Mortuary Science Club helps honor veterans

Hunter Wallace
News Editor


The Mortuary Science Club raised money in the campus center to honor fallen soldiers with a wreath.

Students from Hudson Valley’s Mortuary Science Club held a bake sale fundraiser in the Siek Campus Center from last Thursday to this Monday to benefit the annual Wreaths Across America program.

In addition to the sale of baked goods, donations for wreaths were also accepted. Just one gift of $15 paid for a wreath to honor a fallen hero.

On Dec. 16, wreaths will be placed on military graves across America, including the Gerald B. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville.

“Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992,” said Department Chair for Mortuary Science and Mortuary Science Club adviser Lori Purcell.

Purcell continued, “The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at hundreds of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad.”
Students in the Mortuary Science program are taught all aspects of funeral service, such as burials of loved ones, including veterans.

This is the second year the Mortuary Science Club has been involved with Wreaths Across America. Purcell also added that this was the first bake sale that aided in bringing awareness of this cause to the college community.

“Last year, the students donated and raised enough to place 30 wreaths at Saratoga National Cemetery,” Purcell said. “This year, with the bake sale, the college communities donations and the students’ fund raising efforts in their communities, to date we have raised over $1500. The volunteers from the Mortuary Science department will [also] donate over 100 wreaths.”
Money raised from this fundraiser will be collected by the college and sent to the official Wreaths Across America website.

Wreaths will be trucked to different cemeteries and volunteers will place them on veterans’ graves. This will be the second year the Mortuary Science instructors and several students will be there to honor veterans by placing a wreath, after last year when 172 companies delivered over 359 loads of wreaths, Purcell said.

“It is definitely a learning experience,” Purcell stated. “The students learn to support the community and give back. What better way to honor the service of a loved one and remember their sacrifice than by sponsoring a wreath in their honor or in their memory?”

This bake sale is not the only fundraising event students have participated in recently.

“The students are very active and have done several fundraisers,” Purcell said. “[In] 2017, the students had a bake sale during Pumpkin Palooza and won first place for the second year on the pumpkin entry. They used the money raised from the bake sale to offset the cost of a recent trip to the Mutter Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary/Terror Behind the Walls, both in Philadelphia.”

Purcell added, “The students have been involved with the Hudson Valley student Food Pantry contest for the past seven years and hope to win first place in 2018. Currently, they are [also] involved in a ornament contest in the department.”

This year was a success for Mortuary Science. The program exceeded all expectations and each student in the program, plus their families, donated wreaths. Several local organizations, such as funeral homes, fire departments and Chad’s Hair Salon, also donated to the fundraiser.

The Mortuary Science department is proud to be able to support Wreaths Across America and believes the program demonstrates a key aspect of funeral service.

“[It] has been an honor for our department to be part of Wreaths Across America,” Purcell said. “The Mortuary Science faculty, club officers and students take great pride in their involvement with the campus community and the community at large. Funeral service is an industry that honors a life lived, and we are there to help and educate the public.”

To learn more about Wreaths Across America, visit

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