Georgia Wing Vice Outs Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America spoke CAP Col Frank Blazich countered by Georgia Wing's Lt Col Jeff O'Hara

By Helen Wheels | AuxBeacon News Contributor

Civil Air Patrol’s Frank Blazich, who just resigned as CAP National Historian, has re-appeared as a “Frank says parrot” for the Wreaths Across America charity scam.

AuxBeacon readers might need a refresher on Frank Blazich, who was previously involved in the tail end of the coverup of the Jim Shaw and CAP History Foundation theft that involved the sale of Civil Air Patrol artifacts for personal profit. Former CAP Inspector General Merle Starr and former National Commander Maj Gen Chuck Carr issued rulings against Jim Shaw that were concealed from the public while a reprisal was orchestrated against Lt Col Mark Hess who properly and formally reported the theft during the run up to the Total Force announcement.

After Blazich’s reprehensible emails were exposed, Civil Air Patrol took no immediate action to remove him from his position as CAP National Historian and only recently has he resigned from that post.

In a stunning counter to Blazich’s latest maneuver with the Wreaths scam charity, Georgia Wing Vice Commander Lt Col Jeff O’Hara came out openly against this corrupt CAP leadership practice to say that Wreaths Across America is not good for the ethics or public image of Civil Air Patrol and that our membership has been duped.

O’Hara’s condemnation appeared on CAPTalk as follows:

Lt Col Jeff O’Hara of Georgia Wing voices out against Civil Air Patrol involvement with Wreaths Across America

Wow. O’Hara’s “frank” post is supported by those articles previously shared on AuxBeacon, such as this one by Stacy Johnson and another by Mary Cummins. In her December 17, 2016 evaluation, Cummins made the following assessment.

A for-profit wreath company invents “Wreaths Across America day” and starts non-profit “Wreaths Across America.” The day is the third Saturday of December which landed on my birthday today. They get Veterans groups, Christmas lovers to donate money to basically buy wreaths from them which they get volunteer truck drivers to deliver and [Civil Air Patrol] volunteers to dump them on Veterans’ graves for free positive publicity, advertising.

While the business has noted the conflict with the non-profit nobody bothers to research or read that information. They only see the feel good story, veterans, Christmas. This is obviously a $20,000,000 money making “Wreaths Across America” scam made by for-profit Worcester Wreath Co, Morrill Worcester, Karen Worcester.

Wreaths Across America has been reported for diversion of assets to the IRS.

They charge more than what other wreath companies would charge. They now use cheap migrant labor instead of locals. They have violations for illegal clear cutting of acres of trees. What’s even worse is that they get volunteer truck drivers, wreath placers to deliv er and place the wreaths on the graves!

When they sell the wreaths to regular people they have to pay to ship them. They also get hundreds of thousands of dollars of free publicity and media because people think they are a charity that helps Veterans at Christmas.

Wreaths Across America made $23,000,000 from 2010 to 2015. Based on the 86.5% above going directly to Worcester Wreaths that means Morrill, Karen Worcester made $20,000,000 off this scam in six years alone!

“The Worcester companies have incurred $95,000 in fines for violations of Maine tree harvesting regulations. Worcester Peat Co. Inc. is in the peat harvesting business. According to the Maine secretary of state, the shareholders for that company are Morrill Worcester, his wife, Karen, and (daughter) Pamela Slav en, all of Columbia Falls. Morrill Worcester is named as the manager of Worcester Holdings, LLC. It is described as a property land holdings company in the 2008 annual report of the Maine secretary of state.”

Their site says “When you donate to WAA your money goes to a wreath first, and we operate on the small margin remaining after purchasing and placing that wreath.” This makes it very obvious that most of the money goes directly to the for-profit business Worcester Wreaths. Here is their nice graphic. This graphic is the Worcester Wreath company bragging about how much money they made in this scam.

Civil Air Patrol

My grandpa and other relatives are buried at military cemeteries. I will contact them and make sure no WAA is ever placed on their graves. This company uses dead veterans to make money.

Read More

Related Stories:
CAP Members Critical of Wreaths Across America
CAP Wreaths Across America Pamphlet
Should You Donate to Wreaths Across America?
Charity Reviews
The Wreaths Across America Scam
Wreaths Across America Tax Returns

27 Comments on "Georgia Wing Vice Outs Wreaths Across America"

  1. Once again a Corporation is making money off American children and dead veterans. It is also using tax payer funded vehicles operated by the Civil Air Patrol to deliver their product that they sold…

    Our leadership is telling us that we have to go out and do this route Wreath across America deal. In order to honor veterans. If you really want to honor veterans go clean up their grave sites in the spring or go help out at the VA clinic but I suppose those aren’t sexy enough from the public affairs folks at national headquarters and there’s no profit margin to be made.

  2. Avatar Spooky Snoopy | October 31, 2018 at 20:08 | Reply

    Today is Halloween and I see the Christmas trees and decorations starting to be laid out in the craft stores. This prompts me to remind you of Lt Col Jeff O’Hara’s valiant effort in November of last year. I sent you an update.

  3. Avatar OHaraPicture | May 29, 2018 at 22:38 | Reply

    Many, many months ago we sent you a much better and more current picture of Lt Col Jeff O’Hara in USAF Mess Dress Your editors never swapped it out.

  4. Avatar Wreath Image | May 7, 2018 at 11:02 | Reply

    You CAP Members may view Lt Col Jeff O’Hara as a fire-brand who had the courage to speak out above his chain of command [Andrea van Buren, Barry Melton and Mark Smith] on how Wreaths Across America is harming your public image.

    But I say that Civil Air Patrol with all its abusive people and plane crashes is the one harming the public image of Wreaths Across America.

  5. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a scam, but a deceitful way to make money for the upper leadership and the wreath company. We have to push the cadets out on the cold street corners, store fronts, neighborhoods to sell these things. We (squadrons) rarely ever get to keep the funds. It’s national’s way of volunteer fundraising for THEIR benefit. Members particularly the cadets do most of the work. At least national could do would be to publish a report to the public and membership where the WAA funds specifically end up in the organization.

    • Avatar Just Plain Joe | January 26, 2018 at 19:45 | Reply

      So your main complaint is that local squadrons aren’t getting a cut?

      We could just stop exploiting dead veterans for a private company that abuses the concept of a nonprofit for personal gain. Not a scam? Really?

      Integrity and ethics is something you’re supposed to strive for.

  6. Last Saturday, volunteers in the National Wreaths Across America Day, supported by the Civil Air Patrol, placed over a million Christmas wreaths and greenery on the graves of veterans across the nation. Scam or no scam, WAA prevailed once again. So there Aux Beacon!

  7. I always wanted to hoist the BS flag on WAA. Now we can hoist the O’Hara flag and rally ’round that! Check it out.
    Civil Air Patrol Jeff O'Hara Flag

  8. WAA has probably been a bigger mistake than the NASCAR deal. To be fair, I have a feeling that Blazich is being more of a company guy here for CAP than anything sinister. It’s the people who tied CAP to WAA and who keep it tied to WAA whose motives should be questioned. And where is WAA to explain itself?

  9. Avatar Wreath Watchers | December 8, 2017 at 04:38 | Reply

    You can add Daniel Borochoff of CharityWatch to the others listed under newest assessment from Jeff O’Hara. Borochoff has not retracted his opinion of Wreaths Across America.

    “This arrangement is very wrong and appears to be a conflict of interest. If other companies can sell wreaths for $1 or $2 less, as cited in the article, than the charity ought to be buying from them, rather than from the company owned by leaders of the charity. It is very difficult for the executive director to make decisions in the best interest of the charity when her husband’s business receives up to 80% of its revenue from the charity. Wreaths Across America appears to be serving as a sales organization or nonprofit subsidiary of Worcester Wreath Company and therefore does not appear to deserve its tax-exempt status.

    Donors ought to seriously consider whether the best way to honor veterans is to funnel money to a company, which uses it to prop up its profits and lay wreaths that are soon thrown away or to support charities that provide vital aid and useful services to help injured veterans live healthy and productive lives.” – Daniel Borochoff, CharityWatch

  10. Avatar Cancellation? | December 7, 2017 at 20:13 | Reply

    The WAA website posted this odd message. Can you verify?

    “Unfortunately, the Living History Project is being cancelled this year (2017) due to circumstances beyond our control. We kindly ask you to refrain from going to Arlington National Cemetery or any National Cemetery dressed in period uniform. Thank you for your understanding!”

    [Admin: We see it at /livinghistory. Thank you for your contribution.]

  11. CAP National must think that the members have 5 minute memories.

  12. This Wreaths Across America story is important to me because of who and what appears to have spawned the program’s growth and who may be profiting around Washington County, Hancock County and Androscoggin County Maine.

    I understand that you are just aggregating other sources, BUT

    * Have you collected all those who came out against WAA to show that this is not your spin?
    See what I have so far in the list below. Use it if you can.

    * Have you considered all the local nurseries/vendors harmed by the WAA centralization?

    * Have you looked into land holders and deal brokers connected to Maine and Civil Air Patrol?

    * Have you seen the Living History marketing baloney, as Mary Cummins showed?

    Finally, why have our senior military and political leaders not checked out this organization before committing to participate in the photo-ops? As (God Bless him) Jeff O’Hara said about the membership, we seemed to have been duped at the highest levels too.

    I am eager to contribute to whatever you have assembled, here is what I have. Do with it whatever you think best.

    Jeff O’Hara, through CAP Talk, 27 November 2017
    “I don’t like what it is doing to us ethically.”

    Wikipedia, Arlington Cemetery, Wreaths Across America
    “Conflict of interest charges have been made… several competitors had asked to bid significantly below the price offered by Worcestor Wreath Company but were denied access.”

    Cass Wheeler, Give.Org, 15 November 2017

    Mary Cummins, 15 December 2016

    Michael M. Phillips, Wall Street Journal, 21 December 2015

    A. J. MacDonald, Jr., 12 December 2015

    Stacey Johnson, MoneyTalksNews, 10 December 2015

    Sandra Miniutti, Charity Navigator, 10 December 2015

    Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily, 21 April 2014

    Public Affairs officer at Arlington: “There is no scam and there is no issue.”

    Aux Beacon (AB) is stridently asserting the Wreaths Across America (WAA) is a scam. Aux Beacon does not substantiate that with its “supporting” links. Reasonable questions have been raised about whether the boundaries between Worcester Wreath Company (WW) and WAA have been strictly observed. That is not the same as a scam. A question is not an answer. There may be an investigation. An investigation is not a conviction.

    This would be a scam: WW establishes the non-profit WAA. WAA collects money to place wreaths on the graves of veterans. WAA takes in the money, but delivers no wreaths to Arlington or any other cemetery. Or maybe they take and place 200 wreaths, they take a photo for promo purposes that makes it look like they have covered a lot more. Put another way: WW takes in money under one pretense and does not deliver. That’s a scam. And it’s not what’s going on.

    And right under the noses of the authorities at Arlington and around Washington???? Really? If that were the case, Arlington would probably at least have suspended WAA and backed away from any implicit endorsement. It does not appear Arlington has done this. In fact, hundreds of thousands of wreaths have been delivered and placed, the number growing every year. A December 16 ceremony is going forward. Has anyone at AB called Arlington administration about this? I did. I spoke to a person in public affairs who told me, “WAA is not a scam and there is not an issue.”

    CAP probably had a significant role in the rapid growth of WAA as it became a major means of national wreath distribution and placement. CAP receives percentage toward its fundraising efforts. Someone designed this as a win-win for both organizations and WAA went on steroids. No matter what someone might think about CAP corruption (and there is plenty of that to be exposed), it’s a stretch to see this as a bad thing.

    It’s possible there may be no violation here. Not a lawyer, but it could be found that accusations are false, or that there are conflicting on non-existent laws or regulations governing this situation. Whatever the situation, when an organization like WAA is successful in doing good, there may be discipline and correction, but no good reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is apparently what AB and some of its correspondents would like to accomplish. Why?

    This is what we do have:

    For 26 yrs, WW and LL Bean pioneered and partnered in the holiday greens market. Both companies were stressed by the 2008 financial meltdown, apparently both had to reorganize through bankruptcy. There was a large inventory of unsold greens. A dispute arose about which entity should take the loss for this. It went to court. WW won a $1M settlement. Unfortunately, this appears to have led to a divorce between WW and Bean. Mainers don’t like to see such conflict, which is like a painful family fight to them. Maine is a poor state. When its citizens resourcefully launch a successful enterprise, usually founded and grown on a foundation of quality, Mainers are proud, though, of course, there are always those who are jealous.

    Whether WAA was immediately founded or evolved out of responses to a small volunteer charity under WW really doesn’t matter. WW funded and organized the start-up, donated large quantities of wreaths and shipping.

    Any questions raised are raised by material WAA posted in compliance with regulations and laws. Do you really think WAA would be that transparent in its record or promotions if they thought they had any liability here? There’s no cover-up. Again, some clean up may be in order, but not a demolition. Not the same as the extreme accusations AB is making.

    If you want to make a point about CAP history outreach, you might point out that the present national commander is asking members to promote CAP’s history. The CAP historians have a documented history of sabotaging promising history outreach, rather than supporting it. A 2011 CAP IG complaint found members of the history program and people in the leadership guilty of theft and cover up. The complaint was not sustained by Gen Carr, the accused undisciplined, though they remain as members even if no longer in the history program. The whistleblower’s membership was terminated despite a powerful defense supported by about 50 documents. The chairman of the review panel, a lawyer by profession, recused himself from the case on the eve of the final hearing. The story may seem old, but the issues are not resolved. Sadly, stories of this type are all too common in the CAP. AB starts to cover this, but this WAA coverage is so all-over-the-place it’s hard to know where AB is trying to go with this.

  14. FYI, Conflict of interest charges have been made against Wreaths Across America because this charity has an exclusive for-profit supplier, Worcestor Wreath Company, also run by the Morrill family in the same town. The charity’s purchases of wreaths from this company account for most of the company’s revenue and profits.

    In late 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported serious conflicts of interest with potential malfeasance in governance and contracting. In 2015 alone the WSJ reported profits of over $1 million on sales of over 850,000 wreaths to the charity raising concerns about competitive bidding, reporting that several competitors had asked to bid significantly below the price offered by Worcester Wreath Company but were denied access.

  15. Avatar Your History | December 5, 2017 at 16:18 | Reply

    Len Blascovich did far more for CAP history than this showboat has done.

  16. “Fucking dumbass rednecks… that’s what these people strike me as. BTW, my blog’s ads are generating money now… all of $1.18. I need people to click on the ads, haha.” – Frank Blazich, Jr.

  17. How much longer must this charade, on the backs of taxpayers, go on?

  18. And then along comes Mary Cummins to bravely point this out as a service to exploited members of Civil Air Patrol. I remember when weenie CAP commanders started pressuring the more well-to-do pilots in our Wing to hit up their friends at the airport, thinking they had lots of money for the taking. The pilots, even those stuck forever flying CAP 172s, pushed back hard and there was muttering resentment from the money minions.

  19. If Jeff O’Hara were to point you to a link of a picture that he liked more than this one, would you swap it out for him?

    [Admin: Sure!]

  20. Bully for Jeff O’Hara because I agree with him for siding with AB and private citizens in their effort to expose this scam over the past two years going back to December 2015.

    In related news, I am confused as to who is in command with the odd relationship between former USAF Eagle-driver Mark E. Smith and the washout pilot Historian Frank Blazich. I recently watched Smith either debase himself or overstep his knowledge by speaking for CAP National Historian Frank Blazich in this YouTube video:

    Did Frank Blazich fail to coordinate with wings to preserve Civil Air Patrol history during his tenure? Or did he, perhaps, take a lesson from Jim Shaw and collect it into his personal files to be distributed piecemeal at times of his choosing so that he could hold on to his authority longer?

    That the Civil Air Patrol National Commander has to clean up and speak for his superior, Dr. Frank Blazich is a sad indicator of our demise in how members can be abused and commanders can be “leveraged”

  21. According to NOTF, Shannon Daly, a South Shore Charter student in Massachusetts, has worked with her Civil Air Patrol squadron in Plymouth to send care packages to our deployed troops. Uniformed teens from the Gastonia Civil Air Patrol squadron collected about 400 new toys donated by Linda McCusker at her Gastonia home on Nov. 25th, They later transported the toys to the U.S. Marine Corps League’s Toys for Tots collections warehouse, from where they will be donated to needy children.


  22. I was never particularly impressed with Jeff O’Hara in comparison to Dan Fischer, Brian Berry or Mike Reed. However, Jeff O’Hara has spoken boldly and truthfully on this issue. Many of us reading agree with him. I doubt he knows Frank Blazich personally, but his true comments do hit Frank and others in the pocketbook.

    Kudos for this new courageous direction for Jeff.

  23. So much for ethics and the idea of being honest, having integrity, and honor. The rationalization that such behavior is justified reveals how far our society has fallen. I’m mostly surprised and disappointed that those who claim to value our veterans have become so immoral and who unwittingly work to undermine our vets. It is a shame and shameful behavior.

  24. WAA is a for-profit family owned company that has family and CAP members on the board of Wreaths Across America. Civil Air Patrol Col. Dan LeClair is on the WAA Board. Serious conflict of interest.

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