American Legion Post 344 Merritt Island Raising Funds for Wreaths Across America Day on Dec. 16
By Steve Wilson // November 21, 2023
Dec. 16: Remember, Honor and Teach
American Legion Post 344 in Merritt Island is raising funds for National Wreaths Across America Day, which will be held on December 16, 2023. Their goal is to place wreaths on Veterans’ graves at four local cemeteries – St. Luke’s Cemetery, Georgiana Cemetery, Indianola Cemetery, and White Lily Cemetery. (Pictured – Wreaths Across America – Cape Canaveral National Cemetery)
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – American Legion Post 344 in Merritt Island is raising funds for National Wreaths Across America Day, which will be held on December 16, 2023. The organization’s goal is to place wreaths on Veterans’ graves at four local cemeteries – St. Luke’s Cemetery, Georgiana Cemetery, Indianola Cemetery, and White Lily Cemetery.
National Wreaths Across America Day is designed to Remember, Honor, and Teach – Remember the fallen, Honor those who serve, and Teach the next generation the value of freedom.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with American Legion Post 334 volunteer, Carolyn Pincheck. She offered a personal account of two of the many Veterans that will be “Remembered.”
Laurent Pierrpont LaRoche is one of 69 Veterans buried at St. Luke’s Cemetery and was a long-time resident of the area. Pincheck told me, “LaRoche served in WWII, completed medical school after service, was the medical director for the Missile Eastern Test Range and Kennedy Space Center, and in 1956 was one of the founding Board members of Cape Canaveral Hospital. He died in 2005.”
Pincheck continued, “One of our Vietnam Veterans, Malcolm True, Jr. was killed in action on his 30th day in Vietnam. We have veterans from the Civil War – both sides, as well as several WWI vets. Our Veterans represent every branch of the service.”
Remember, these are only two stories of individuals that made sacrifices so that we could live in the greatest country in the world. It is my honor to help support this worthwhile endeavor.
Wreaths Across America ceremonies will be held all over the country on December 16, 2023. The St. Luke’s Cemetery Ceremony, located at 5555 N. Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, begins at 9:00 a.m. and the Georgiana Cemetery Ceremony, located at 3970 Crooked Mile Road, Merritt Island, begins at 11:00 a.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
American Legion Post 334 in Merritt Island is asking for your support. Donations for wreaths are now being accepted, and can be mailed to the American Legion, 400 Sykes Creek, Merritt Island, Florida, 32952. You may also donate online at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/FL0780.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Wilson was born in DeRidder, Louisiana and grew up in both New Orleans and Macon, Georgia. He moved to Brevard County in 1984 and retired from local government as the Community Advocate/Assistant to the City Manager with the City of Rockledge in 2018.
Among the awards and accolades Steve has received over the years are 15 + year Rockledge Little League volunteer, Brevard Public School Jefferson Award Recipient, Rockledge High School Raider Booster Award 2001, 2006, City of Rockledge Employee of the Year 2006, Rockledge Kiwanian of the Year 2006-2007, City of Rockledge Quality Public Service Award 2008, 2012, 2017, Rockledge Kiwanis Citizen of the Year 2012-2013, Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame – Sportscasting 2015, Rockledge High School Leadership and Service Award 2016, Central Florida Humanitarian Award 2017, Space Coast Inspiration Award – 2018, Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame – Lifetime Achievement – 2020 and Ecofest Achievement Award – 2022.
Wilson is especially proud of his chairing two fundraisers in support of pediatric cancer research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in honor of Merritt Island resident Julie Spurlock that raised over $25,000.00.
He has been a partner, along with Orville Susong, for the past 24 years with the Friday Night Locker Room, a broadcasting team that covers and reports on a wide variety of local events that are of significance to the residents of the Space Coast and beyond. Their mission is to promote youth sports, support first responders and law enforcement personnel, and showcase community and charitable events that are produced by our nonprofit partners in central Florida.
The Friday Night Locker Room has awarded hundreds of sports achievement plaques to Brevard County student-athletes over the years. They have also awarded more than $18,000 in academic scholarships to Brevard County high school seniors.