Wreaths Across America receives no government funding to support operations. Motivated and dedicated patriots across the country and at locations overseas power the Maine-based nonprofit organization. The mission to remember, honor, and teach is carried out daily by millions of citizens who care deeply for those who have served our nation in the armed forces, and their families. Some of these remarkable individuals are veterans themselves or come from military families while others are driven by a deep sense of patriotism and community service. 

Placing fresh, hand-made balsam remembrance wreaths on the headstones of veterans across the country in December requires tremendous logistics and unyielding support from the trucking industry.

Wreaths Across America shows its gratitude and appreciation for all those involved in transporting America's respect with "Trucking Tributes." These stories will introduce you to the men and women of the industry who make the mission possible.

The Wreaths Across America mission spreads to others by word-of-mouth from the individuals who get involved, and it's the trucking industry that connects all those volunteer efforts with the fallen heroes who deserve to be remembered for their sacrifice.

As we've been showcasing our professional drivers and their companies in our "Trucking Tributes" series, we've come to understand the foundation of strong family ties, hard work ethic, patriotism and pride from which these companies have evolved as they move America, and over a million veterans' remembrance wreaths.

Cowan Systems, LLC., out of Baltimore, Maryland is one such family-owned business. Cowan's Marketing and Social Media Specialist Brandon Tomlinson tells us Joe Cowan is the CEO and owner of the transport company started by his father in 1924. Today, Cowan Systems, LLC. covers many facets of the transportation industry with terminals all across the country, sixteen hundred company drivers, an intermodal division, a single-source staffing and logistics agency, and warehousing.

Brandon started coordinating Cowan's Wreaths Across America activities about a year and a half ago. In addition to the three truck loads of wreaths they transport from Maine to fourteen different cemeteries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland willing Cowan's employees hop on a bus to volunteer to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery.

"When I first started to coordinate our efforts with Debbie Sparks I honestly thought it was going to be like pulling teeth to get twenty volunteers," Brandon recalls. "It wasn't like that at all! It was so easy to recruit volunteers for the mission we actually had to turn people away. We wound up with over sixty people and had to charter a bus! It really speaks to the type of people who make up Team Cowan. It was quite a memorable journey because there was an ice storm last year and we were a little late getting there, but it was a wonderful day."

Brandon says Cowan's President Dennis Morgan feels very passionate about Wreaths Across America and it's a cause near and dear to many of the employees some of whom are veterans.

Cowan Systems, Inc. sponsors Section 7A of Arlington National Cemetery which is the final resting place for over one hundred and twenty fallen heroes. Among them five Generals, six Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients and space shuttle Challenger's Commander Michael Smith. They also play a huge role in the wreath cleanup process by hauling away several loads of cardboard boxes.

Brandon says last year spending time at Arlington National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day with fellow employees of Cowan Systems, Inc. was an educational and humbling experience.

"Our SSL Operations Manager Danny Bageant is a veteran and Purple Heart recipient. I spent a lot of time with him that day, and it was really amazing to hear some of his stories of some of the guys he had served with who were buried there. It made it so memorable for me to spend time with someone had been overseas during Operation Desert Storm, and he could explain to me the military lifestyle and reasons why things are they way they are in the cemetery."

U.S. military veterans driving for Cowan. From L to R: Lee Geesey, Danny Bageant, Roy Johnson, Charlie Chisholm.

U.S. military veterans driving for Cowan. From L to R: Lee Geesey, Danny Bageant, Roy Johnson, Charlie Chisholm.

It's that kind of sharing and connection that makes the Wreaths Across America mission so valuable for individuals like Brandon who will, in turn, encourage community service to teach younger generations the value of liberty.

"If we can remember and honor what they did to give us our freedoms it's easier to teach our children. I'm excited to go back this year."

Thank you, Cowan Systems, LLC. for your patriotism and tireless support of the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach.

You can hear more from Brandon and our other patriots in our "Trucking Tributes" on Wreaths Across America Radio at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM Eastern Monday-Friday.

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