MARINA, Calif. (KION) Wreaths Across America made a local stop here on the Central Coast on Thursday. This unique museum on wheels is on mission to remember, honor and teach. The trailer gives visitors the opportunity to walk through and learn more about Wreaths Across America. Inside visitors will find information and a short video, with the hope that people will leave wanting to get involved either by sponsoring a wreath or volunteering to lay a wreath on veteran's grave come December 18th.
They’ve been all across America, they’re journey starting in Maine. But this was the first time the unit has ever been in California. Stefan Brann, Mobile Education Exhibit Driver and Ambassador for Wreaths Across America, "It’s been outstanding here in California. Our attendance numbers are up, we’re seeing a lot of people come through the door. We’ve seen a lot of Vietnam Veterans who we give a pin, honor and welcome home. So, its pretty cool. California I know we are going to be back."
There were 17 stops throughout the state. At the beginning of their journey, and with only three stops down, they ran
into mechanical trouble in Huntington Beach. But that didn’t stop them from continuing their journey. Thursday, was stop number 16. Throughout the day they saw roughly 40 to 45 visitors, some of whom were Vietnam Veterans. They were honored with a welcome home pin, something some veterans say they've never received.
Brann, "We had one guy today, he was in tears; that somebody was finally recognizing. A thank you after 50 plus years."
Since they begin their journey in February, they have handed out 500 pins to Vietnam Veterans in different states, seven were given out locally on Thursday. The stop in Marina was all thanks to local Wreaths Across America Volunteer, Kathy Imamura, who requested a visit. ”I've been helping place wreaths on graves for a few years now, when I learned about it. I have been doing it ever since cause I am very passionate about our veterans, our military that have served, and this is a way we can give back to those that have passed and served our country”
One visitor, Susan Shaw said, Marina was an important city to have on the map because of the strong military presence like Fort Old and the Navel Post Graduate School. "Military is just really the heart of our country. We need these people. And they are so wonderful to defend and to do all the things they do. So many things that we don’t even know about."
Wreaths Across America will wrap up their California trip in King City on Friday.