Officer Wayne Drown snaps a salute while representing Gorham at Wreaths Across America in December 2018 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Courtesy photo

WESTBROOK — Gorham and Westbrook Police officers are preparing for the Wreaths Across America convoy’s first-ever stop in Gorham in honor of the late Gorham High School Resource Officer Wayne “Pooch” Drown.

Bound for Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, the Wreaths Across America convoy will make a stop at Gorham High School on Monday, Dec. 9, to pay tribute to Drown, who died unexpectedly last February.

Wreaths Across America ceremonies are planned for December in Westbrook and Buxton.

Drown took part in Wreaths Across America in 2018.

“He was so moved and impressed by his experience, he enthusiastically worked to bring the convoy to Gorham. It is through his dream that the convoy is stopping at GHS,” Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts said.

Roberts and Detective Dan Violette will represent the Westbrook department, and Sgt. Ted Hatch and Officer Dean Hannon will represent Gorham. The convoy will stop in a number of communities along its route to Virginia for wreath-laying ceremonies.

“It’s a weeklong trek and we make an average of three stops a day, those stops are typically at schools or sometimes an American Legion,” Roberts said. 

Roberts has been participating in the convoy for about 14 years. The Gorham department has been represented in the convoy for nearly all of Wreath Across America’s more than 25-year history.

“There will be 16 different police departments, 15 from Maine and one from New Hampshire, that will be doing the weeklong escort from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery,” Roberts said. 

Public events will be held in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C., before the convoy arrives at Arlington National Cemetery on the morning of Dec. 14.

“We are proud to participate in this effort. It’s a worthy cause to support our vets and Gold Star families, and we are honored to have the convoy stopping here, honoring Wayne Drown,” Gorham Police Chief Chris Sanborn said.

The convoy will stop at Gorham High School, 41 Morrill Ave., about 7:45 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9.

Residents can stand along South Street between Morrill Avenue and County Road to cheer and wave flags.

Gorham students will lead a closed ceremony about 8 a.m. inside the high school honoring Gold Star families, veterans and first responders.

On Dec. 14, Rolling Thunder Chapter 2 Maine, will lead Wreaths Across America events in Westbrook. At noon, there will be a ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery on Stroudwater Street. Following the ceremony, wreaths will be placed at the headstones of veterans interred in the Veterans Rest Area. Participants will then travel to Riverbank Park on Main Street to place wreaths at the monument there.

The South Buxton Cemetery Association will hold a Wreaths Across America ceremony at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at the cemetery on River Road. Wreaths will be laid and there will be special speakers.

Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts gives a salute at last year’s Wreaths Across America Day, Dec. 14, at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy photo

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