The renovated house will be a free bed and breakfast, and a history and education museum for visiting Gold Star Families.
COLUMBIA FALLS – National nonprofit Wreaths Across America is proud to announce the completion and grand opening of its latest education project, the Gold Star Family History & Hospitality House. The historic home, which has been under renovations over the last five years, is located next door to the nonprofit’s national headquarters and museum in Columbia Falls, Maine.
The grand opening event and a short tour were live-streamed on the organization’s official Facebook page.
The house has five bedrooms, a parlor, dining room, large living room, eat-in kitchen, sunroom, 2.5 bathrooms, and features a handicap-accessible bedroom with a full bath. In keeping with the WAA mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach, each room has been decorated to represent a period in United States history associated with a military conflict. Stepping back in time in this beautiful home, while experiencing the lifestyle of the era and further learning the personal stories of those who served in that time will be a history lesson to remember. A focal point is the 5 feet in diameter-stained glass window designed and crafted by Tennessee couple Ralph and Cheryl Campbell. The piece features a wreath encircling an eagle flying over balsam trees.
“Several years ago, a land purchase was made to secure a right-of-way and access to the Wreaths Across America headquarters – a building was donated to the organization by the community. This historic home built in 1820 was part of that purchase,” said Karen Worcester, executive director WAA. “We decided that it would make a great house for the many Gold Star families that visit throughout the year. In keeping with our mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach, each room has been renovated and decorated with care to represent a period in United States history associated with a military conflict.”
The WAA History & Hospitality House renovation effort is an endeavor that began nearly five years ago, as a place where Gold Star Families can gather and share stories with each other and the community. As part of the renovation effort, WAA is dedicating several rooms in honor of the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes.
Yesterday, the following rooms were dedicated during a small, private ceremony at the home:
Christopher J. Sullivan: The Christopher J. Sullivan bedroom honors all those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Captain Sullivan was 1st Calvary Division, United States Army serving in Baghdad, Iraq, when he was killed in action on January 18, 2005. His parents, James and Dorothy Sullivan are residents of Alexander, Maine.
Dustin J. Harris: The Dustin J. Harris Hallway of Heroes honors those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Specialists Harris was part of the United States Army 172ND Brigade Support Battalion and 172ND Stryker Brigade Combat Team serving in Bayji, Iraq, when he was killed in action on April 6, 2006. His parents, Scott and Lorna Harris are residents of Patten, Maine. Lorna is a member of the Wreaths Across America board of directors.
Past room dedications include:
The Col. Roger Donlon Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room
The Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room is the largest room in the house and the first to be completed in 2020. The room is decorated in a 1960s/1970s Vietnam War-era theme with special accents highlighting the military career of Col. Roger Donlon. Donlon became the first American soldier to receive the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, on 6 July 1964. Col. Donlon and his wife Norma have dedicated their lives to the service of our country and the communities in which their family has been stationed throughout Roger’s 30-year military career.
Brodeur Family Accessible Wing
On September 16, 2021, WAA dedicated the Brodeur Family Accessible Wing in honor and appreciation to the family for their service, sacrifice, and commitment to the values of family and Country. Their steadfast determination in assuring the best possible care for Veterans, and support for their caregivers continues to inspire our Nation’s Gold Star families, Veterans, and fellow Americans. This wing will provide accessibility for all those who wish to learn more about the Mission to Remember, Honor, Teach, and all those who have served to protect our Nation’s freedom.
“This has been a passion project of mine over the last several years,” added Worcester. “To see it finally be open to families to enjoy and the public to learn brings me so much joy and I hope others will feel the same when they enter the front door.”
The house is open for Gold Star Families to stay. Reservations can be made by calling WAA Headquarters at 207-618-5320.