Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Arpin Van Lines
The Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach would not be possible without the transportation industry. Veterans’ wreaths move by planes, trains, and livestock trailers but it’s the trucks and their professional drivers who haul the lion’s share of America’s respect. For the past few years, Wreaths Across America has highlighted their steadfast commitment in the “Trucking Tributes” feature online, and on Wreaths Across America Radio.
Wreaths Across America is experiencing tremendous growth across the country with over 2,000 participating locations in 2019. “As our locations grow, we need more trucks,” explains Don Queeney, Director of Transportation for Wreaths Across America. It may seem like a simple equation to figure out, but there’s a human factor involved that most people don’t consider when it comes to trucking logistics. “One of our particular challenges when assigning loads is considering the relationships and strong bonds that develop over the years between the drivers and the volunteers on the receiving end. If drivers have been participating a long time with us, they’ve developed meaningful friendships. Sometimes we can’t avoid it and have to break-up loads.”
One such driver who has been hauling veterans’ wreaths for Wreaths Across America for over seven years is Steven Meyer, who drives for Arpin Van Lines. When asked why he’s motivated to support the mission, his response is simple. “Because I’m an American. My father served in the Air Force for 32 years, and my mother served in the Air Force. I come from a military family, and I understand the sacrifices made by military families.” Steven and Arpin Van Lines are in the moving and storage industry, and a good portion of their customers have been military families. Last year, Arpin’s President and CEO, David Arpin, received the Wreaths Across America James Prout-Spirit of Giving Award during the 34th annual Arpin Agent Convention in Rhode Island. This year, Steven is stepping up once again to make several trips hauling the balsam fir wreaths to various storage facilities and cross docks. Steven says it’s a powerful feeling being involved with Wreaths Across America. “I’ve seen it all. I’ve had old ladies come up to me crying to thank me for delivering the wreaths,” he recalls with emotion. “At one VFW that I deliver to, these old men come out and help me carry the wreath boxes from the trucks balancing them on their walkers.”
As the mission expands more, and more trucks and drivers are needed. “When the economy is robust, as it is now, that taxes the trucking industry as their clients expect them to move more around the country for them so they may not be as available, Don explains. “It’s still amazing to see what these companies, small and large, do for us every year.” Citizen-sponsored veterans’ wreaths are headed for every state in the nation and overseas. If you’d like to help haul America’s respect, please contact Don Queeney. Some fuel assistance, on a limited basis, might support more independent owner/operators to participate in the mission thanks to a recent donation from NAIT.
You can hear more from Steven, Don, and others in Trucking Tributes on Tuesdays at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM EST exclusively on Wreaths Radio.