Written by Chuck Seaver, South Lake Tablet

Many have heard of Wreaths Across America (WAA), a not-for-profit organization whose year-long mission is to Remember the fallen, Honor those who Serve, and Teach our children the value of freedom. But many do not know that the organization also utilizes a mobile education exhibit to bring local communities and our military together with education, stories, and interactive connections.

The mobile exhibit was on display this past weekend at the American Legion Post 55, 1063 West Desoto Street, Clermont. The forty-eight-foot, climate-controlled exhibit is equipped with a twenty-four seat, mini theatre that showcases the different aspects of the WAA mission through audible video. The exhibit also provides three interactive computers to showcase locations, trucking companies who support the mission, and general wreath sponsorship questions. The exhibit is an extension of the WAA’s effort to share stories of patriotism and love of country in communities around the United States.


Trish Gardner, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 55 and regional coordinator for the WAA, first brought the wreaths program to Clermont’s Oak Hill Cemetery in 2018. Gardner’s efforts, along with local coordinator Kate Oyer, have resulted in the program growing to several area cemeteries including Montverde, Ferndale, Astatula, Oakland, Minneola, Groveland, Mascotte, and still growing. Trish and Kate both work tirelessly each year to ensure that every veteran in the surrounding community, including Oak Hill Cemetery, is recognized with a live, fresh wreath that is handmade in Columbia Falls, Maine and transported to area liaisons by tractor-trailer.

The wreaths are placed each year in December by teams of volunteers, family members, and local organizations that support the WAA. This year’s placement date is December 14th. An exact time will be announced later this year. In the meantime, anyone can sponsor a wreath by visiting www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/FL0774P. Volunteer opportunities, exhibit schedules, and the mission statement of the original family that created this wonderful cause can be found at the site also.

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