Community-building with Wreaths Across America

Navy Seals WAA 2015

In December every year, communities across the nation come together to honor and remember our veterans at the Wreaths Across America ceremony by laying wreaths on the gravesites at national cemeteries. For over 25 years this has been a national tradition, and in San Diego the 2015 event marked the 10-year anniversary.

Community support was tremendous. Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, a community foundation in North County San Diego, was honored to support the Wreaths Across America ceremonies in San Diego on December 12th, 2015. Over 8,600 wreaths were laid on gravesites at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and Miramar National Cemetery, and 1,033 of those wreaths were provided by The Patriots Connection to remember and honor those who have served.

The Patriots Connection, a program of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, invited donors to make a contribution to purchase a wreath and then matched each donation with a second wreath. In addition, donors to The Patriots Connection provided funding for several buses to provide transportation for volunteers to the ceremony and wreath-laying at Fort Rosecrans. The donor and volunteer support for this event exemplifies the community-building that the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation promotes as a community foundation.

This year, more people than ever before gathered in San Diego to honor the fallen during the Wreaths Across America ceremony. “It’s not just a veteran, it’s a family who gave up the comfort of having that person around,” says Tim Campion from Wreaths Across America San Diego, and a veteran himself.

Tim has seen the impact a ceremonial wreath makes on a family with loved ones who have sacrificed their lives. “When families come out during the holidays and see a wreath on the grave, they know the community was involved in honoring their family member.”  The community of volunteers is large and made up of people from all walks of life, including young children, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, college students and World War II veterans. The community truly comes together to honor the fallen and remember their sacrifice.

Rancho Santa Fe Foundation is honored to play a part in helping the community come together for this meaningful tradition. “The support of Rancho Santa Fe Foundation has been very helpful; it’s more than any corporation locally,” says Tim.

Honoring and remembering veterans is a high priority at our community foundation. The Patriots Connection, an important program of Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, seeks to expand the capacity of San Diego nonprofits to serve active duty military and veterans.

If you would like to be a part of Wreaths Across America, on January 16th, 2016, the Wreath Cleanup will take place and volunteers are welcome. You can also save the date for next year: on December 17th, 2016, Wreaths Across America will hold its annual ceremony again in San Diego and across the United States in honor of our veterans.