Number of Participants: 24
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $811
Event Type: Veterans & Military Families
Sport: Boys Ice Hockey
Date: December 16, 2023
West Springfield High School
Piper Road, West Springfield
On Saturday, December 16th, the West Springfield High School Hockey team displayed a profound act of community service at the Agawam Veterans Cemetery in Agawam, Massachusetts. Participating in the Wreaths Across America ceremony, these young athletes showcased their commitment to honoring those who served our nation.
Organized by the WSHS Hockey Booster Club—a dedicated group of player parents—the event marked a pivotal moment of remembrance and gratitude.
Notably, a year ago, the Booster Club invested in striking camouflage uniforms, donned once a year in reverence to the valiant veterans of our nation.
Vietnam Veterans John Roberts and Rob Simpson are esteemed members of VFW Post 6714 and the Vietnam Veterans Association. Their efforts culminated in a generous combined donation of $1,500 for our hockey team from both organizations. Such contributions not only underscore the community & support for the team but also embody a broader spirit of camaraderie and respect.
The Wreaths Across America ceremony was more than a tribute—it was a poignant acknowledgment of sacrifice. Commencing at 9 am, attendees were transported from the Six Flags main parking lot to the cemetery, courtesy of the benevolent King Gray Coach Line. Upon arrival, a solemn ceremony unfolded, resonating with patriotic fervor. With tributes to various military campaigns, recitations of the Pledge of
Allegiance and God Bless America, and a soul-stirring rendition of the national anthem, the event culminated in a poignant 21-gun salute.
The subsequent act of placing wreaths on each veteran’s tombstone was deeply moving. As players and attendees wandered the cemetery, their hands filled with Christmas wreaths, the weight of remembrance and gratitude was palpable. The days proceedings concluded around noon, with participants returning to their vehicles, their hearts heavy yet uplifted by the collective act of honor.
Blessed with clear skies and temperatures in the 50s, the day was a testament to the community & warmth and unity. For the young athletes of the West Springfield High School Hockey team, this experience was transformative. It served as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by veterans—past, present, and future—and instilled in them a profound sense of duty, respect, and gratitude.
As we reflect on this commendable initiative, let us remember that acts of service and remembrance are not confined to a single day. The West Springfield High School Hockey team has set a remarkable example, reminding us all of the importance of honoring our nation’s heroes.