08 December 2016
Wolfe Delights in Spreading Seasonal Spirit
Jennifer Benson, USAG Public Affairs

Photo by Jennifer Benson, USAG Public Affairs
Over the years you've seen the oversized wreath take shape at Veterans gate during the holiday season. Adorned with live greens, red ribbon and finished off with a portrait of two doves and lights, the Fort Detrick wreath is truly a work of art. Some of you may have seen the wreath come together over the years and have said to the artist, "beautiful job,” while some of you drive past and wonder how it got there.

Well, let’s meet the man behind the Fort Detrick wreath.

Jerry Wolfe has been at Fort Detrick since 1985 and is currently working as a Sheet Metal Mechanic with the Directorate of Public Works. Jerry is active in his church, as well as an avid gardener and farmer who often shares his bounty, bringing in fresh tomatoes and other vegetables for his coworkers throughout the year.

“I can’t remember who came up with the idea to fabricate the large wreath, but about the second year after I got here, which would’ve been 1987, the Sheet Metal and Welding Shop designed and built the wreath,” said Wolfe.

Each year, the wreath is erected prior to the Fort Detrick Tree Lighting event and takes several days to complete.
“It takes a good three days to work on it,” said Wolfe. “This year I had good weather, but I would do it in the rain or snow. I think it’s important and, since it’s right at the front of the gate, it has to look great.”

“It takes truckloads of pine and I tie it together with plastic ties,” Wolfe continued. “This year I used blue spruce, which is a little harder to work with, but it works so nice in the wreath. The trees were coming down, so I just use what trees I have available since they are down anyway. The blue spruce is brutal on my hands and you have to handle it carefully, but it’s worth it, the end product comes out really nice.” “This is one of my favorite things to do. If the wreath brings joy to one person then that makes me happy and keeps me going.”

Well Jerry, I think it’s safe to say that the wreath brings joy to more than just one.

If you haven’t seen it at night, it’s a beautiful piece of art work; a sign of hope and peace in a world that may seem a little hectic, especially this time of year. It’s a good reminder to stop and appreciate the beauty around you.

“It’s a pleasure doing it knowing that it will be enjoyed by the people here at Fort Detrick,” said Wolfe. “I am so blessed to do this each year because I’ve been so blessed in my life. It’s amazing how God has worked throughout my life, and it’s a joy to give back in this way.”
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