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At Truckload Carriers Association’s Wreaths Across America Banquet, Country Music Superstar Trace Adkins Surprises Core Volunteers, Partners, and Sponsors
After hundreds of thousands of remembrance wreaths are transported to Arlington National Cemetery for the largest veterans’recognition ceremony in the country, those who made it possible are treated to an impromptu performance
It’s been a long week for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), many trucking companies and professional truck drivers, and other Wreaths Across America (WAA) volunteers, who just finished transporting 240,000 remembrance wreaths from Harrington, Maine, down the East Coast so they can be placed on veterans’ graves at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) on Saturday, December 12, 2015. That huge logistical effort in support of National Wreaths Across America Day was rewarded at tonight’s WAA/TCA Arlington Volunteer Banquet when country music superstar Trace Adkins shocked guests by appearing on stage to perform a short, surprise show.
“My company has had the privilege of hauling truckloads of wreaths to Arlington for many years,” said Dennis Dellinger, president of Cargo Transporters, Inc., Claremont, North Carolina. “We always do it out of respect and honor for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, but Trace Adkins caught me by surprise with his kind endeavor tonight. I feel so honored to have been one of the lucky few to be there in that room.”
The banquet, sponsored by Pilot Flying J and Oakhurst Dairy, was organized for the nearly 500 volunteers who coordinated logistics for the wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, including 64 professional truck drivers, many trucking company owners and leaders, TCA staff, and many WAA volunteers. Maine’s governor and first lady, Paul and Ann LePage, attended, as well as Miss Maine 2015, Kelsey Earley, and Nashville recording artist Lindsay Lawler, the official spokesperson of TCA’s Highway Angel program. Representatives from Gold Star families (surviving family members of Armed Forces members killed in combat), most of the WAA board members, and TCA’s incoming president, John Lyboldt, were also present.
WAA founder Morrill Worcester and his wife Karen, the program’s executive director, drew special attention to TCA for coordinating the delivery arrangements for the 240,000 wreaths needed for the ANC wreath-laying ceremony, as well as an additional 670,000 wreaths that went to 1,100 veterans’ cemeteries around the country. Nearly 300 semi-trucks were needed to haul them all.
Barry Pottle, president and CEO of Pottle’s Transportation, Bangor, Maine, and a former chairman of TCA, was honored with the second annual James Prout “Spirit of Giving” Award. Pottle has been participating with WAA’s trucking convoy for more than a decade, since the idea was first conceived.
“I remember when the Worcesters contacted me and said they felt Barry should get the award… I didn’t hesitate to agree,” said Debbie Sparks, TCA’s vice president of development. “I can remember at our Board meetings years ago when Barry would get up and tell us, ‘I, personally, was not able to serve my country, but now through Wreaths Across America, I can at least help thank and remember those who did.’ He almost single-handedly convinced the rest of the trucking industry to commit to the cause.”
Other highlights of the banquet included Miss Maine showing off her clogging talent while each professional truck driver was called to the stage and presented with a limited edition, 2015 WAA collectible truck, courtesy of MacroPoint. Then Lindsay Lawler performed several of her songs.
“I asked one of my Nashville friends to come sing as my Christmas present to each of you,” she told the surprised guests after her set was over. Then Adkins appeared on the stage and played several songs for the stunned audience.
Karen Worcester summed up the evening: “I always find it difficult to adequately thank the volunteers for all the manpower, time, money, and equipment they give so we can put on this huge event. Trace was able to do that tonight, definitely. I can’t imagine a better way to thank them.”
For a list of trucking carriers that volunteered for Wreaths Across America this year, please visit http://truckloadofrespect.com/Volunteer-Carriers. You can also stay informed about TCA’s involvement by following us on Twitter – www.truckload.org/Twitter — and Facebook — www.truckload.org/Facebook — and by using the hashtag #Wreaths2015.