Tactical Tailor

Wreaths Across America to Dedicate the Colonel Roger Donlon Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room at its History & Hospitality House in Maine

Col. Donlon, United States Army Special Forces (Retired), was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War

COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine – Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020 – On Saturday, Oct. 3, Wreaths Across America (WAA) will dedicate the Colonel Roger Donlon Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room at its newly renovated History & Hospitably House located next door to the nonprofit’s national headquarters in Columbia Falls, Maine.

Colonel Donlon became the first American soldier to be awarded 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 service of this country and the communities in which their family has been stationed throughout Roger’s 30-year military career.

“Norma and I are honored and proud to participate in the dedication of this special room.  As a Vietnam era Gold Star Wife, Norma is grateful to WAA for providing a place where families can gather when visiting to participate in the Remembrance Tree Program,” said Col. Donlon. “As Blue Star parents of three sons who have served our country, we encourage others to visit WAA and enjoy the warm hospitality of the Worcester Family and all those involved with the mission to Remember… Honor… Teach.”

The Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room is the latest of the WAA History & Hospitality House room projects to be completed by WAA since starting this endeavor nearly three years ago, and is the largest room in the house, chosen because of the space it offers for local Vietnam Veterans to gather and share stories with each other and the community.

“Several years ago, a land purchase was made to secure a right-of-way and access to the Wreaths Across America headquarters – a building 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 and Blue Star families, and veterans that visit throughout the year. In keeping with our mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach, each room is being renovated and decorated to represent a period in United States history associated with a military conflict.”

As ambassadors for Wreaths Across America, and active participants in the program in their hometown of Leavenworth, KS, the Donlon’s have become very involved in the mission over the last several years. They first traveled to Maine in 2017 to help with the opening of the similarly named Vietnam ‘Welcome Home’ Exhibit at the National Wreaths Across America Museum. That same year, the couple also served as honorary co-grand marshals for the annual escort to Arlington National Cemetery. Most recently in 2018, they participated in the dedication of the Medal of Honor Remembrance Park, which is an 8-acre park located on the tip land where balsam is harvested to make veterans’ wreaths each year for placement on National Wreaths Across America Day.

“Not only is Roger an American hero, but he and Norma, are dear friends who have become part of the Wreaths Across America family,” added Worcester. “To have them be here together for this event, and give others the opportunity to learn from them as we have had the honor to do, is truly humbling.”

To view a short video on why the mission matters to the Donlon’s click here.

To learn more about Col. Roger Donlon’s service and the actions that lead to his receiving the Medal of Honor, please click here.

4 Responses to “Wreaths Across America to Dedicate the Colonel Roger Donlon Vietnam War ‘Welcome Home’ Room at its History & Hospitality House in Maine”

  1. chris says:

    I read his story years ago as a kid. Was it in a CB Colby book?

    • AbnMedOps says:

      I met COL Donlon, by chance, at a book signing event outside the SF Museum, some years ago. I got his book (signed), and asked if he would sign the Medal Of Honor book (of living MOH recipients), which sat in my office nearby. COL Donlon humorously told me that his schedule had not matched up with the book’s photographer, so he missed being included in that edition when published. His neighbor came over with the book and said “Hey, Donlon, for years everybody’s been saying you got the Medal of Honor, but you aren’t in this book! Are you one of those “stolen valor” fakes???”