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Carriers Hauling Wreaths for National Wreaths Across America Day Can Now Pre-Select Loads
Truckload of Respect website makes it easier and more efficient for trucking industry to support Wreaths Across America’s December 13th initiative
Over the years, the trucking industry, led by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), has become an enthusiastic supporter of the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America (WAA). Now, TCA has devised more efficient and economical ways for its members and others in the trucking industry to participate in WAA’s signature event, National Wreaths Across America™ Day.
National Wreaths Across America Day will take place on Saturday, December 13, 2014. Fresh wreaths will be trucked to nearly 1,000 veterans’ cemeteries across the country as well as Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) in Virginia. Volunteers will then place the wreaths on the graves of those who served — and often gave their lives for — the United States.
But the logistics of getting the greenery to all of those cemeteries requires significant effort and a lot of advance planning. Trucking companies, owner operators, and professional truck drivers that may be located in all parts of the country must get to one of four origination points for wreath pickup. They must then transport the wreaths to the various cemeteries in cities across the U.S. Additional trucks will haul the majority of the wreaths from Harrington, Maine, to Arlington, Virginia, via the “world’s largest veterans' parade.” This convoy of 18-wheelers drives down the East Coast for a week prior to the event, stopping at schools, monuments, veterans’ homes, and communities for rallies and educational events along the way.
As the effort has attracted more publicity over the years, donations for wreaths have increased – but so has the need for more trucks and personnel to haul them. Last year, TCA and some of its members coordinated the load planning manually, but it was difficult to stay on top of the loads with new wreath donations continually arriving closer to the event. This year, with the help of TCA member Tennant Truck Lines, Inc., of Colona, Illinois, load history from the last three years has been analyzed, resulting in a projection of the most economical and efficient routes available. Carriers can now use the Truckload of Respect website to choose routes that make the most business sense for them. They can sort by origination point, state, number of stops, and can even select a particular local cemetery. Although TCA may have to make final adjustments to the routes, at least carriers will have a general idea of the dates, times, routes, and resources that will be needed.
“After scrambling to patch loads together, it was time to take it up a notch and apply solid trucking logic to this endeavor,” said Aaron Tennant, company president and TCA’s at-large officer. “I remember when Barry Pottle, a past TCA chairman, first told us about how he was hauling wreaths for WAA. Although he personally did not serve his country, he said this was his way of giving back to those who did. We pretty much all feel that way now. So tightening up the way we coordinate the loads is just another way we can improve something we strongly believe in.”
A second new feature of the Truckload of Respect website is the ability to sponsor a load. For example, if carriers do not have the resources to haul wreaths themselves, they can sponsor the fuel cost for an owner operator to do it.
Finally, the website can be used to purchase wreaths. Because of the special 150th anniversary of ANC, TCA’s goal is to help WAA raise enough money to sponsor 230,000 wreaths – close to 87,000 more than last year – which would cover every grave marker at the Cemetery. Individuals and companies are asked to sponsor one wreath for $15, or a box of eight wreaths for $120. In addition, for $40 (includes shipping and handling), professional truck drivers can purchase a “Trucking Patriot Pair” – one wreath to attach on the grill of their truck and a corresponding wreath to be laid at Arlington on National Wreaths Across America Day – and join the rolling tribute of drivers honoring veterans.
To make or select a delivery route, sponsor a load, or donate a wreath, please visit www.TruckloadofRespect.com. You can also stay informed about TCA’s involvement in National Wreaths Across America Day by following us on Twitter – www.truckload.org/Twitter — and Facebook — www.truckload.org/Facebook — and by using the hashtag #121314SayIDid.