Navy veteran delivers wreaths to Alabama cemetery

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CalArk driver Alexis Pohl delivered wreaths to Alabama National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America.CalArk driver Alexis Pohl delivered wreaths to Alabama National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America.

Delivering for Wreaths Across America was a special event for Navy veteran and CalArk driver Alexis Pohl. She took 482 boxes of wreaths to the Alabama National Cemetery Dec. 15, her first year hauling for WAA.

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

Pohl, from Manassas, Virginia, joined the Navy in 1980. She served 12 years, first in supply and then switching to instrument calibration.

After her time in the name, Pohl took a job in armed security. She said that job didn’t pay well so she started weighing her career options. She saw a commercial recruiting truck drivers and said to herself, “I can do that.”

Pohl chats with Wreaths Across America volunteers as her truck gets unloaded.Pohl chats with Wreaths Across America volunteers as her truck gets unloaded.

She now hauls dry van for CalArk. She’s been with the company for 21 years and plans to stay with them. She lives in her truck and has drive all over the U.S. and used to go into Canada.

Pohl said she was honored when she got the call from her boss asking her to deliver for WAA. She says she appreciates how respectful WAA is toward the truckers who help their mission, especially when respect can sometimes be lacking from others.

“A lot of people forget that without truckers you don’t have any supplies of any sort,” Pohl said. “Groceries, whatever you need, truck drivers get it there. People forget that sometimes.”

WAA spokesperson Amber Caron emphasized how crucial truckers like Pohl are to their operation.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the trucking community,” Caron said.

Pohl is greeted by a crowd of volunteers as she drives up to Alabama National Cemetery.Pohl is greeted by a crowd of volunteers as she drives up to Alabama National Cemetery.

Pohl’s trip to Alabama National Cemetery wasn’t without the usual trucking hiccups. Even under the escort of the American Legion Riders, she still found four-wheel vehicles causing trouble.

“I just wish people would be more careful around these trucks,” Pohl said. “We had quite a few close calls today going in and out of traffic. I was under escort and they still got between us.”

Once she arrived at the cemetery, however, Pohl received a warm reception from the almost 75 volunteers gathered to help unload the trailer.

George Winslow, a WAA organizer for Jefferson Memorial Gardens in Birmingham, was one of those volunteers. He said he appreciates how the trucking industry supports veterans through Wreaths Across America and by hiring drivers like Pohl.

“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.

Hundreds of truckers delivered about 1.2 million wreaths for WAA this year, a new record. Over 200,000 of those wreaths were taken to Arlington National Cemetery in a main convoy.