Aaron Huff

It’s all about service

Aaronj Untitled 1Wreaths Across America is one donation that keeps on giving

 

On Dec. 4, dozens of trailers were loaded in Harrington, Maine, at the headquarters of Worcester Wreath Co. The following day, a convoy set out toward Arlington, Va., escorted by police and the Patriot Guard.

At the front of the escort was Army veteran and fleet owner Bob Baylor driving “Wreath One,” a flag-adorned Kenworth owned by Milan, Ind.-based Baylor Trucking. The company delivers more than 1,100 loads a week, but of all the loads transported in 2010, this one really did make a difference.

Baylor Trucking was one of more than 50 fleets that donated equipment, drivers and fuel to transport wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery and across the nation for the Wreaths Across America organization.

On the way to Arlington, the convoy crossed through 10 states and made 26 stops at national cemeteries and memorials to place wreaths in honor of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

On Dec. 11, the trucks arrived in Arlington where thousands of volunteers placed more than 30,000 wreaths. Baylor Trucking and many other fleets also sent additional vehicles to Harrington to pick up and deliver wreaths to more than 500 veterans cemeteries across the country.

Baylor Trucking was one of more than 50 fleets that transported wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery for the Wreaths Across America organization.Baylor Trucking was one of more than 50 fleets that transported wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery for the Wreaths Across America organization.

Baylor Trucking took a load from Maine that stopped in Pennsylvania at the Gettysburg National Cemetery and at locations in Ohio and Indiana. Swift Transportation took a load of wreaths from Maine to California. Wal-Mart delivered wreaths and donated $150,000. Pottle’s Transportation dispatched its own trucks and managed logistics for the entire program. The list goes on and on.

The donations to Wreaths Across America by fleets show that the services provided by the trucking industry really do make a difference, says Cari Baylor, director of information technology and sales for Baylor Trucking.

Taking part in the processional gave the Baylor family a chance to meet families who had lost sons and daughters in the military. The Baylors also worked with thousands of volunteers who donated their time to lay wreaths and honor the fallen soldiers and veterans. “They are so grateful for such a little thing that we do,” Baylor says. “This is something remarkably special we can do as an industry.”

To help employees of Baylor Trucking share in the experience, Baylor sent Qualcomm messages to drivers and posted videos of the Arlington processional to the company’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Hundreds – even thousands – of people visited these sites daily.

“I would get e-mails and texts from employees that said, ‘You put me in tears today. I’m so proud to be working for this company,’ ” she says.

One of the side benefits of participating in Wreaths Across America is the renewed sense of pride that employees felt for the service they provide to customers on a daily basis. “If there is a (business) correlation to the Wreaths Across America program, it is that it is all about service,” Baylor says.

Next year for the 20th anniversary of Wreaths Across America, the organization plans to lay more than 300,000 wreaths at Arlington alone. Ultimately, the organization hopes to place wreaths at national cemeteries in every state.

“It’s a beautiful experience that will warm your heart,” Baylor says. “It makes you proud to be an American, proud to be a truck driver, and proud to be in the trucking business.” n


Aaron huff is Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal.

E-mail ahuff@ccjmagazine.com or call (801) 754-4296.