Scores of volunteering truckers set out this week with thousands of remembrance wreaths in their trailers. Their destination: veterans’ graves in cemeteries across the nation.
Each December, truck drivers and fleets volunteer to transport wreaths, donated by the Worcester Wreath Company, to over 1,000 veterans’ graves as part of Wreath Across America‘s (WAA) national wreath laying events.
WAA is a national non-profit that coordinates these national wreath laying events as part of its mission to “Remember, Honor and Teach about the service and sacrifice of men and women of the armed forces, past, present and future.”
A designated convoy of drivers headed out Sunday, Dec. 6 on a week-long trek from the wreath farm in Harrington, Maine on their way to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. These drivers will make stops each day along the way to promote WAA’s mission.
The Arlington convoy will arrive in Virginia for National Wreaths Across America Day Saturday, Dec. 12, when volunteers will unload the wreaths from the trucks and place them on 230,000 veterans’ graves. Wreaths will also be placed at memorials throughout the cemetery.
The drivers in the main Arlington convoy include:
- Jerry Charron with ATA Share the Road,
- Joseph Masse with Oakhurst Dairy,
- Joseph Smith with Pottle’s Transportation,
- Scott Harris with Harris and Sons Trucking,
- Dean Hughes with Witte Bros. Exchange,
- Jay Hunt with Schneider National,
- Brett Hinkley with Poland Spring Bottling Company,
- Doug Wilbert with Hartt Transportation,
- Rob Fernald with Walmart Transportation
- Neal Pitcher with Walmart Transportation
The lead driver position on the convoy changes daily.
Tobin Slaven, a WAA spokesperson, said truck drivers are essential to WAA’s mission.
“The amazing thing about the transportation industry is how enthusiastically they jump in to support our veterans. They do it with such authenticity, from support of our own mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach, to the hiring initiatives that many carriers have pledged to, or just how the professional drivers ‘get it,'” Slaven said.
Slaven said drivers are ideal for promoting WAA’s mission because of their tenacity.
“They are patriotic to the core. They understand hard work and being away from home and family for all the right reasons,” Slaven said. “Wreaths Across America could not do what we do without the support we receive in getting the wreaths to their final resting place – the headstones of those who served and sacrificed for our freedoms.”
WAA has announced the future dates for National Wreaths Across America Day for the next five years, for any organizations that may wish to plan ahead of time to be involved.
“Our preference is to do the wreath laying on the second Saturday each December,” said WAA Executive Director Karen Worcester. “That has been the tradition since 2006. But in the next five years we have an unusual calendar so we had to shift to the third Saturday of the month. This gives us more time during the holiday season to gather our support and honor as many veterans and their families as possible.”
Future National Wreaths Across America Day dates:
- Dec. 17, 2016
- Dec. 16, 2017
- Dec. 15, 2018
- Dec. 14, 2019
- Dec. 12, 2020
[gtbutton link=”http://www.truckersnews.com/christmas-stories-2015/ “]Tell Us Your Story of Christmas on the Road[/gtbutton]
See videos of the Arlington convoy’s stops so far this week: