Worcesters receive Patriot Award

Medal of Honor recipient and vice president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Bob Patterson (right) poses with Karen and Morrill Worcester at an awards ceremony April 20. Morrill, who founded Wreaths Across America, and Karen, who runs the organization, received the Patriot Award.

ELLSWORTH — Wreaths Across America Executive Director Karen Worcester and her husband, Morrill Worcester, founder of the organization, were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award on April 20.

The Worcesters were presented with the award at the Salute to the Medal of Honor Gala sponsored by Walmart in Bentonville, Ark., last Friday evening.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is made up of living recipients of the Medal of Honor, this country’s most prestigious military honor.

The Patriot Award is the highest award bestowed by the society and honors “individuals who have exhibited dedication to and passion for the American ideals of freedom and democracy through their lives, words and actions,” according to a press release.

“The Worcesters are incredible people and very deserving of our Patriot Award,” said Medal of Honor recipient Bob Patterson, who is vice president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “What they do each and every year with Wreaths Across America truly honors our veterans and their families. Our entire nation should be grateful to them for their steadfast efforts for our veterans, who are gone but never forgotten.”

It was December 1992, in Harrington, when the Worcester Wreath Co. found itself with a surplus of 5,000 wreaths during the holiday season. Owner Morrill Worcester saw the surplus as an opportunity to pay tribute to veterans and, with the help of Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, arranged for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington National Cemetery. The annual tribute has continued and grown ever since.

“As a nation, we owe our veterans so much,” Morrill Worcester said. “Their sacrifices have made it possible for this great country to be free and that should never be forgotten.

“Millions of volunteers have made Wreaths Across America what it is today, and Karen and I are honored to accept the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award on their behalf.”

In 2007, the Worcester family, along with veterans and volunteers, formed the nonprofit organization Wreaths Across America to continue and expand their efforts at Arlington National Cemetery and to support those around the country who wished to do the same. Morrill’s wife, Karen, has served as the organization’s volunteer executive director since the nonprofit was created and today oversees what has become a massive volunteer organization that continues to grow.

In 2017, Wreaths Across America and its national network of volunteers laid over 1.5 million veterans’ wreaths at 1,433 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.

“Wreaths Across America brings together people from all walks of life, uniting them in the common mission to remember the fallen, honor those that serve, and teach the next generation about the true cost of freedom,” said Karen Worcester. “Wreaths Across America has become a beacon of hope and connection for many in a world that can sometimes seem filled with strife.

“Morrill and I are humbled to be a small part of this and are beyond moved to be recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society who represents the best of the best in this country.”

This year, National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15. It is a free event and is open to all.

For more information, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.

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