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:
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.
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.
• 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
I’ve sent you a new story about Civil Air Patrol, Moonies and Wreaths Across America.
This is a year old and not sure if you only care if white American college girls are being used in this way, but I still think I will try to get the story out on your site. Will you post it? They were terminated for reporting it.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Nice colors! And yeah, O’Hara is a real Spitfire. Someone was looking for a better pic, eh?
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
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.]
CAP National must think that the members have 5 minute memories.
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
I’ve read Lt Col Jeff O’Hara’s input and I get why this is being discussed in a furball. Would the AuxBeacon editors be willing to post this link to a 2015 Daily Caller article that attempted to counter some material in the Washington Post Story from 2015?
FWIW, I lean toward agreement with O’Hara, the effort and funds could be delivered to something less cosmetic, more forward-thinking and longer lasting. Discussion and evaluation is warranted.
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.
Len Blascovich did far more for CAP history than this showboat has done.
– Frank Blazich, Jr.
How much longer must this charade, on the backs of taxpayers, go on?
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.
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?
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”
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.
THESE ARE WORTHY CAUSES.
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.
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.
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.