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Trucking Industry Unites in Commitment to Wreaths Across America Program
46 Trucking companies are providing equipment and manpower to haul 325,000 wreaths to veterans’ cemeteries across the U.S.
Truckload by truckload, the trucking industry is showing its appreciation for the sacrifices America’s military veterans have made for their country. This week, 46 trucking companies hauled 80 truckloads of fresh wreaths (about 325,000) to be laid on graves at more than 700 veterans’ cemeteries across the nation. The massive effort supports Wreaths Across America, a non-profit organization that coordinates veteran services and recognition through a variety of programs, and provides schools with teaching aides for projects throughout the year.
Barry Pottle, president and CEO of Pottle’s Transportation, Bangor, Maine, and a past chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association, has taken the lead in coordinating the trucking industry’s involvement with this impressive event. “Wreaths Across America is a great cause… it has really brought the trucking industry together,” he said. “We’re united in wanting to wish veterans and their families happy holidays and to thank those who died protecting our freedom. It’s a great cause, and we’re so proud to be a part of it!”
The following trucking companies and related organizations have participated this year:
“Wreaths Across America Day” is held annually on the second Saturday of every December. In conjunction with this event, a national remembrance ceremony takes place at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, the final resting place for hundreds of thousands of veterans. This year’s Arlington event will be the largest ever, requiring the placement of more than 100,000 wreaths. The wreaths are traveling in a “Veterans Honor Parade” that began December 4, 2011, in Harrington, Maine. It is making its way slowly down the East Coast, escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders, stopping at schools, monuments, veteran’s homes and communities as part of the program’s mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve in the military, and teach children the value of their service.
“I’m impressed at the level of commitment the trucking industry has made to this endeavor,” said Gary Salisbury, TCA’s chairman and the president and CEO of Fikes Truck Line, Inc., of Hope, Arkansas. “Congratulations to Barry Pottle and his team of dedicated volunteers – both trucking companies and individual professional truck drivers – who have done such a tremendous job making this initiative work.”
The tradition of laying wreaths at Arlington began in 1992 when the owner of Worcester Wreath Co. found a surplus of leftover wreaths available near the end of the holiday season. With the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), arrangements were made for the wreaths to be placed in one of the older sections of the cemetery. In 2005, a photo of snow-covered gravestones adorned with wreaths gained national attention, and the subsequent outpouring of requests led to the creation of the nonprofit organization now called Wreaths Across America.
For more information about the Wreaths Across America program, visit WreathsAcrossAmerica.org. To volunteer your trucking equipment and drivers for next year’s effort, contact Barry Pottle at (800) 370-5623 or firstname.lastname@example.org.