Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Patrick Wright with Central States Manufacturing, Inc.

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.

Patrick Wright is a U.S. Navy veteran and professional driver for Central States Manufacturing out of Lowell, Arkansas. He joined the military straight out of high school and served for over six-and-a-half years. He described it as an “awesome experience,” and he emerged as a Master Diesel Mechanic. After service, he pursued trucking as a career choice. “I quickly realized I could make more money driving a truck than working on it,” Patrick chuckled. “My dad trained me many years ago, and this is my thirty-fourth year driving a truck. Central States is an amazing company to work for. I started with them in 2015, and this is where I’m going to retire. They treat us so well and give us the best equipment to work with. In fact, one of their mottos is, ‘The drivers are the face of our company,’ and they stand by that. I received my Million Miles Award here at Central a couple of years ago, and I want to say that award was on everyone here, from the CEO down to the guy who loads the truck, but the million SAFE miles is on me.”

Patrick says Central States is supporting Wreaths Across America locally too. “They’ve even become a corporate sponsor on the local level for our wreath-laying ceremony in Bentonville, and other locations too,” Patrick explained. “So, anyone who knows truckers knows they have big mouths, and when I was talking to the guy who was in charge, he said he needed to find someone to replace him, and Patrick opened his big mouth and said, ‘I’ll do it!”

That’s right! Talk about Living with Purpose! Not only is Patrick responsible for hauling America’s respect as a member of the Wreaths Across America Honor Fleet, but he also stepped up to participate as a volunteer Location Coordinator for the participating cemetery in Bentonville, Arkansas. “I’m just the brawn of the outfit, but the real brains behind the operation are my wife Michelle, my daughter Megan, and Kirsten, in the HR department at Central States in Lowell. We hit the ground running on eight feet! Previously, the cemetery had never hit the goal, but last year was our first year of making our goal, and we’ve already reached goal for 2024! When you can go out there and lay a wreath on someone’s grave who defended us, so we have what we have today, our freedoms, it’s the greatest of honors.”

Thank you, Patrick, and the entire team at Central States Manufacturing, for helping to support the mission to remember, honor, and teach.

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

You can hear more with Patrick on Trucking Tributes, listened to every Truckin’ Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM EST on Wreaths Across America Radio and Fridays at 8 AM EST, beginning February 9, on Sirius XM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking Radio.

Discover the Trucking Tributes archive playlist on Soundcloud.com