Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Cargo Transporters, Inc.
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 trucks and their professional drivers transport 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. Many of these drivers are veterans, and they tell us the truckload of fresh, balsam fir wreaths is the most precious cargo they transport in their careers.
The second you meet Derrick Whittle, you’re met with a broad smile, enthusiasm, and a palpable patriotic pride. Derrick is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and a professional driver with Cargo Transporters, Inc.
Derrick had plans in High School to attend college, with a few scouts hoping he’d join them to play college football. “I made a decision back in 1974, Derrick explained. “Back then, they were talking about the Vietnam War and reinstating the draft. I thought if they’re gonna do that, I might as well enlist. My father was Army and insisted I was Army. My brother was Navy, so I decided I’m going into the Coast Guard, and it was the best move I could have made. Signing that contract to defend the Constitution of the United States, against both foreign and domestic enemies means a lot to me, and it still does today.” Derrick received an honorable discharge in 1981. “I know what it’s like to be in harm’s way. I know what it means to stand between a man and a bullet. Sometimes I reflect on those memories, both the good and bad, because it’s a package.”
Derrick expresses humility and gratitude when it comes to his involvement with Wreaths Across America, which started over eight years ago. “After that first year, it has been an inspiration to me since,” Derrick shared. “I never thought that serving my country was going to pay off like this. The most inspiring part of Wreaths Across America is the people. I commend Morrill and Karen for their vision. What I saw when I got up to Maine and learned more about what the organization does, it felt like family; I felt at home. It’s been an inspiration for me each year, and it keeps getting better each year. I’m really thankful to be a part of it.”
Shelley Dellinger explained the Wreaths Across America effort is a perfect fit for Cargo Transporters, Inc. “We’ve been in business for over 50 years, and we’re are 500 tractors strong. Over thirteen percent of our 700 plus employees are veterans. We have a veteran’s wall inside our company, and we have a special decal for their tractors. We received a “Ride of Pride” tractor in 2010, and now we have two. Those are involved with parades, veterans’ events, and special events at schools. Derrick Whittle volunteers his time on weekends and after hours for that effort.”
Derrick described the Wreaths Across America Drivers Check-in Lounge like a truck stop environment without all the complaints. “It’s about Wreaths Across America, and it’s about the military and service,” he explained. “You can sit down and talk with other drivers who are also veterans. The attitude there is cordial and friendly, and it’s about the vision to honor those laid to rest.”
Thank you Derrick, Shelley, and the entire team at Cargo Transporters, Inc. for supporting the mission to remember, honor, and teach. You can hear Derrick’s full Trucking Tributes interview here.
Trucking Tributes is heard exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio every Tuesday at 11:00 AM EST and again at 4:00 PM EST.