Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents ABF Freight
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 and overseas. With over 2,100 participating locations in addition to Arlington National Cemetery in 2019, transportation logistics for the organization are immense.
"None of us, as veterans, walked the same journey so I love getting together with them to hear their stories of how they served." Nate McCarty lives in Greeley, Colorado and is a veteran. He's a professional driver for ABF Freight and an ATA America's Road Team Captain. Nate has a deep passion for trucking and credits ABF and the ATA (American Trucking Associations) for many of his positive experiences including his introduction to the Wreaths Across America mission. He’s been hauling America’s respect in the form of veterans’ wreaths for several years and has been honored to participate in the annual wreath escort to Arlington National Cemetery.
“I was born and raised in Colorado, and I work in Wyoming and Utah. I get to see some beautiful country, but I have to admit, I fell in love with Maine,” Nate shared. “I have to tell you I was blown away being part of the escort and coming up to Maine. Everyone there welcomed us and treated Ralph (Garcia) and me like we were part of the family. I look forward to going back every year because I’ve made life-long friends because of the escort and Wreaths Across America.”
Nate and Ralph are indeed a part of the Wreaths Across America family as a critical part of the transportation infrastructure necessary to transport fresh, balsam-fir wreaths to awaiting volunteers across the nation and overseas. More and more Americans are sponsoring veterans’ wreaths to honor the fallen heroes in their communities. Those citizens yearn to be involved with something positive, something “bigger” than themselves, and the mission to remember, honor, and teach is resonating with millions. Nate McCarty is doing his part to ensure that growth continues.
Nate served in the Colorado Army National Guard during Operation Desert Storm. He still has active-duty friends who eagerly follow him on social media when he’s posting about the escort. “It means a lot to them that we’re honoring veterans from the past, honoring our fallen,” Nate explained. “It gives them hope that they too will be remembered and honored.”
Not only has Nate made “life-long friends” along the escort route, but in Colorado as well. There’s a mutual admiration when you team up Nate and ABF Freight with Wreaths Across America Volunteer Location Coordinator, Chris Ruth. “He’s wonderful,” she exclaimed with a chuckle. “Bill and I have adopted him!”
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.
Thank you, Nate, Ralph, and the entire ABF team for supporting the mission. You can hear Nate’s full interview on Trucking Tributes heard exclusively on Wreaths Radio every Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM EDT.