Mount Airy squadron serves inaugural Wreaths Across America ceremony at Pine Grove Chapel
December 14, 2019 — MOUNT AIRY, Md. — A persistent light rain did nothing to deter members of Mount Airy Composite Squadron from a chance to serve their community. The inaugural Wreaths Across America wreath-laying ceremony at Pine Grove Chapel and Cemetery commenced at noon without delay. Mount Airy squadron color guard members C/2nd Lt. Dylan Marty, C/Tech. Sgt. Conner McGarrah, C/Staff Sgt. Micah Mulhern and C/Airman 1st Class Alexander Rolfe presented the U.S. and Maryland state colors at the opening of the ceremony. Over 300 community members, civilian and veteran alike, were also unfazed by the weather. Following the opening ceremony, attendees placed wreaths on each of the 290 veteran graves and spoke the name of each veteran aloud keeping the memories of their history alive.
The ceremony was organized by Tammy Ray of Babylon Vault with assistance from Rosie Beall, an honorary life member of Marine Corps League Lance Corporal Deane Detachment #770, and was one of 15 held across Carroll County honoring 1,505 veterans. Ray hopes to honor all veterans laid to rest in Carroll County in the coming years.
Wreaths Across America started quietly when Morrill Worcester of the Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, had the idea to gift surplus wreaths to Arlington Cemetery in 1992. It wasn’t until 2005 that the volunteer efforts gained national attention. The following year simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies were held in 150 locations with the help of Civil Air Patrol and other civic organizations. Today, over 1,500 locations participate in the simultaneous ceremonies domestically along with 24 national veteran cemeteries on foreign soil.
Mount Airy Composite Squadron is a composite of both senior and youth programs whose members are drawn from Carroll, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties. Have a passion for emergency response, aviation or cyber defense? Are you considering a career in the military? Want to serve your community and enhance your leadership skills? Youth ages 12 to 18, parents and adults interested in the cadet or senior program are always welcome. Our Squadron meets Wednesday nights, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at the Izaak Walton League of America, 6642 Woodville Road, Mount Airy, Md. For more information, contact commanding officer, Capt. Laura Smith-Velazquez at LSmith@cap.gov. Follow Mount Airy squadron on Facebook at https://goo.gl/wNFmdJ.
Over 1,500 CAP members serve in Maryland. Last year Maryland Wing members flew 13 search and rescue missions and were credited with four finds. Members flew an additional 32 patrol missions for Maryland totaling 2,245 flight hours in all mission categories. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at mdwg.cap.gov or follow the wing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandWingCivilAirPatrol.
Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center with saving 158 lives in the 2019 fiscal year. CAP’s 66,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education and its members serve as mentors to over 28,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.
Photo: Cadet Technical Sgt. Conner McGarrah places a wreath on one of 290 veteran graves during the first Wreaths Across America ceremony at Pine Grove Chapel and Cemetery in Mount Airy, Md., on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. Photo by 1st Lt. Elizabeth Linares Mount Airy Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol.
1st Lt. Elizabeth Linares, CAP
Public Affairs Officer
Mount Airy Composite Squadron