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Petals for Patriots

September 3, 2010

Petals to Patriots

Every now and then as we sail through our lives, finding ourselves gunning for a parking space, fighting for a raise, defending our belief system or simply musing about how our days are flying by, we hear about special things that special people do.

A few weeks ago, during a top secret mission to uncover yet another shining gem in San Diego,  we started yakking it up with the woman behind the cash register at the French Garden Shoppe. During the course of the conversation, she told us about a project that she is involved in.  We found ourselves wanting to salute her and her army of volunteers. As we all know, it’s the little things in life…

We were talking to Cheryl Gaidmore of the Mission Hills Garden Club.  Cheryl is instrumental in coordinating the Petals for Patriots project in appreciation of our United States Military Wounded Warriors. The project was started by David Root, a floral designer, in 2008 who had the idea to provide fresh floral arrangements to the wounded military personnel at Balboa Naval Hospital (or as it is now called Naval Medical Center San Diego) each month.

Cheryl and the volunteers took command and have seen the program grow and expand to other areas in San Diego. Each month, Cheryl and her team of volunteers assemble 30-35 fresh flower bouquets.  Cheryl and another volunteer personally deliver the floral arrangements to Naval Medical Center San Diego as well as the Fisher House. Each arrangement includes an assortment of fresh flowers accented with a sunflower.

While it seems like a simple act, the significance of the gift leaves a lasting impression. It’s an impression that stems from a simple gesture that acknowledges the service and sacrifices that these soldiers have made. Often, these wounded warriors are far away from family and friends while they recover or adjust to life after their injuries.  These brave men and women are taught to be tough, but the delivery of the fresh flowers have often brought them to tears.

Here’s the drill:  For most of the last two years, Petals to Patriots flowers have been donated by Dos Gringos, a wholesale florist in Vista, California. The amount of bouquets has been based on the amount of available flowers. But, given the economic times, Dos Gringos has had less inventory to donate.  For Petals to Patriots to flourish, they could sure use donations.  The more donations they can attract, the more bouquets can be delivered. Cash is always good but if you know of any growers who might wish to participate, please contact Cheryl Gaidmore at (619) 992-7434 or email:

San Diego is known for being one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.  What folks often don’t realize is that San Diego County is home to one of the largest Naval fleets in the world with the largest concentration of Naval facilities in the world. Naval Medical Center San Diego is the most technologically advanced Navy medical treatment facilities and has been a part of San Diego for over 80 years. San Diego’s military payroll is now the largest in the country. And get this, there are more military retirees in San Diego than any other place in the United States.

Despite the huge military presence in San Diego and all the resources available to the men and women who serve,  it’s still amazing what one small gesture can mean to one injured soldier.  It’s the little things.

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