Truckload Carriers Association Hosts First Annual Benefit Gala Supporting Wreaths Across America
Heather French Henry, Miss America 2000, will emcee the evening;
Guest list to include members of Congress, military, and trucking-related dignitaries
Tomorrow night, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) will host its inaugural benefit gala supporting Wreaths Across America (WAA), a national, nonprofit organization that continues and expands the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by a Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester, in 1992. The event will take place Thursday, September 12, 2013, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. It will feature a reception hosted by Randall-Reilly of Tuscaloosa, Alabama; a dinner hosted by TravelCenters of America/ Petro Stopping Centers of Westlake, Ohio; special presentations; entertainment hosted by Pilot Flying J of Knoxville, Tennessee; and a silent auction.
TCA is holding the Gala because the trucking industry has a close connection with the U.S. armed forces. (Veterans often choose to make their careers in trucking after serving in the military.) For many years, to support WAA’s “Wreaths Across America Day,” TCA members had been individually donating their equipment and driver resources to haul truckloads of fresh wreaths, which were laid on the graves at veterans’ cemeteries across the nation, and also placed on veterans’ graves during a special ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. As the effort grew, TCA got involved with fund-raising for WAA and, in 2012, began coordinating the logistics that were necessary to transport hundreds of thousands of wreaths.
“The mission of Wreaths Across America – to Remember, Honor, Teach – is very important. We hope that the Gala will enhance awareness of the cause, while raising funds to take the mission even further in 2013,” said Chris Burruss, TCA’s president and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
He continued: “Our attendee list also includes representatives from the House of Representatives and Senate, Arlington National Cemetery, various segments of the U.S. military, including numerous veterans, and, of course, many trucking associations, organizations, and affiliated companies. It’s going to be a great evening.”
Heather French Henry, also known as Miss America 2000, will serve as emcee. As the daughter of a disabled veteran of the Vietnam War, Henry has experienced, firsthand, the struggles facing veterans nationwide. She therefore chose to dedicate her reign as Miss America to raising awareness of veterans’ issues. She has been active in getting legislation passed for homeless veterans, and she also created a foundation that provides financial and educational support to community-based providers of services in the areas of homelessness, health care, and housing.
The speaker list includes Karen and Morrill Worcester of Columbia Falls, Maine, founders of Wreaths Across America, and Barbara Bernard of Columbia, Pennsylvania, president of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., an organization of mothers whose sons or daughters served and died for their country. The evening’s entertainment will be provided by Lindsay Lawler, a Nashville recording artist and the official spokesperson of TCA’s Highway Angel program, and Lonestar, a multi-platinum, country music quartet.
For more information about the Gala, follow hashtag #TCAWAA13 on Twitter or visit http://www.truckloadofrespect.com/ to make a donation.