One of the trucking’s leading organizations helped raise more than $225,000 for one of the industry’s favorite charities recently.
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Truckload Carriers Association’s fourth annual Charitable Gala benefited Wreaths Across America (WAA), which works with truck drivers and companies to place remembrance wreaths on the graves of those who served in the U.S. military.
Held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. the gala raised $75,155 to support the logistics for delivering hundreds of thousands of fresh remembrance wreaths and $150,000 to support WAA’s overall mission.
National Wreaths Across America Day for this year is Dec. 17.
“This year, the Worcesters (Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Wreaths Across America) asked us to fundraise specifically for logistics to haul the wreaths because without their delivery, there can be no National Wreaths Across America Day. The trucking industry’s participation is absolutely essential to this effort,” said Russell Stubbs, TCA’s chairman. “We’re seeking additional involvement from those in the industry, particularly for the delivery process.
“We need trucking companies that can haul loads if they never have before, haul more loads than they’ve done in the past, and ask their fellow trucking company executives to help, too. Actually, any individual or company from any industry can make a financial contribution to help a participating owner/operator with fuel costs.”
The night was highlighted by a donation of $50,000 from the National Association of Independent Truckers Foundation, represented by Scott Miller, managing vice president of TRANSGUARD Insurance Company of America, Inc. The gala was made even more memorable when Patrick Simmons, senior director of transportation for Walmart’s private fleet, delivered a gift of $150,000 on behalf of the Walmart Foundation.
Throughout the evening, small fundraisers brought in additional funds, such as the “wine grab” sponsored by TravelCenters of America/Petro, and a photo booth sponsored by DriverFACTS. There was also a silent auction featuring trips, electronics, jewelry, and limited edition artwork. A special video, presented by Drivewyze, honored trucking family members who sacrificed their lives to protect America’s freedom.
Special guests for the evening included:
- Taya Kyle, the widow of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and co-author of “American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith, and Renewal”
Candy Martin, whose son, First Lieutenant Thomas Martin, was killed in action in Iraq in 2007, and who is now president of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., an organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in service to the U.S.
- Heather French Henry, Miss America 2000 and the daughter of a disabled veteran, who served as master of ceremonies
- Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Wreaths Across America
To volunteer equipment or driving services, or to sponsor a load to haul the wreaths, visit www.TruckloadOfRespect.com. You can also search the hashtag #WAAGala to view photos and updates from the event.