Following National Wreaths Across America Day in 2011, 11 year old Jayci Derby visited Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, and noticed that very few of the grave sites were adorned with a wreath. Although Jayci's grandfather's grave always has an item meant for tribute and remembrance, Jayci was bothered that not all the "heroes," as she called them, were equally honored. Jayci's parents explained that many of the military members laid to rest at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery may not have family in the San Antonio area, or may have no family at all. From that moment, Jayci was determined to change the situation.
This is my story --
During the 2011 Christmas Season, I decided that there were not enough people who knew about, or understood the need to honor, our military heroes. I did some research and found Wreaths Across America, a National organization that places wreaths on graves throughout the country. I became a Youth Ambassador for Wreaths Across America, and started a local organization (under Wreaths Across America) called Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes.
With Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes established, I set out to raise money in hopes that someday there would be a wreath for every grave at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. I am also committed to honoring those who still serve our Country.
I began applying for grants, and am proud to be one of the recipients of the Silver and Black Give Back Team-Up Challenge Championship presented at a San Antonio Silver Stars game. This award gave me an opportunity to set-up a table at the Silver Stars game to educate people about Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes. I proudly display the Team-Up Champion banner at local events, and am blessed to be able to enlist the help of the Silver Stars players and mascot to promote Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes.
I also started talking about Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes to anyone who would listen. I have addressed local PTA meetings, city council meetings, large school district teacher meetings, local student bodies, Masonic lodge meetings, and have been interviewed by local TV stations. I set-up booths at craft shows, and Walmart has supported our fund raising efforts by allowing me to set-up a table outside one of their stores. I have also served food at local restaurants who have had fund raisers to support Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes.
I was proud to be the guest speaker at an elementary school Veteran's Day celebration where I asked the students to get involved with something they find a passion for; to help change their community. Most importantly I emphasized that ONE CHILD CAN make a difference.
I have enlisted what I call a "youth army" to engage other young people to join me in the effort to raise funds for Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes. I have arranged for my "youth army" and myself to wait on tables for tips and a percentage of the checks to purchase wreaths to be placed at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. I am also involved with several school Student Council organization to help with our fund raising efforts.
This year, with the communities support, I was able to raise over $19,000 for Jayci's Wreaths for Heroes. Won't you help us go over last years amount, and buy just one more wreath for $15.00 ?
You can make a difference -- Please donate today
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Wow! Jayci is an amazing "teenager" who has set her goals on doing this with a pure heart. My family had the privilege and honor to meet Jayci on a cruise a few weeks back. She is an individual that is dedicated, amazing to talk to and truly has a passion for this program. Jayci and family, I would like to thank you for allowing us to gain an understanding to this program and sharing memories in Alaska.ReplyDelete
BTW Jayci, the 2 Weeks 10 hours and 6 mins are over! Congrats!
(Becky and Lou)
Hi Mr. Dave,Delete
I thought I already replied to this message....but it isn't showing....HMMMMM.
Well, what I said was that it was so much fun to meet you and Miss Becky and your Uncle Lou and zip lining was the best. AND YES.....I am officially a teenager! Thanks for remembering.
Thank you for your nice words. It would be so much fun to see you all again when we are traveling....wouldn't that be something?
Have a lovely week and please say hello to your Uncle Lou and Miss Becky for me.
way to go.. I am proud to say I know you..ReplyDelete
God Bless and Keep you, Ms Derby.ReplyDelete
The wonderful work that you do is a testament to your bountiful joy. We are all proud of you and want to add our support to your team.
I am not yet under one of those headstones, but someday, I will be. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my adopted country.
As parents, we are bountifully rewarded to see the tenacity and good will that you spread among your friends and followers. God shall reward your efforts.
Please accept a small token of my appreciation for your work and to encourage others to do the same. God Bless you.
Alfonso Ramirez, M.D.
Major, USAF. inactive.
I want to help you out with donations and going out to help deliver wreaths Jayci!ReplyDelete
Let me know what you need and what we can help you with! :)
Please contact me at
Or at email@example.com
My name is Anahi Cinta but you can call me Ana
I just watched your segment on Texas Country Reporter. What an uplifting effort you are paying to our hero's. As a 23 year veteran of the US Navy, I can say no display to recognize our heros has touched me quite like what you're doing.ReplyDelete
God bless you young lady for what you're doing. I have no doubt you will have every headstone covered with a beautiful wreath in the very near future..
Good stuff kido. It put a smile on my face to know that there are young Patriots like your self. Thanks for what you do and God blessReplyDelete