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 2022, to be specific, 609 truckloads of wreaths were delivered, representing 439 different carriers.
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 2023, with over 3,700 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 and what motivates them to serve and succeed in the “Trucking Tributes” feature online and on Wreaths Across America Radio.
This edition of Trucking Tributes features Wreaths Across America’s Director of Transportation, Courtney George, who reminds the transportation industry National Wreaths Across America Day is only a few short months away on Saturday, December 16, 2023, and there are open lanes. “It’s awesome to see the growth we’re experiencing,” Courtney expressed. “We’re in full swing, and we’ve already added over seventy-five loads this year.” Her reference to we includes the transportation team at Wreaths Across America. “I’m so lucky to work with Sarah Worcester, our Director of Logistics, and Tina, who’s on our team as well. We do an amazing amount of work for such a small group, and I’m so proud of the team.”
The growth Courtney describes is the direct result of committed volunteers in communities across the country who are finding ways to honor more and more of their fallen hometown heroes. Patriotic and proud American citizens step up to coordinate the wreath-laying activities at participating cemeteries, and American citizens sponsor the fresh, balsam fir veteran’s wreaths that adorn headstones every December as they say their names aloud.
Calling all eligible truck drivers! “We can make anything work for you; all you need to do is get signed up with us, and I can load almost anything with veterans’ wreaths except a tanker or a flatbed. We will work with you to get the wreaths delivered,” Courtney explained. “I have a gentleman who hauls with a motorcycle trailer, and some farmers help us with their livestock trailers!”
Wreaths Across America’s transportation team needs trucks for veterans’ wreaths destined for Texas, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and South Carolina, and over the next few months, more and more opportunities will be forthcoming. “More and more carriers are coming forward to say, ‘Hey, I want to help my independents volunteer,’ and their donating fuel or giving drivers a bonus to offset that expense.”
Courtney and the rest of the Wreaths Across America family know that what makes Wreaths Across America so special for new professional drivers coming into the fold is the Driver’s First Mile Experience. “After the driver gets loaded, we take them out on the tipland where the dog tags hang, and the brush is gathered, to the factory where the veterans’ wreaths are made, and to our museum and Gold Star History and Hospitality House. They really get the understanding of why and how we do what we do, and that gives them a sense of immense pride.”
You can listen to Courtney’s full interview on Trucking Tributes, listened to every Truckin’ Tuesday exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM Eastern.