Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Lamar Buckwalter with Buckwalter Trucking, LLC.

Professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. Without them, the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach would be nearly impossible. Veterans’ wreaths move by planes, trains, ships, and livestock trailers, but trucks and their professional drivers transport the lion’s share of America's respect. In 2023, to be specific, 717 truckloads of wreaths were delivered, representing 332 different carriers and partners.

In November and December, one of the busiest periods of the year for the transportation sector, the Wreaths Across America mission brings drivers together in an effort of unparalleled unity. With a positive, “can-do” work ethic, these professionals make it possible for Americans to honor millions of veterans laid to rest at home and overseas. In 2024, with over 4,200 participating locations, in addition to Arlington National Cemetery, transportation logistics are immense.

Many of these drivers are military veterans and say the truckload of fresh balsam-fir wreaths is the most precious cargo they transport in their careers. Wreaths Across America shares their stories in the “Trucking Tributes” feature online and on Wreaths Across America Radio and Sirius XM, Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking.

The Petro Travel Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has had a new name since August 22, 2023. Lamar Buckwalter was named the TA-Petro Citizen Driver of the Year. The award is given based on the nominee’s leadership, safety and community involvement. “The people who nominated me for this prestigious award are the people who got Wreaths Across America started in our area,” Lamar explained. “I picked that travel center because it’s close to home. I picked that day because that’s the day my grandfather died, and he was very instrumental in my life. That had always been a dark and gloomy day for me because of all that he meant to me. This way, I turned it into something positive and bright. I’m hoping he’s up there nudging the angels, saying, ‘Hey, my grandson did that!’ I know when I do weird things, he’s up there nudging them, going, ‘oh, dear God, I can’t believe he just did that.”

Lamar represents the third generation of men in his family to sit behind the wheel of a big rig. “My grandfather on my dad’s side was a truck driver, then my dad became a driver and still is to this day, 73 years young, and I followed in my Dad’s footsteps,” Lamar shared. “I’ve always been fascinated by the trucks. I enjoy seeing the countryside and meeting new people. There are still good people in this world.” And so it is that Lamar and his father are the primary operators of Buckwalter Trucking, LLC. “We’re based out of Pennsylvania and run a dedicated run to Texas and back, or sometimes Wyoming and back. The funny thing is I don’t run the New England states and haven’t for years. So, when I called a former customer looking for a trip to Maine, they thought I was quite ill!” 

Lamar says coming to Maine to pick up veterans’ wreaths allowed him to better understand the history and development of Wreaths Across America. “I learned a lot about how the wreaths are made, and from the moment we arrived at the driver’s lounge, people welcomed us with open arms and said, ‘Make yourself at home’, so we did,” Lamar chuckled. “We ate very well, and the showers were clean!”

It wasn’t until Lamar’s trailer was loaded with America’s respect that the mission to remember, honor, and teach hit him. “A gentleman looked at me and said, ‘You know this load is going to change your life forever.’ I had no idea what he meant by this. I made it to New Hampshire, and it sunk in. I thought, oh, I’m usually hauling freight or groceries or something like that, but watching all those wreaths go on my trailer and knowing why they were there. It was an emotional moment. At one of the cemeteries, an older gentleman came up to me and explained that two wreaths on my trailer were for his brothers. I remember thinking, oh nice, the camaraderie of honoring fellow veterans, but then he explained he’d watched his two oldest brothers pass away in a war. That was one of the moments that hit me the hardest. It was very humbling and moving.”

Lamar has never served in the military but serves his community as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. He’s excited about participating in Wreaths Across America in December. “To me, it’s all about our veterans, and with Wreaths Across America, they’re never forgotten. I had my truck wrapped last year, and I’m already planning what my wrap will look like this year.”

Thank you, Lamar and Buckwalter Trucking, LLC., for helping to support the mission to remember, honor, and teach.

If you’d like to join the Wreaths Across America Honor Fleet, you can get started with a click right here!

You can hear more with Lamar on Trucking Tributes, which can be listened to every Truckin’ Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM EST on Wreaths Across America Radio and Wednesday at 8:30 AM EST on Sirius XM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking Radio.

Discover the Trucking Tributes archive playlist on Soundcloud.com