Perdue’s Wreaths Across America event is Dec. 14

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The community’s fallen veterans will be honored at Wreaths Across America on Dec. 14 at the Wicomico War Veterans Memorial.

Conducted by Perdue Farms and its professional drivers, the ceremony will be part of the tradition of recognizing fallen veterans at the holidays.

The public is invited to the 10 a.m. event, in front of the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

Drivers, who are veterans, will place ceremonial wreaths at the memorial, representing each branch of the military, then distribute more than 25,000 wreaths to cemeteries in the region.

Perdue drivers got involved in 2007 and have delivered more than 150,000 wreaths.

This year, on Dec. 17, they will take more than 25,000 to cemeteries from New York to Florida, including the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, United States Military Academy West Point Cemetery in New York and Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., as well as to the Wicomico War Veterans Memorial.

Driver Darren Hunt, a former police officer and U.S. Army veteran, got involved about three years ago.

“I’m a public service kind of a guy,” Hunt told the Salisbury Independent.

“My granddaddy was a veteran of two or three wars. It makes me feels good doing it. It makes me feel like I’m doing my small part,” he said.

“The wreaths are placed on the graves of veterans, some as far back as the Civil War and up to current wars,” said Hunt, who lives in Quinby, Va., and drives for Perdue from Accomac.

Hunt said it’s the role of drivers to “deliver those wreaths with some of our trucks up and down the east coast.”

“It’s so very meaningful to the families,” he said.

County Executive Bob Culver, quoted in a news release issued by Perdue, said the county is “pleased to recognize Perdue Farms in their 10th year of involvement in such a special program.”

“We are proud to have Perdue’s professional drivers participate in placing wreaths from Wreaths Across America at the Wicomico War Veterans Memorial for each branch of the military,” Culver said.

Built in 2002 with donations from the community, the local memorial honors 191 Wicomico County residents who lost their lives World War I to present day.

Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms, said it’s important to show respect for those who are “serving in the military all around the world and the sacrifices that they and their families are making at this time of the year … especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice and are memorialized at Wicomico War Veterans Memorial.”

Wreaths Across America was started in 2006 by Morrill Worcester and the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine.

It became an annual tradition to lay wreaths at the grave-markers of fallen veterans in December.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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