RANCHO SANTA FE — A handful of Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club members journeyed to the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton. A delivery of three floral bouquets and two fruit baskets lifted the spirits of injured soldiers.
Founded by David Root, “Petals for Patriots” bloomed in 2008 at the Balboa Naval Hospital.
The RSF Garden Club was so moved by the idea, they wanted to get involved and bring smiles to those at Camp Pendleton in San Diego North County.
LaVerne Schlosser, a member of the Garden Club, is quick to point out how it’s truly a group effort in making this memorable delivery happen. For starters, Dos Gringos, based in Carlsbad supplies the sunflowers and greenery for the bouquets.
“The owner of Dos Gringos is so in favor of this project for flowers for the troops that he donates these sunflowers,” Schlosser said. “All we have to do is call him up, tell him what we’re doing, and go out and pick up the flowers from his company.”
To add more volume and color to the bouquet, members from the Garden Club find the right variety of flowers such as alstroemerias and irises to complete the look.
The Garden Club turns to its Shoppe for the vases and baskets for the fruit.
On the calendar, The Garden Club is making deliveries to the troops in February, November and December this year.
Schlosser calls it a full day because they gather their flowers in the morning, make the floral arrangements, and drive down to Camp Pendleton.
Due to dietary restrictions, Schlosser said, fruits are the preferred choice.
“One of our members, Mary, does the fresh fruit baskets and it’s a big hit,” she said, adding how it’s overflowing with apples, berries, pears, bananas, and tangerines. “And Mary always puts a few caramels in it because she says you can’t eat apples without caramel.”
Taking part in “Petals for Patriots” triggers something within Schlosser. Her husband was a West Point graduate and they spent their whole career in the military.
As Schlosser sees these young men and women soldiers, it’s important to convey that the dedication they gave to their country will never be forgotten.
While the two-story hospital gives the RSF Garden Club a warm welcome, the ladies are unable to go to individual rooms to meet the patients.
“We bring three large arrangements,” she said. “They keep one in their entryway for it to look nice, they put one in the dining room, and then they put one in the treatment room. And each one of these has a sign on it that says, ‘We appreciate your service and who we are.’”
It’s incredibly important for Schlosser to let these wounded warriors know that they are in the thoughts and minds of many. And “Petals for Patriots” provides a great humanitarian gesture which should always be extended.
“Many of these soldiers are there for several years receiving different kinds of treatments,” she said. “We can’t just say, ‘Well, I’ve done enough and then not do it anymore.’”
It’s Schlosser’s hope that other committees will take heed of this important work and continue to support the troops in various ways, including “Petals for Patriots.”