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Join Forces to Honor Our Heroes

todayDecember 15, 2023 32

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Every year in December, an act of reverence echoes across the United States. Wreaths Across America (WAA) undertakes the noble endeavor of placing remembrance wreaths on the gravestones of our fallen heroes. December 16, 2023, marks yet another day to pay homage to those who served and gifted us the freedom we cherish.

At Beal Memorial Cemetery, 1,800 veterans await our gesture of recognition and respect. As we lay wreaths on each headstone, we say their names aloud, honoring their profound sacrifice. However, the journey to this day of remembrance begins much earlier, with July christened as “Giving in July.”

Our mission for this year is clear: secure the funds to honor each of the 1,800 veterans resting in our hometown cemetery. Last year, we fell short, managing to fund only 600 wreaths. This year, we are determined to do better.

Tom Rice, owner of The Magnolia Grill and a staunch advocate for veterans, is leading the charge. His commitment to securing the necessary funds for all 1,800 wreaths is unwavering. But the task is colossal, and the costs add up—transportation, cold storage, and wreath purchases.

Yet, what makes these wreaths even more special is their origin. They aren’t inexpensive plastic replicas from overseas. Instead, these wreaths, handcrafted with care from balsam to bow, are the product of Worcester Wreath in Maine, the pioneers of the WAA program. From their family farm, the Worcesters harvest balsam evergreens from American soil, crafting each fragrant wreath by hand. They are a testament to American craftsmanship and respect for our veterans—a U.S. product placed by U.S. citizens in honor of our fallen heroes.

Join us in making the Wreaths Across America effort in Fort Walton Beach a soaring success. Each wreath sponsorship costs a mere $17. Your contributions can be made in several ways. Visit or contact Dennis Krebs or Tom Rice at (850) 302-0266. You can also meet Tom at the Magnolia Grill.

Let’s honor each and every one of our veterans buried at Beal Memorial Cemetery. Your support can make a world of difference.

Bobby Dewrell
Author: Bobby Dewrell

Bobby is a native of the Emerald Coast, born in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Although he left the area for a few years, and traveled the world, his heart always stay connected to the area. He returned with his family in 2010 and know resides in Shalimar.

Written by: Bobby Dewrell

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