Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Joe Noton and C and J Trucking

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.

I’m a professional tourist,” Joe chuckled when asked why professional driving was the right choice for him. “I get to see scenery like nobody will ever see. I go places, meet people, and do fun things.” Joe drives for C and J Trucking of Iowa LLC and has been involved with Wreaths Across America for the past several years. Joe is also a military veteran who served in the U.S. Army. “Believe it or not,” Joe quipped with a self-deprecating laugh, “I was in military intelligence. Nothing was going on when I was in, but the military taught me discipline, and I still fold my pants the same way today!” Joe serves his community as a volunteer Firefighter/EMT.

The first year Joe got involved with the mission to remember, honor, and teach he went to Long Island National Cemetery. “I got to meet two Medal of Honor winners that year. To meet two in one day? I think that’s what started it for me. Plus, I picked up my Wreaths in Maine and did the first leg of the annual Wreath Escort to Arlington. That’s what got me. Seeing everyone out there waving flags and as patriotic as they are is just awesome.”  Last year, Joe hauled veterans’ wreaths to Texas. “The part I like the best is pulling into wherever I’m delivering and seeing their faces. It doesn’t matter if you’re pulling into a cemetery or a high school. It brings me joy to see the look on the people’s faces.” Joe’s sentiment describes the fellowship that develops among strangers through participating in wreath-laying events.

Over the years, Joe has watched the changes as the organization’s mission has grown throughout the country. “Every year, there’s something different, and it’s always for the better.”

As Joe expresses, it's the passion and commitment to the mission that “makes it better” year after year. More and more professional drivers are stepping up to haul America’s respect, and once they get involved, they keep returning. “It doesn’t matter if I change jobs as a company driver; Wreaths Across America is my requirement—that I go to Maine and get those wreaths!”

Joe says in addition to remembering and honoring, the Teach cornerstone of the mission touches him. “We can never forget. There are a lot of people who have given up everything so that we can walk around and do what we do freely. We can never forget that.”

Thank you, Joe and C and J Trucking of Iowa, for helping 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 Joe 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