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December 13, 2018

SUNY Empire Honors U.S. Veterans at Wreaths Across America

Image from the Wreaths Across America Ceremony
At Wreaths Across America, SUNY Empire alumna Dawn Williams ’06 salutes, and employee Joan DuBois covers her heart, immediately after laying wreaths at the graves of veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Wreaths Across America’s mission, “Remember our fallen U.S. Veterans, Honor those who serve, Teach your children the value of freedom,” was on full display Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.

Again this year, SUNY Empire State College’s local participation in this national event was organized by its Office of Veteran and Military Education.

Of the 1.5 remembrance wreaths placed nationally, more than 12,500 were placed at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, in Schuylerville, N.Y., by many by members of the SUNY Empire community.

According to Wreaths Across America’s website, “In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We hope you will join us at any of our more than 1,400 participating locations to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget.”

Alumna Dawn Williams ’06, a retired officer with the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision who teaches criminal justice at the Capital Region BOCES and works as a dispatcher for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Police, placed several wreaths.

Three of Williams’ seven brothers served in the military, two in Vietnam. An uncle and her father served during WWII. Williams’ son, Ronald Craft, is currently on active duty.

Joan DuBois, who works the front desk at the college’s 2 Union Ave. Location, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., participated with her husband, Kevin DuBois.

DuBois’s father served in Korea and her son, Travis Murtland, serves on active duty with the “Screaming Eagles,” the Army’s elite 101st Airborne Division. Husband Kevin’s father served in Vietnam.

Looking out at thousands of wreath-covered grave stones, some sentiments shared by the DuBois included “… awe-inspiring, very impressive …”

Pamela Malone, the college’s director of student accounts, joined Anita Lindemann, a retention services specialist, and Donna Carey, a staff associate, in volunteering to lay wreaths.

Of the many Lindemann laid, one was for her father-in-law, Ronald G. Lindemann ’96, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and died in August 2017.

Carey, who also had an arm full of wreaths, laid one for her father, Charles Hawkins, who served as a second lieutenant in the Army and passed away in July 2017.

Wreaths Across America traces its roots to 1992, when Morrill Worcester, a wreath-maker from Maine had 5,000 extras. Rather than letting them go to waste, Worcester donated the wreaths as a gift of thanks for the service and sacrifice made by America’s veterans.

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