Wreaths Across America and Load One
A military veteran, John Elliot and his company Load One has always been active in supporting the American military. Four years ago, John and Load One became involved in the Wreaths Across America effort.
Wreaths Across America (WAA) was established in 1992, when Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington, Maine found that they had an overabundance of wreaths left over. Having respected Arlington Cemetery since a young boy, Worcester decided to take those wreaths and lay them on the graves of service members. Since then, WAA has grown to nationwide proportions laying wreaths at many national cemeteries across the country.
Four years ago, John Elliot donated the use of one Load One truck to haul wreaths to Arlington Cemetery for WAA. John spoke about this year's efforts, "This was Load One's 4th year participating in the program. We originally started by providing one truck and as of this year provide four trucks to the charity. Load One provides financial support for the charity as well. We were able to sponsor well over 600 wreaths to be placed at Arlington this year on top of providing the trucks. Our staff helps raise funds to for this effort, our drivers and owner operators donate time and effort to make all of it possible."
"This year we delivered two tractor trailer loads across Mississippi and Alabama. One of our special 'Patriot Trailers' had the honor of being one of the units to deliver to Arlington National Cemetery. Also one of our expedite teams carried the 'freedom wreath' a 14-foot wreath that was delivered to the Statue of Liberty for special ceremonies there.
The drivers were able to meet Gov Chris Christie after delivering it. The team then delivered special wreaths for the Pentagon and other locations and finished at United States Soldiers and Airmen's Home National Cemetery in DC for wreath laying ceremonies. Along the way, the drivers get to experience so many things, talking to people about the charity, meeting veterans, volunteers and families of fallen soldiers. It is truly a life experience and it really helps the public to see part of the good things that the trucking industry does."
"I got to ride in with the convoy on Saturday morning for the big event. It was amazing, 220,000 wreaths covering all of the headstones at Arlington in a matter of two hours placed by between 35,000 and 50,000 volunteers. This year over 750,000 wreaths were placed at more than 1000 cemeteries around the country. It really is an event that helps remind you what makes America so great."
John concludes, "It is a lot of different emotions in a day. They range from great pride in our veterans and country to sadness when you watch a mother or child place a wreath on the headstone of a fallen husband or father. As long as I own Load One we will continue to support this charity, the Worcester family who created it and hopefully increase our assistance every year."