To the Editor:

Thank you to the many volunteers who helped make last Saturday’s Wreaths Across America ceremony possible. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the many town groups who came together including several members of Darien’s Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, Darien’s VFW Post #6933, the Darien High School Support Our Soldiers group, the Masonic Club of Darien, the NFL Players Alumni, several members of Good Wife’s River Chapter DAR, Rings End Lumber Co., and others who helped us fundraise for weeks prior to the event.

The cooperation of the owners of many highly visible locations allowed us to successfully collect wreath sponsorships. These include: Palmers’ Market, Darien Doughnut, Stop and Shop at Goodwives and at Noroton Heights, Dunkin Donuts and Mama Carmella’s Deli. The local media, including The Darien Times and The Darien News and The Darien Daily Voice and Darienite online, published press releases to inform Darien residents about the collections’ locations and the wreath ceremony. The heartfelt editorial in The Darien Times was appreciated. Thanks also to Linda and Karen in the Selectman’s Office for all of their assistance.

Prior to the wreath laying, the Coastal Chordsmen entertained with holiday music, using the sound system which was donated by Chris Andrade. Bugler Anthony Montimurro performed flawlessly as he played TAPS at the conclusion of our ceremony. Of course, a huge thanks to Wreath Location Coordinator and MC, Phil Kraft.

Vietnam veteran Alan Bixler heeded the call for assistance and together we unloaded 140 boxes of wreaths on the Wednesday before the ceremony. A larger group joined in on Saturday morning to unload an additional 105 boxes at Spring Grove, unbox the wreaths and dispose of the boxes before the ceremony. Thanks to all of you for your efforts, and to Ed Gentile and the Department of Public Works for allowing us access to the disposal area. On Saturday morning at 8AM as I began dusting off the flat stones at one end of the cemetery, I looked up to see Terry Gaffney one of our fundraising stalwarts and Phil and Peach Kraft with brooms, doing the same. A team effort all around.

Thank you to the Darien townsfolk who turned out in record numbers in frigid temperatures to help lay the wreaths on Saturday. Thank you also for bringing your children to this event, and encouraging them to “speak their names” as they placed a memorial wreath. The mission of Wreaths Across America is to Remember the Fallen, Honor those Who Serve, and Teach our Children the Value of Freedom. Please take a moment during this holiday season to drive past Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery. It is an inspiring sight. Thank you for allowing us to Remember, Honor and Teach.

David E. Polett

Wreaths Across America Darien, Co-coordinator

Chairman, Darien Monuments and Ceremonies Commission