NEWS AND NOTES – DECEMBER BRINGS OPPORTUNITY
The following is a collection of news and notes from your State Capitol involving opportunities that affect House District 32.
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Wreaths Across America Program which was started in 1992 with the donation and laying of 5000 Christmas wreaths in the Arlington National Cemetery by Morrill Worcester. Though the program initially started as the Arlington Wreath Program, recent years has seen it cultivate into a nationwide project.
The Wreaths Across America story began over 20 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Company from Harrington, Maine initiated a tradition of donating and placing wreaths on the headstones of our Nation’s fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery. Recognition of the service and sacrifice of our veterans, and their families, is especially poignant during the traditional holiday season.
This year the program has set a goal of providing wreaths to over 600 veteran’s cemeteries across the United States. The goal of 600 veteran cemeteries represents nearly a 50% increase from the 425 cemeteries which received wreaths in 2010. Of those 600 cemeteries, it is estimated that more than 400,000 wreaths will be placed on gravestones and will include the assistance of over 150,000 volunteers. The wreath laying officially takes place on the second Saturday in December, which this year falls on the 10th.
An extremely important part of Wreaths Across America project is to reach out to kids across the country each year and to stress the importance of “Remembering, Honoring and Teaching” about the fallen servicemen and women who have served their country so faithfully. The themes are Remember the fallen, Honor those who serve including their families who sacrifice, and Teach our children the cost of the freedoms we enjoy each day. Through their webpage, Wreaths Across America provides a number of educational programs directed at middle school students. One of the programs is the Million Memories Project which seeks to preserve the memory of veterans as a way to remember their lives and teach future generations the value and cost of the freedoms that they enjoy. Additional information about the Wreaths Across America Project or their educational programs can be found at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org.
THIS HOLIDAY SEASON YOU CAN SAVE A LIFE
One of the greatest gifts you can give this holiday season is to save a life. During the winter holidays, blood centers often experience a decline in blood donations and thereby a shortage in blood supplies. In order to maintain the blood supply for the Coastal Bend, the blood center requires 120 donors a day to donate blood.
Each year approximately 4.5 million people nationwide would die without the lifesaving blood transfusions made possible by generous donors. A single blood donation made this holiday season can be used to save up to three lives.
District 32 is serviced by two blood donation centers, which are the Coastal Bend Blood Center and the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center. The Coastal Bend Blood Center provides services to fourteen medical centers in its ten-county service area of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio and San Patricio. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center provides blood, plasma, platelets and other blood components to 100 hospitals and clinics in forty three South Texas counties including the Victoria/Calhoun area.
If you would like to donate this holiday season, you can get additional information by contacting the Coastal Bend Blood Center at 1-800-299-4943 or the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center at 1-800-442-7770.
If you have any questions regarding the Wreaths Across America Project or would like more information on being a blood donor please don’t hesitate to contact either my Capitol or District office. My offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).