Highland FFA Holds Event To Honor Veterans

On Friday, December 17th, the Highland FFA held a ceremony at The Highland County Veterans’ Memorial Walk of Honor. The ceremony was part of the National Wreaths Across America campaign at 3,136 participating locations across the country. I spoke with FFA president Erin Brendel to learn more.

“we started planning this on the week before that, so it’s very short notice but we had a Wreaths Across America ceremony, which was started by the Worcester family, and they are wreath makers. And  one year during the holiday season they had 5,000 extras,  and they decided that they were going to take it to the Arlington cemetery and put them in all the veterans’ graves.”

“During the holiday season we know that our family members are missed a little bit extra, and so it was a good tradition that he started and it’s just continued from there, and it’s a really great tradition, and  I’m really glad I got to start it here in Highland.”

She explained how the event originated, and how the FFA joined the list of locations.

“Cappie Hull and Scott Wells,  they are our mentors, Iguess you could say. They kind of help us stay involved in the community, and they help us out in all kinds of ways, with trips, and Mr. Wells likes to sub a lot for Mr. Heavner at school. And Cappie came to me and she said she seen this on the TV, and she was like ‘we could become part of this trial.’ And we’re always trying to do more things for the veterans, because they do so much for us.”

“And so we decided that we would try to start planning this and get it done and because they have a role in the community and also tied in with FFA,  this was a great way to get us back out into the community, because we haven’t been able to be very active in the last few years with all the regulations that the school set for us. This was definitely a good opportunity for us to get back out there and have a little fun with it.”

“You have to get a wreath, which you can actually contact the Worcester family personally, and they have the Wreaths Across America Foundation that they started, which, they help to reach out to these different events. But, basically you can get a wreath and you can hang it, and then you post about it, and you can tag them in it and then I guess you can kind of say you’re a part of the path.”

Ms. Brendel described the ceremony.

“So we started off, and we had a moment of silence for all those that served for us. We have the colors presented by Mr. Scott Wells and Cayden Roberson. We then had the National Anthem Vickie King sang that for us, and John Wagner led the Pledge of Allegiance. I then gave a speech, and then I had some of my fellow FFA members come join me, and recited the poem “We Stand” by Roger Hancock, which that was recommended by Cappie Hull – she found that poem and it was perfect for us to read at this event. We then had the wreaths placed by Wyatt Cunningham and Ethan Moore, and Lauren Davis played Taps for us. We then had our closing and then Colton Williams give a prayer.”

She concluded – don’t forget your veterans especially during the holidays.”

More information on the campaign can be found at  www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. Next year’s National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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