This weekend, ELGA Credit Union participated in the annual event “Wreaths Across America.” This event began in 1992 with a surplus of wreaths at a Maine greenery supplier, Worchester Wreath Company. Excess wreaths were donated to the Arlington National Cemetery, and this occurred quietly each year until 2005. A stunning photo of snow-covered wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery went viral, resulting in communities across the country reaching out to the Worchester Wreath Company to donate funds, create their own ceremonies, or simply thank the small supplier for their efforts.

Since 2005, the event has grown and a ceremony takes place each year on the second or third Saturday in December at over 1,000 locations in all 50 states and at US cemeteries abroad. In 2014, the organization met its goal of covering all headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.

Cookoff for a Cause

ELGA associates braved the cold weather on Saturday, December 14, 2019 to pay their respects to fallen veterans and their families buried at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, MI. This is the second year that associates have attended this event, following fundraising within the credit union. In 2019, associates fundraised over $2,500 with personal donations and a “Chili Cook-Off” held on Veterans Day.

Each year, semi-trucks filled with wreaths are brought in with a full police escort as they pass along Saginaw Street on their way to the cemetery. It is quite a sight to see a completely empty main road – beautifully painted trucks flanked by flashing police cars. The ceremony is performed with tributes to many generations of veterans, with a somber but uplifting mood, and the message of “Remember, Honor, Teach.” Following the ceremony, all attendees made their way to the semi-trucks, where wreaths were distributed. Wreaths can be placed on any empty grave, and some associates were even able to find and place a wreath at the headstones of friends or loved ones.

This event had a wonderful turnout this year, and we are looking forward to our fundraising efforts next year, along with another successful ceremony!

Organization details provided by

Author: Stephanie Tomczak, Internal Auditor

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