Sioux Center Wreaths Across America is proud and excited to announce the selection of Elaine Leusink of Sioux Center as our new Associate Director. Elaine first heard about National Wreaths Across America a few years ago. Shortly after this she was contacted by the Sioux Center Boy Scouts that they were going to get involved with the local organization and was invited to attend the first National Wreaths Across America Day in Sioux Center back in December 2015. Leusink and her husband Bill live in Sioux Center and have four children, one son-in-law, two daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren. She notes the two of them love spending time with family and their family loves opportunities to meet and visit with our veterans.
When asked what made her want to get involved with WAA, Elaine responded, "I was just super excited about the thought of doing something for our veterans, these men and women deserve all the honor and respect that we can give them. I had been looking for a way to honor my son. I am a Gold Star Mother and my involvement with this organization and what it stands for allows me to feel close to my son and what he fought and died for."
Wreaths Across America and the Gold Star Mothers Organization have always had a great relationship nationally. As a Gold Star Mother, Elaine added this, "Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Families understand in a way that no one else can as to what military families sacrifice. When one of their son's decides to commit their lives to the military, it is a family commitment. There are times that things in our lives are second because their duty to their country comes first. Gold Star Mothers have given one of their most precious gifts to our country, so it is only natural that when the ultimate sacrifice is made, we feel extremely committed to the nation that this sacrifice was made for. Our sons' did their duty with honor and pride and we will continue to carry on that legacy any way that we can."
Sioux Center Wreaths Across America President and Director Aaron Van Beek was excited when Elaine contacted him about getting more involved with the local organization. "Elaine has brought a bunch of great ideas to our organization already since joining and I'm excited to see how these ideas will be implemented with our annual National Wreaths Across America Day Ceremony taking place on Saturday, December 16th. She knows the importance of our mission: Remember the Fallen, Honor the Brave, and Teach the Youth. She's the best person in my opinion to fulfill our mission here in Sioux Center and nationally." Sioux Center is only one of a few local cemeteries that participate - most are large State and national cemeteries. Van Beek noted that Sioux Center's organization has caught the eye of National Wreaths Across America and is excited to get the addition of Leusink out to them as well.
Van Beek brought Wreaths Across America to Sioux Center as a local organization back in 2015 and has served as President and Director for the organization since. Leusink has been helping on National Wreaths Across America Day since the beginning as well. Last year, her family was presented with a Remembrance Tree in Section 18 of the Worcester Tree Farm in Harrington, Maine. Each year, his tree will be clipped to make the thousands of wreaths that will be placed nationwide. For the past two years, between donations and other organization's fundraising efforts, both Sioux Center's Memory Gardens and Carmel's Cemetery have been fully covered - just under 400 wreaths were placed in 2016.
"Remember this.... In truth a person dies twice, once when we each stop breathing, and a second time when somebody mentions their name for the last time." Join them on December 16, 2017 at 11 AM at First Reformed Church when over one million volunteers nationwide, will say the names of a million fallen out loud, to make sure they don't have to die a second time. To learn more about Sioux Center Wreaths Across America, please visit www.siouxcenterwaa.org. To donate, visit www.siouxcenterwaa.org/sponsor.