Wreaths Across America

When is the last time you donated your product or service to someone in need?

What were the circumstances?

How did it make you feel to help that family, client, or child?

How many people do you think they told?

Can you measure the goodwill that was created through that gift?

I happened upon the most beautiful story of giving back at Christmas time, and want to share it with you.

(Be sure to read all the way to the end, where it will all tie back together.)

The Wreaths Across America story is growing, yet again. Fifteen years ago a wreath company in Maine had over 5,000 extra wreaths too close to Christmas to release to the market. How would you get “rid” of 5,000 wreaths? Businessman Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company donated them to Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the graves for the holidays. Since then the story has grown… and grown.

The first year 5,000 wreaths were laid at Arlington, and then last year Worcester’s wife, Karen, came up with the idea for Wreaths Across America. Over 75,000 wreaths have been donated since 1992 from Worcester Wreath Company alone, and every year the number of volunteers placing the wreaths has grown too. This year wreaths were donated at Arlington and 200 other state and national cemeteries; and for the first time were donated to 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil, and aboard U.S. ships sailing in all 7 seas! Each State Capitol even receives a wreath.

What connects all these wreaths is a simultaneous ceremony where all of the wreaths are laid on the gravesites at the same time all across the world. What a beautiful way to collectively memorialize all of those who served our country.

You can visit the Wreaths Across America site at www.wreaths-across-america.org and view the beautiful pictures of the wreaths at the gravesites. The pictures on the site have not been altered; they are just so beautiful that many people have a hard time believing they are not computer generated! YouTube even has a video of the placing of the wreaths which is worth watching.

All of this because a 12 year old boy named Morrill Worcester won a trip to Washington from his paper delivery route. He was so moved by his visit to Arlington National Cemetery that 30 years later his visit inspired him to donate the extra wreaths, and has given people the opportunity to act upon their gratitude even today. What’s your wreath story?

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Releases Their Sunrise Review on Funeral Service Practitioners

On December 6, 2007 the State of Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) released their Sunrise Review on Funeral Service Practitioners.

• What did they find? The State cited several documentable incidents of harm to the public. In addition they wrote that, “In Colorado, approximately 18 percent of funeral service practitioners voluntarily achieve the required education and other requirements for certification by the CFSB.”(Colorado Funeral Service Board, www.cofda.org)

• What did they recommend? “Implement a registration program that requires a Funeral Director at each funeral establishment to register with the Division of Registrations. Require funeral service establishments to provide a disclosure statement informing consumers who to contact in the event they desire to file a formal complaint.”

• What does this mean? This is a clear victory for the consumer in Colorado, and a step in the right direction for Funeral Service Professionals. After over 20 years of no regulation, the State has finally admitted, in writing, that there is a need for consumer protection.

• What’s next? The bill’s sponsor, Representative Debbie Stafford, and a legislative committee of the Colorado Funeral Directors Association will meet to determine if the recommendations of DORA will be followed in the writing of a proposed bill; or if they will ignore the recommendation and introduce a bill which would require licensure of Funeral Service Practitioners, which is a level above what DORA recommended. End of Life Insights will keep you informed as the bill is introduced and the legislation moves forward.

You can read the complete DORA report here.