-to-peer support for any Rensselaer County veteran and works to help all Capital Region veterans reintegrate into civilian society.

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