Wreaths Across America: How I Started in my Community

Wreaths Across America: How I Started in my Community


By Suzanne Minarcine
Faculty Director for the School of Business at American Military University

My family’s military service dates back to before the Revolutionary War. My son-in-law just recently separated from the Air Force, my brother served in the Navy, and my son was in the Marines. My husband was a pilot during Vietnam, and my dad and my great-uncle both served during World War II. My dad received three Purple Hearts during his service in Italy and France, and my great-uncle was in the invasion of Okinawa on his birthday (my great-uncle is 96 and still going strong, by the way).

You get the picture. We’re a patriotic family, and we honor our veterans.

I serve on the Board of Directors for Historic Riverside Cemetery Conservancy in Macon, Georgia. Riverside Cemetery is the final resting place for over 18,000 individuals, including Civil War soldiers from both the Union and the Confederacy. I knew American Military University (AMU) participated in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery, and I had originally planned to fly up to the D.C. area.

When my dad was placed in hospice and I couldn’t travel to Virginia, the next best thing was to bring the event to Macon. Riverside Cemetery was the perfect location. With support from family and especially my daughter, we were approved by the Wreaths Across America organization and managed to quickly raise funds for 100 wreaths. Our goal for 2014 is 1,000 wreaths.

As a faculty member for AMU, I am privileged to work with the best students in the world. Many of my former students stay in contact with me, and I am so proud of how committed they are to their education and to our great country. Participating in Wreaths Across America is one way I can demonstrate my gratitude for the sacrifices made by the men and women in the armed services. I am humbled by the response from the community to this event, and the support we’ve gotten from Robins Air Force Base, as well as the local colleges and universities. We haven’t yet raised the funds for all of our planned 1,000 wreaths, but we still have a few weeks to go.

This year on December 13, I will be joined by my family, friends, some of my former AMU students and a few of our faculty members as we participate in this very moving event. Robins Air Force Base is providing the Color Guard, and Mercer University is providing the music. We are on track for a very moving event, and I am honored to have planted the seed in my community.

About the Author

Dr. Suzanne Marlowe Minarcine is a wife, mother, grandmother, community leader, musician, nurse, actor, artist, pilot, professor and Faculty Director for the School of Business at AMU, and is the 2014 recipient of the James P. Etter Award. She has successfully established and operated four businesses, including an adult day care center, a hospice and a flight school with 73 aircraft. She regularly volunteers with Historic Riverside Cemetery Conservancy and with Venture Place at The 567 Center.