A collaboration between the trucking industry and a nonprofit that honors fallen veterans continues this weekend as truckers transport more than a million holiday wreaths to cemeteries nationwide.
As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the trucking industry is once again getting into the spirit by helping a nonprofit bring holiday greenery to cemeteries where military service members are laid to rest.
Each year, Wreaths Across America—a nonprofit formed by the Worcester Wreath Company in 2007 but with roots in a tradition the company started in 1992—has coordinated the placement of wreaths on grave sites at veterans’ cemeteries across the country on National Wreaths Across America Day. This year’s event is taking place this Saturday.
WAA has expanded the event far beyond Arlington National Cemetery, where the tradition began. This year, wreaths will be placed at more than 1,400 participating locations, including, for the first time, a cemetery outside the U.S. On December 1, the nonprofit delivered more than 9,000 wreaths to France’s Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
Back in the U.S., an ongoing collaboration with the U.S. trucking industry is growing larger than ever. For a number of years, the Truckload Carriers Association has worked with WAA on National Wreaths Across America Day to deliver wreaths nationwide. TCA anticipates that participating drivers will deliver 2 million wreaths this year—well above the 406,000 delivered in 2012.
TCA, along with other partners such as the National Association of Independent Truckers, raised more than $90,000 this year, both digitally and during a charitable gala event, to support the project.
“Each December, hundreds of TCA members are proud to haul a truckload of respect,” TCA President John Lyboldt at the September gala, according to a news release.
— Truckload Carriers Association (@TCANews) December 13, 2018
— J.B. Hunt Drivers (@JBHuntDrivers) December 12, 2018
As the event revs up for this Saturday, both TCA and WAA, along with their members and supporters, are promoting their efforts on social media. Large companies and small businesses alike are taking part in the effort.
Steve Schildhauer, who will be driving the Wreaths Across America Honor Truck from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery this weekend, said he considered it a great honor, as he and many of his relatives have served in the military.
“There will be some challenges I’m sure, but I’m going to bring my ‘A game’ and do my job right,” he said in a WAA blog post. “I think right now more than ever we need to remember our past and learn from it so we don’t repeat it.”