The trucking industry is pouring its support into Wreaths Across America (WAA), with about 200 fleets donating trucks and time to help deliver 1.8 million wreaths to veterans’ graves throughout the United States. Today, Dec. 15, is National Wreaths Across America Day.
Truck driver Steve Schildhauer, a driver for NSG Transport, was selected to drive this year’s Wreaths Across America Honor Truck, a newly wrapped tractor-trailer donated by Freightliner and CLC. Schildhauer is driving the truck as part of the annual WAA convoy to Arlington National Cemetery, which departed from Lubec, Maine, Dec. 8.
“I had heard of Wreaths Across America and had wanted to get involved but just hadn’t done it yet. There will be some challenges I’m sure, but I’m going to bring my ‘A Game’ and do my job right. I think right now more than ever we need to remember our past and learn from it, so we don’t repeat it,” Schildhauer said in a WAA news release. “Some of our histories may not be pretty, but we can’t forget it because it’s important. If we give up that history, which makes us who we are, we will give up on what we will become.”
Schildhauer’s brother, Dan, nominated him for the honor. Schildhauer’s family has a long history of military service. Schildhauer himself served as a Navy Seabee for nine years and then served another six and a half years as a reservist.
TravelCenters of America served dinner Wednesday, Dec. 12, to volunteers and veterans invited by WAA at the Petro on I-295 in Bordertown, New Jersey. Omnitracs, which provides fleet management solutions, also contributed to WAA in the form of a $25,000 donation to sponsor 2,500 wreaths. Omnitracs has sponsored over 20,000 wreaths in its nine years of supporting WAA.
J.B. Hunt is one of the 200 fleets donating trucks, time and fuel to WAA. Forty-two J.B. Hunt drivers were selected to drive 16 military-themed trucks to deliver wreaths to 40 cemeteries, with those drivers taking turns driving the trucks along their routes. Over 2,000 J.B. Hunt employees volunteered to help unload wreaths and place them on veterans’ graves on tody. J.B. Hunt also hosted a rally Friday, Dec. 14, at its corporate headquarters for employees, including multiple Gold Star families.
“Each year this event evokes a broad spectrum of emotions. We are encouraged by the show of support and participation, yet humbled when reflecting on its purpose,” said John Roberts, president and CEO of J.B Hunt. “For each wreath that is placed we are reminded of the personal sacrifice that has been made, and we say their names to show gratitude for their service.”
Dart, which has nine drivers participating in WAA this year, has been hosting Facebook live updates throughout the week hosted by Adam Williams, Dart’s manager of driver retention & engagement. He’s been traveling throughout the week with Dart driver Josh Asam, headed to Arlington National Cemetery.