Truckers Shine Through Cold And Rain To Deliver “Joy” To Fallen U.S. Soldiers’ Families
Despite heavy rain and cold weather, truckers deliver on promise to haul 1.8 million Veterans’ Wreaths to 1,640 cemeteries nationwide in massive logistical effort to honor fallen U.S. service members
Arlington, Virginia – Trucker power was on full display last Saturday, December 15, during Wreaths Across America (WAA) Day 2018.
Truckers delivered more than 1.8 million wreaths and helped volunteers lay those wreaths on the headstones of fallen U.S. service members in more than 1,640 cemeteries around the country.
More than 58,000 patriotic volunteers from across the nation came together at Arlington National Cemetery where truckers delivered 68 truckloads of wreaths and volunteers placed 253,000. The freedom loving attendees, like 34-year-veteran truck driver Steve Weldon, were not deterred by the cold temperatures and pouring rain.
Weldon has been proudly volunteering for WAA for more than a decade. “It was pouring rain. It started Friday night and rained tremendously,” Weldon told Transportation Nation Network. “To see more than 50,000 people out there soaking wet, but still out there in the cold and rain was amazing.”
Weldon was given the honor in 2017 to drive a big rig loaded with wreaths through the gates of Arlington and says it was an experience he will always be grateful for. “In my 34 years of driving I’ve hauled millions of dollars of freight, but those 5,000 wreaths are certainly the most valuable load I’ve ever hauled,” Weldon said.
Weldon believes it’s easy to catch “the fever” once you attend a WAA Day. “When you have that wreath in your hand and you walk up to that grave and speak that person’s name, it really gets you in the heart,” Weldon stated.
“In my 34 years of driving I’ve hauled millions of dollars of freight, but those 5,000 wreaths are certainly the most valuable load I’ve ever hauled.” – Steve Weldon, professional truck driver for 34 years
Weldon is not alone in his fervor of support for the WAA mission. Many in the trucking community have embraced the call also.
In 2018 more than 250 trucking companies donated tractors, trailers, personnel, logistics expertise, fuel and many hours to help the cause. “If the trucking industry totaled up the actual amount of money [donated] it would be phenomenal,” Weldon told us.
Many of those in the trucking community involved in WAA Day 2018 took to social media to highlight their experiences. Here’s a sampling.
We were blessed to be @WreathsAcross! While sharing our story, we ran into the widow of a fallen hero. Check it out! Our prayers go out to the loved ones of veterans. @TCANews @TRUCKINGdotORG @CREngland #BeTheirWitness pic.twitter.com/JCkcsPLHmk
— Chad England (@EnglandChad) December 17, 2018
We are proud to support & employ United States Veterans! It is an honor to participate in the Wreaths Across America event each year to honor & remember our fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery & at cemeteries nationwide.
— Prime Inc. (@TruckingJob) December 15, 2018
— M&W Transportation (@DriveMW) December 14, 2018
It is always an honor to be a part of the Wreaths Across America ceremony. We have made this a yearly tradition, and look forward to many more. We would also like to thank Craig Jackson for representing our Tribe family this year! #WreathsAcrossAmerica pic.twitter.com/1bLJjaN8MF
— Tribe Transportation (@TribeTrans) December 18, 2018
From Auburn, Maine to Arlington Cemetery. Our truck is fully loaded and on it’s way with wreaths to honor and support Wreaths Across America Day tomorrow. #WAA2018 #RememberHonorTeach https://t.co/nLPTcGAUlQ pic.twitter.com/rTKRl0fGCe
— Int’l Paper GR (@IntlPaperGR) December 14, 2018
— Cowan Systems, LLC (@CowanSystemsLLC) December 15, 2018
President Trump even made a surprise visit at this year’s Wreaths Across America Day.
@realDonaldTrump visited Arlington National Cemetery Saturday, joining thousands of volunteers with “Wreaths Across America” to lay holiday wreaths on the headstones of those fallen. pic.twitter.com/udTFCMqRpR #WreathsAcrossAmerica
— Terri Green (@TerriGreenUSA) December 15, 2018
“It Just Reminds Us Freedom Isn’t Free”
Executive Director of WAA, Karen Worcester, told TNN in a recent interview featured in the latest episode of TNN’s original series show Truckerville, that without the support of the trucking community WAA Day would be impossible. “It’s absolutely true that without the support of the trucking industry Wreaths Across America could not bring as much joy to these families as you see here today.”
“We call them our rolling ambassadors,” Worcester explained. “They don’t do it for the accolades. They do it because they are patriots and many of them are veterans.”
Weldon agrees and says truckers are drawn to the cause because truckers respect sacrifice. “It just reminds us that freedom isn’t free. We are a grateful nation and it’s our way of giving back to those servicemen who didn’t make it back home,” he said.
“We Hope It Opens A Lot Of People’s Eyes About The Great Work Truckers Are Doing”
The newest episode of Truckerville, “Hauling For Heroes,” takes viewers behind the scenes of this remarkable event and shows you how trucker power makes all the difference. Co-creator and Executive Producer of Truckerville, Raelee Jackson, says “Without truckers this great and hallowed American tradition would simply not be achievable.”
Jackson says, “I think when people see the contribution truckers and the trucking industry make to honor America’s veterans, it’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes.
Jackson hopes more people will recognize the meaningful contributions truckers make every day. “Truckerville is a show that was created to highlight the great work truckers do that most people in the general public just don’t get a chance to see because the establishment media doesn’t present it,” she said.