Truckers make Wreaths Across America possible in Alabama

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Truckers delivered wreaths across Alabama and the nation for National Wreaths Across America day.Truckers delivered wreaths across Alabama and the nation for National Wreaths Across America day.

Truck drivers delivered over 4,000 remembrance wreaths to cemeteries in Alabama in support of Wreaths Across America (WAA) last week.

Robert Lilley, a company driver with Big M Transportation, delivered 77 boxes of wreaths to Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Birmingham Dec. 15.

This was Lilley’s first year delivering for WAA, and he said he was honored to be a part of the program. Lilley, from Henderson, North Carolina, hopes to be able to haul the wreaths again in the future and be a part of the convoy delivering wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. 

“It means a lot because I’ve had family members in the military, I’ve got friends in the military,” Lilley said. “It’s an honor to be able to do it for the ones that gave their lives up for our freedom.”

George Winslow, a WAA organizer at Jefferson Memorial Gardens, said he appreciates how truckers make WAA possible each year. He’s been a part of the program since 2009 and has met truckers delivering wreaths each year since then.

Trucks drive through Washington, D.C. on their way to Arlington National Cemetery.Trucks drive through Washington, D.C. on their way to Arlington National Cemetery.

“I love to see these guys and gals being given a chance to use what they learned in the military and make a living. I’m all for that,” Winslow said.

On that same day, Alexis Pohl, a company driver for CalArk and a Navy veteran, delivered 482 boxes of wreaths to Alabama National Cemetery. Pohl joined the military in 1980 and has been driving for CalArk for 21 years. This was her first year hauling for WAA, and she said she felt a special connection to it because she is a veteran.

“I think it’s a great program. It reminds people what our veterans have done for us,” said Pohl, who is from Manassus, Virginia.

On Dec. 17, National Wreaths Across America Day, volunteers placed the wreaths on veterans’ graves at locations across the nation and cemeteries abroad where American veterans are buried. At Alabama National Cemetery, Army veteran Doug Carver was the keynote speaker. Carver is the executive director for the North American Mission Board. 

A large convoy delivered truckloads of wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery, where over 200,000 wreaths were placed on veterans’ graves. In total, truckers delivered about 1.2 million wreaths for WAA this year.

Robert Lilley and his rider Charlene Ayscue speak with WAA organizer George Winslow outside their truck at Jefferson Memorial Gardens.Robert Lilley and his rider Charlene Ayscue speak with WAA organizer George Winslow outside their truck at Jefferson Memorial Gardens.

Lilley and Ayscue stand beside their company truck. Lilley hauled 77 crates of wreaths to Jefferson Memorial Gardens.Lilley and Ayscue stand beside their company truck. Lilley hauled 77 crates of wreaths to Jefferson Memorial Gardens.

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The Wreaths Across America delivery truck arrives at Alabama National Cemetery. There were 482 boxes of wreaths, with nine wreaths a box, on the truck.The Wreaths Across America delivery truck arrives at Alabama National Cemetery. There were 482 boxes of wreaths, with nine wreaths a box, on the truck.

Alexis Pohl, center, speaks to Wreaths Across America volunteers at Alabama National Cemetery.Alexis Pohl, center, speaks to Wreaths Across America volunteers at Alabama National Cemetery.

Volunteers unload boxes of wreaths at Alabama National Cemetery.Volunteers unload boxes of wreaths at Alabama National Cemetery.

Alexis Pohl, a CalArk driver, speaks with a WAA organizer beside her truck.Alexis Pohl, a CalArk driver, speaks with a WAA organizer beside her truck.

Volunteers carry boxes of remembrance wreaths off the truck at Alabama National Cemetery.Volunteers carry boxes of remembrance wreaths off the truck at Alabama National Cemetery.

Volunteers unload boxes of remembrance wreaths off the truck at Alabama National Cemetery.Volunteers unload boxes of remembrance wreaths off the truck at Alabama National Cemetery.

Volunteers load a trailer with remembrance wreaths at Alabama National Cemetery.Volunteers load a trailer with remembrance wreaths at Alabama National Cemetery.

Volunteers work to unbox wreaths at Alabama National Cemetery.Volunteers work to unbox wreaths at Alabama National Cemetery.

A volunteer places remembrance wreaths on a trailer so they can be distributed throughout Alabama National Cemetery.A volunteer places remembrance wreaths on a trailer so they can be distributed throughout Alabama National Cemetery.

Alexis Pohl, center, speaks with WAA volunteers as her truck gets unloaded.Alexis Pohl, center, speaks with WAA volunteers as her truck gets unloaded.

The stage setup for Wreaths Across America at Alabama National Cemetery.The stage setup for Wreaths Across America at Alabama National Cemetery.

A remembrance wreath honoring prisoners of war and missing in action sits as part of the Wreaths Across America display at Alabama National Cemetery.A remembrance wreath honoring prisoners of war and missing in action sits as part of the Wreaths Across America display at Alabama National Cemetery.

A military hat sits atop a rifle as part of the Wreaths Across America setup at Alabama National Cemetery.A military hat sits atop a rifle as part of the Wreaths Across America setup at Alabama National Cemetery.

Army veteran Doug Carver speaks to the crowd at Alabama National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day.Army veteran Doug Carver speaks to the crowd at Alabama National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day.

A woman sits besides the grave of her loved one, a veteran, after placing a remembrance wreath on it.A woman sits besides the grave of her loved one, a veteran, after placing a remembrance wreath on it.

A remembrance wreath was placed on the grave of Xxavior Moses, a U.S. Army veteran, during Wreaths Across America Day at Alabama National Cemetery.A remembrance wreath was placed on the grave of Xxavior Moses, a U.S. Army veteran, during Wreaths Across America Day at Alabama National Cemetery.

Volunteers stand ready to hand out remembrance wreaths during Wreaths Across America Day at Alabama National Cemetery.Volunteers stand ready to hand out remembrance wreaths during Wreaths Across America Day at Alabama National Cemetery.