Ottawa – Over the morning hours of Sunday, November 28, 2021, nearly 3000 wreaths were stolen from the family property of Robert and Jodie Tessier. The Tessiers has rallied the community of Maxville to fabricate 6,024 wreaths over the course of the last few months, under the new leadership of Wreath Across Canada.

However, the theft of the nearly 3000 wreaths has put the total coverage of the National Military Cemetery of Canada at risk. Wreaths Across Canada (WRAC) is still determined to move ahead with our Ceremony on December 5, 2021, at 1:30 PM at the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces.

We would simply ask that whoever stole the wreaths return them to the Maxville property by December 2 2021 so we can honour the over 2,500 veterans in the other 3 sections of the National Military Cemetery. We are also hoping to get volunteers to help us finish the wreaths either at the Maxville property by helping the Tessiers or at Beechwood to finish the trimmings of the wreaths.

An example of the grapevine wreath.

We had planned to complete the 6,024 wreaths before delivery to Beechwood. WRAC has seen support from individual donors and corporate sponsors, and we are proud to offer this event at no cost to Canadian Military Families. We honour their service and their sacrifice and look to provide a meaningful ceremony as we approach the holiday season. Although this theft has damped our spirits, we remain resolved and ready to move forward and continue the development and growth of WRAC in the coming years.

Witnesses Asked to Contact

Anyone with information, including seeing vehicles in the area or the wreaths showing up for sale, are asked to call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or contact Seaway Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or seawayvalleycrimestoppers.ca.

Wreaths Across Canada

Wreaths Across Canada has a vision and a renewed commitment to providing a meaningful holiday service to connect the current, retired,d and past members of the Canadian Armed forces and their families with all Canadians. Wreaths Across Canada Inc. is a non-profit organization started in 2007 by Craig McPhee, a veteran of the Canadian Forces.

After a visit to Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, McPhee was moved by how American servicemen and women are honoured each December by the placing of a wreath at the base of headstones. Wreaths Across America is the organization responsible for the annual commemoration.

After years of hard work to gain support and approval, McPhee’s dream of creating an organization to honour Canadian veterans was fulfilled. Wreaths Across Canada Inc., is a registered Canadian Charitable Corporation with a Board of Directors. WRAC mission is to remember the contributions of Canadian military personnel, and their families who lie in military cemeteries across Canada.

Seeking Volunteers

Option 1) Dressing the Wreaths

When: Saturday December 5th

Time: Shifts 9am-12pm, 12pm-3pm, 3pm-5pm

Located: The Beechwood Cemetery (inside) – proof of vaccination required

This is the final step in the wreath preparation, volunteers will be adding the greenery and decorating the wreaths with natural accents. It requires minimal physical labour.

Register with Erika, ewagner@beechwoodottawa.ca

Option 2) Creating the Wreaths

When: Any day before Friday

Time: Any time

Located: Maxville (outside in tents)

Volunteers will take the grape wine and twist it into a beautiful wreath shape. The vine can be stubborn, so thick gardening gloves is required. It is a medium physical labour task.

Register with Erika, ewagner@beechwoodottawa.ca

Option 3) Harvesting the Vines

When: Any day before Friday

Time: Any time

Located: Maxville (outside in field)

Under supervision of the lead wreath maker Bobby Tessier, volunteers will go around within the community to harvest vines for the wreaths. It is a labour-intensive task.

Register with Erika, ewagner@beechwoodottawa.ca

Option 4) Placing the wreaths in the National Military Cemetery

When: Sunday Dec 5th  

Time: 1:30pm

Located: The Beechwood Cemetery

Volunteers will gather at the National Military Cemetery of Canada to lay wreath on the military headstones in that area. There will be a short ceremony at 1:30, flowing that the wreath laying will start.

Register for this at https://wrac.ca/