Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents McGuire Moving and Storage
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.
Our professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. In December, arguably the busiest time of the year for the transportation sector, the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach brings them together in an effort of unparalleled unity. That unity, combined with a “can-do” work ethic, makes it possible for Americans to honor millions of veterans laid to rest here at home, and overseas. With over 2,100 participating locations in addition to Arlington National Cemetery in 2019, transportation logistics for the organization are immense.
McGuire Moving and Storage out of St. Louis, Missouri, is one company that embraces the Wreaths Across America Mission, testing the waters over seven years ago. “We went from toe-deep to neck deep,” chuckled Josh McGuire. “Don Queeney got us started. To hear Don talk about it and see his excitement, how could you not sign up?”
Josh said the first year they traveled to Maine to pick up a trailer full of wreaths for several participating cemeteries in Missouri. Then, Josh said, they requested to transport the wreaths they carried to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. “My grandfather is there, and so are some of my wife’s family members. Almost everyone in St Louis has someone buried there, so it’s really kind of cool. We’ve been involved for so long now we have people who will reach out to us and ask us to find their loved one buried in a certain section.”
As a mentor in the business, Don Queeney introduced Josh and his company to the military moving side of the industry. “There’s something patriotic about getting personnel moved to a new base or a new deployment and doing it well,” Josh shared. “These people have moved a lot of times and it makes you feel good when you move them well,” Josh explained getting to know members of the military in this personal way made getting involved with the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach an easy decision. “We’re Americans, and these patriotic and educational programs that Wreaths Across America represents are important because I think it’s easy nowadays to take for granted and forget all the sacrifice that has gone into making this easy life we live compared to other nations.”
When Josh joked saying they had gone from testing the waters to neck-deep in the mission, it was spot on. In addition to the truckloads of Wreaths they transport, McGuire Moving and Storage serves a critical function in the transportation logistics chain by providing a cross-dock operation in St. Louis. “We clear out a bunch of warehouse space and put a few guys on forklifts to get these trucks loaded and unloaded. It’s pretty hot and heavy for about ten days as we get these fresh wreaths across the country. It’s a lot to ask trucking companies to go all the way to Maine and then to parts out west and so forth so this cross-dock and storage function are important.” Josh also points out that this service is a way to get more of his employees involved with the mission.
“I think the time of year is really important too,” Christine Hart Dawson shared. “This will be my third year with Wreaths Across America as part of McGuire Moving and Storage. I consider it a way during the holidays to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I think about how and why we have the freedoms we do, to step out into that warehouse and smell a scent as beautiful as the most vibrant Christmas tree you’ve ever smelled. It’s exciting to meet all the truck drivers who volunteer to haul the wreaths and hear what it means to them. It’s incredible to see their beautiful trucks as they roll in and know how committed they are to the mission. It’s very humbling and has just become part of the season for me personally.”
“We’ve got a long way to go if we’re going to make sure every fallen hero’s headstone is covered in December,” Josh exclaimed as he encouraged other trucking companies to join McGuire Moving and Storage in the mission. If you’d like more information on our open lanes, visit: trucking.wreathsacrossamerica.org