Wreaths 2.0

Last year, my aunt invited us to participate in a new family tradition:  laying wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery for the holidays.  I felt like laying wreaths would be a wonderful way to honor our service men and women and a good family thing, and I’m excited to do it again this coming weekend.

Every year through an organization called Wreaths Across America, 24,000 wreaths are handmade in Maine and travel 750 miles to Arlington to be placed on graves.  The 24,000 wreaths don’t cover every grave, so certain sections are selected each year for wreaths to be distributed.  This year is special because section 60 will be included and if you’re not familiar, section 60 is where the 9/11 victims from the Pentagon are located.  For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about our old friend Kip Taylor who was lost on that day, and I can’t wait to put a wreath on his grave.  Although section 60 is special in my eyes, there are other sections that are included which are equally as important – it should just be moving to place a wreath on the headstone of someone we actually knew.

Volunteers getting their wreaths.

My dad, handing out wreaths.

Soldiers coming to help.

The finished product.

I’m just really looking forward to Saturday, getting up early and hanging with me family and honoring our heroes.  It really is an honor and I’m so grateful that I get to experience such a powerful tradition.

Happy holidays!

Alive Day

I’d never heard of  “Alive Day,” but I stumbled upon it on HBO today and was moved to share it.  The documentary surveyed 10 Soldiers and Marines who narrowly escaped death in Iraq and was incredible to watch.  It definitely puts life into perspective…

Amazing.

Lately.

Someone (Shannon!), has been on my case about my lack of updates lately, so I figured I would take a rainy Sunday morning to catch up.  I’ve been busy (and in love), so what can I say?!

Here is the latest…in pictures.

Shannon made a surprise trip to VA for Thanksgiving and I got to see her for a quick lunch. Yay!

Got tickets in the box to see the BB&T classic @ Verizon center. The game of the night was Maryland v Villanova and it was awesome. Love college basketball, no matter what the team!

Chris & me @ the Maryland/Villanova game.

Tracy & me showing support to the Army as we waited to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.

We got to participate in "Wreaths Across America" and lay wreaths on graves @ Arlington. It was quite an experience...and a beautiful day.

Those are my “fun pictures” of the moment.

In between all of that stuff I’ve just been working, finishing up the semester (done next week!!!!), and hanging out with Chris.  Life is busy, but better than it’s been in years and filled with love, laughter and fun.

Friday is Big

002346BSo I’m excited to say that on Friday, I will see one of my very first big projects come to life at work.

I was put in charge of coordinating a blood drive for our hotel, and after six weeks of planning, the drive has finally arrived.  With over 600 employees at our hotel, we have the potential to donate a priceless gift in mass quantity, so I was excited when I was able to take the lead.  Not to mention I’m passionate about the cause in general and have been donating blood since I was 18.

My initial meeting with the Red Cross had us hoping for 20 pints of donated blood.  That would require 22-23 donors.  Apparently in the years past there have only been 11-12 sign ups which resulted in about 10 pints.  While that’s all well and good, I was determined to knock that goal out of the park.

So, we started with 25 spots to sign up, and I am happy to say that after a month of recruiting, we have 54 people signed up to donate.  With the help of our Employment Manager, we have managed to more than triple past years sign ups!  Even if only 50% of the people who signed up actually show up, it will still be a success!

I’ve even managed to wrangle some Washington Nationals tickets to raffle off to donors which is just an extra bonus and reward for them doing something fantastic.

I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself.  I created these awesome reminder cards Clipart Picture of a Blood Drop Mascot Cartoon Character Dressed as a Super Heroyesterday that were hot pink and read “Thanks for signing up to be a hero” with a superhero blood drop on the front, and the details about their scheduled appointment time and other instructions personalized on the back.

I’m still hoping to reach our initial goal of 20 pints, and if we exceed anything past that then I’ll be ecstatic.

Here’s to doing good, giving back, and saving lives!