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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Volunteer Fire/EMS Company Plays Huge Role in Wreaths Across America This Weekend

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

This Saturday, December 13, a convoy of tractor-trailers will arrive at Arlington National Cemetery.  The trucks have been travelling all week to reach Arlington to join with hundreds of volunteers that place Christmas Wreaths at gravesites of our fallen military.  This years Wreaths Across America event falls on the 150th Anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery.

This week of events is made possible by thousands of volunteers who organize local ceremonies, raise funds to sponsor wreaths, and participate in the events.  The cost of the programs is paid by individual wreaths sponsors, corporate donors and volunteer truckers. 

Have you ever thought about where dozens of tractor-trailers carrying thousands of wreaths stay the night before??  Where does this huge convoy start from??  Where do the hundreds of staff and drivers eat breakfast before making the final leg of their long journey??

A local volunteer fire department in Prince George’s County, Maryland plays a key role in assisting Wreaths Across America reach their final destination at Arlington National Cemetery.   The Branchville Volunteer Fire Company and Rescue Squad and their Ladies Auxiliary in College Park, MD, put in a weeks worth of work into a very short period of time to honor the staff and volunteers that honor our fallen heroes.

The all-volunteer fire company, for the eight consecutive year, will start to park dozens of Wreaths Across America tractor trailers and support vehicles on Friday, December 12.   The trucks are expected to arrive as early as 10:30 am on Friday.  Branchville Volunteer Firefighters will wash each truck as they pull in front of the fire station before positioning them in a large adjacent parking lot.  The process is really quite impressive.

Ronald Leizear Sr., President of the Branchville Volunteer Company, stated, "The membership looks forward to this event every year and participate willingly with a smile on their face.  We understand the mission of remembrance and honor of our fallen at Arlington National Cemetery and we are doing our small part to help make that happen."

For the fourth year the Branchville membership including the Ladies Auxiliary will provide breakfast to the staff and drivers.  This year over 400 people will be fed.  Volunteers will start prepping the meal at midnight Saturday.  Wreaths Across America staff starts to arrive at around 4:00 am to enjoy breakfast.  The fire station banquet hall becomes a very active place until around 7:30 – 7:45 am when the trucks start their process of lining up for an escorted trip from Branchville Fire/EMS Station to Arlington.

This event provides a very unique opportunity for media to talk with the primary participants and organizers of Wreaths Across America in a calm and quiet setting.  Several boxes of wreaths will be opened and on display Friday as they are stacked for distribution on Saturday morning at Arlington.  The breakfast provided by the Branchville Volunteers is truly an amazing effort and really cannot be put into words, you have to see it to believe it.

It is important to note that this event is for theWreaths Across America staff and volunteers associated with the convoy.  Volunteers that will place wreaths are still to meet at Arlington National Cemetery.

The following were images taken at the December 2012 event at Branchville.  This year, twice as many  staff and volunteers are expected to attend this years breakfast.