Sgt. Tommy “Splinters” Olson of the North Pole Wooden Soldiers Brigade stopped by The House on the Hill to discuss the 23rd Annual March of the Wooden Soldiers.
This annual Maine holiday tradition will take place on Saturday, December 22. Participants will march from the Brewer Auditorium to the Bangor Auditorium to raise money and awareness for The Veterans of The Christmas Wars.
“The Wooden Soldiers Brigade has been defending the North Pole for ages,” Sgt. Olson explains when we sit down for some hot cocoa in my office. “Santa’s Village is forever under the threat of attack from forces that hate the Holidays and want nothing more than to see the children of the world go without presents on Christmas morning. As you know, not a single Christmas has ever been canceled, so our boys at the Pole have performed admirably.”
As with any conflict, there are casualties. Some Wooden Soldiers suffer the most terrible of fates. “The Year of the Dragons was the worst,” Sgt. Olson struggles to explain through the tears. “All that fire…we weren’t prepared. We lost a lot of good men that Christmas…”
Christmas Veterans Homes help Wooden Soldiers to deal with injuries suffered in combat, and also provide counseling and vocational services to help the soldiers transition back to regular life once their time in the trenches is done.
“They’re doing some wonderful work and providing top notch medical care,” Sgt. Olson continues with a gleam in his eye. “The Christmas Veterans Homes run mostly on funds provided by the Ebeneezer Scrooge Foundation and The Mrs. Claus Friends of Veterans Trust, but we still need donations from other sources to continue to be able to bring our Wooden Soldiers the services they need.”
You can make a donation by sponsoring a marcher, by giving money to one of the Wooden Soldiers stationed at donation booths throughout Bangor and Brewer, or by going to the Scrooge Foundation’s website.
Of course, you can also show up the day of the march and make a donation. This year’s march will include plenty of special guests. Aside from the Wooden Soldiers and the Wooden Soldiers Marching band there will be Christmas Carolers, the Lords A-Leaping Gymnastics Team, the Sweet Nutcrackers of Eastern Maine Dance Crew, The Gingerbread Men Performers, a rare appearance by The Misfit Toys, and a host of other surprise participants (I’m hearing that one of them might have a red nose…)
“It’s a great cause and a fun time that will really get you into the Christmas Spirit,” Sgt. Olson concludes. “I hope to see you there.”
Remember, smoking is prohibited at the parade. Wooden Soldiers are not big fans of an open flame…