(MCDONOUGH, GA., January 10, 2019) – Bennett International Group and the Taylor Family Foundation concluded months of efforts to honor fallen veterans at Andersonville National Cemetery for the holiday season by laying over 15,120 wreaths during National Wreaths Across America Day on Saturday, December 15, 2018. The week began with five Bennett drivers going to Harrington, Maine to pick up wreaths from the Worcester Wreath Company, the founders of the Wreaths Across America organization. They joined truckers who delivered nearly 600 truckloads of wreaths across to 1,640 participating locations throughout the country, all committed to the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.
After arriving at Bennett’s Home Office headquarters in McDonough, Georgia, the Bennett drivers, Jonathan Kreutzer, Tom Teddy, Pat Gorman, Curtis Haney and Camren Dubois were celebrated by executives at the Rolling Ambassador Honor Breakfast. Following the breakfast, employees gathered in the company’s shop to celebrate with a Convoy Rally that featured the JROTC color guard and the Mustangs band from Ola High School, playing our National Anthem.
Mr. Kreutzer, a US Army Veteran who served in Iraq, shared his sentiments. “To be able to give back to the people that gave to us is everything. The families that don’t get to come visit their fallen loved ones, we’re here to remember these fallen soldiers, to present the wreaths for them. It is my absolute honor to be able to do this. It means the world to me, the fact that Bennett does this is amazing. I’m so appreciative that they chose me to be able to do this.”
Following the rally, the trucks left McDonough, escorted by the Georgia Sate Patrol, the Henry County Police and the Patriot Guard Riders on a soggy journey through the backroads to Americus, GA and finally stopping at Andersonville, National Cemetery to unload. The unload and staging of the wreaths was challenging for a group that the prior year had just over 3,000 wreaths. With a total wreath count of 15,120 to cover three quarters of the approximately 20,000 gravesites at Andersonville was a record number for the cemetery.
The following morning, for National Wreaths Across America Day, the weather was chilly but dry. Bennett’s Executive Vice President and Wreaths Across America captain, Lee Gentry appeared alongside Andersonville National Cemetery, Superintendent, Charles Sellars and Friends of Andersonville, Ambassador, Robert ‘Chappy’ Kelly to lead a ceremony that honored all veterans, and especially the fallen who are laid to rest at Andersonville.
“It was a very special day,” said Mr. Gentry. “I was overwhelmed by the support of our drivers, our employees and the local community in helping the cause for Wreaths Across America. Seeing nearly all of the gravesites decorated with a wreath and thinking about the sacrifices that each of those soldiers and their families made it truly humbling. I do think that we have helped the mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. I look forward to supporting Wreaths Across America next year with a goal of covering every gravesite at Andersonville. So many employees have told me that Bennett’s Patriotism Core Value came alive today and they are so excited to continue to be a part of our mission.”
It is estimated that over 100 Bennett employees and their families descended on Andersonville to join a record crowd of local supporters to begin laying wreaths on the gravesites. After each wreath was laid by people of all ages, and proper honor and tribute was paid to each soldier laid to rest there, the cemetery was left with a lasting image of respect and tribute to the soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
About Wreaths Across America
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at more than 1,600 cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information or to Sponsor a Wreath for 2019, please visit https://www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/GA0213.
About the Taylor Family Foundation
The Taylor Family Foundation is a private, family foundation established in 2012 by Marcia and her husband Mike Taylor. The foundation supports and provides grants geared towards family values, senior citizen care and community initiatives. The Taylor Family Foundation is a family endeavor. Their children and grandchildren join Marcia and Mike on the Board Committee. The goal of the Taylor family is to take a percentage of profits from their family business, Bennett International Group, each quarter and put it towards funding honorable stewardships affecting communities nationwide. The Taylor family’s values embody their commitment to the Christian Faith, the preservation of family values, the support of children in need, quality healthcare, the value of education, and commitment to helping the elderly, women and children.