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Remembering vets by Wreaths of Honor
Robert "Bub" Desroches of Dixfield is about to begin his second year of Wreaths of Honor, placing wreaths adorned with two small American flags at the entrances to cemeteries in the River Valley and beyond as a way to honor veterans. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
REGION -- At this time a year ago, Robert "Bub" Desroches of Dixfield did fundraising to purchase 80 wreaths adorned with two small American flags, then spent December weekends placing them at the entrances to cemeteries in the River Valley and beyond as a way to honor veterans.
Calling his project Wreaths of Honor, the patriotic wreaths were placed at the entrance of all cemeteries in Rumford, most of them in Mexico, as well as cemeteries in Peru, Dixfield and Andover. Wreaths he had after this were placed at other cemeteries in three other counties. Four three-foot wreaths were also placed at area war memorials.
"A legionnaire spent a day helping me and after each wreath was place, he would salute it. It was a very gratifying experience," noted Desroches.
This weekend, Desroches will again begin the Wreaths of Honor. The project will begin on Saturday. On Sunday at 10 a.m., veterans at American Legion Post 24 in Rumford will gather with Desroches and will assist with the laying of some of these wreaths. Interested members of the public are invited to attend as well.
Desroches, who runs the Friday Night Jam at the Eagles, also works two jobs. He said he had thoughts about not doing the Wreaths of Honor this year because he did not think he'd have the time.
"But people kept after me to do this again. Last year's event went better than I could have hoped and I kept getting positive feedback," he said, noting that he decided to give up his second job during the month of December to do this project.
He recently held a fundraiser in Dixfield and raised $740. "It's amazing the generosity of people when they realize that this is for the veterans."
Along with a $100 donation from the Eagles, a possible donation from the VFW, and the donation of small American flags from Post 24 Legion, Desroches said he's approaching $1,000.
Because the money is being raised locally, he said he is purchasing the wreaths right here in the River Valley. "My goal is to place 100 wreaths this year."
Desroches will again work weekends to lay the wreaths, with the goal to complete the work by Christmas eve. "I'm not looking for recognition for this and I don't claim to be from any organization. This is from the people in honor of veterans. We support anyone who fought for the red, white and blue."
For the future, he said he would like to see Wreaths of Honor become a statewide effort -- to have wreaths placed to honor veterans at every cemetery entrance in Maine.
People who would like to assist Desroches with this effort or donate can reach Desroches at 562-8502.