Roses for the Fallen

RosesWest Burke - A former marine and Lyndon state college graduate has invented a wonderful gesture of therapy by supplying acts of selflessness to families in need.

 Since last May, John Hojek has been growing his own roses and delivering bouquets to the families of the fallen around the Northeast Kingdom. He delivers the bouquets himself, especially to families who have lost a loved one during the recent Middle Eastern conflicts. The bouquets come one short of a dozen, symbolizing the family’s fallen member. In time, he hopes to spread the movement across the country through other veterans, to reach as many Gold Star families as possible, including Gold Star families of past conflicts.

According to, since 2003, 6852 service members have been killed in action; three of which were Hojek's close friends he fought alongside of in the Marines. He says the loss of his friend’s lives played a big part in why he was inspired to start this movement. Hojek says "The rose is a symbol of peace and hope and to me it's a gesture of almost healing in a sense."

Hojek plans on continuing to spread that gesture of healing and therapy that has helped him with his PTSD, to as many as he can. "The rose has always been a gesture of sympathy, for a loss of a life. And it's also a celebration because you have them at weddings and funerals."