Branford will be in for a special event next Tuesday, Dec. 12 when the Wreaths Across America Honor Convoy stops in town. The convoy is on its way to Arlington National Cemetery with thousands of evergreen wreaths to be placed on the graves of deceased servicemen and women that served in the military.
The stop in Branford will be one of 12 school stops that will be made on the week-long trek from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington. The honor escort is composed of approximately 200 volunteers, including a State Police motorcycle escort, Patriot Guard motorcycle escort, Gold Star families, who lost a family member in service, Blue Star families, who currently have a member serving in the military, Veterans, buses, SUVs and a dozen 18 wheelers.
“We are honored that the Wreaths Across America Honor Convoy will be making a stop here in Branford for what could be a once in lifetime experience for many,” said Dottie Packer, a retired Lieutenant Commander, US Navy (Nurse Corps), who along with Chief Petty Officer Pamela Bold, US Coast Guard (Ret.), petitioned for the Honor Convoy to come to Branford. Both are town residents.
A committee was formed by Lt. Commander Packer and CPO Bold earlier this year. Other members involved in planning the event include, Schools Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez, (Lt. Col., USMC retired), Branford High School principal Lee Panagoulias, Branford Fire Chief Thomas Mahoney, and Branford Police Captain Geoffrey Morgan.They are pictured here.
The convoy is expected to arrive in Branford between 1 and 1:30 p.m. It will come off exit 55 onto Route 1 (East Main Street) and head toward the center. Once at the rotary near the high school (Dunkin Donuts) the smaller vehicles will proceed to the high school for a ceremony limited to students and veterans. The larger vehicles will proceed onto North Main Street to the Fire Department Headquarters where they can be viewed by the public.
After the conclusion of 30-minute ceremony for the students at the high school, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the units will leave and meet up with the larger vehicles at the entrance to I-95 near Walmart and proceed to their next destination.
Packer and Bold will ride in the convoy to Arlington.
The best places to view the entire convoy are considered to be between exit 55 and the rotary near Dunkin Donuts when it arrives and at the “pretzel” near Walmart when they join together to exit Branford.
For anyone interested in supporting the Wreaths Across America project contributions can be made to WAA, P.O. Box 249 Columbia Falls, ME 04623.