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.
When you learn about Brad Pinchuk's military service background, it's not hard to understand why his trucking company supports the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach.
Brad served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer during the first Gulf War, his father served our nation during the Vietnam War, and his grandfather during World War II.
Brad is the President and CEO of Hirschbach Motor Lines which is in the temperature-controlled segment of the transportation industry primarily moving food products throughout the country. Hirschbach was founded in 1935, and about five years ago Brad and his partner, Tom Grojean Jr. purchased the company from Tom's father. Their focus has been on development, including driver retention, which resulted in major organic growth for the company.
Brad learned about Wreaths Across America through Hirschbach's membership with the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).
"We thought that was a great cause to be involved with, and that is when we reached out to see how we could help," Brad shares. "We started out with one delivery that first year, two the next year, and have added an additional delivery each year."
Hirschbach Motor Lines has transported veterans' remembrance wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery and at various locations in the Midwest.
"We do a lottery each year to determine which of our drivers will have the privilege of hauling these wreaths to cemeteries. About a third of our company drivers are military veterans, and this has become very popular among them which is one of the reasons why we're increasing the number of deliveries we do."
In 2016, Steven Edwards, whose father served in the U.S. Army transported veterans' remembrance wreaths for Hirschbach. Other participating drivers included James Gile who has two sons who are paratroopers in the U.S. Army and Christopher Hupp who has personally served as a member of the U.S. Army
Brad's wife, Jillayne is an artist and she produces Hirschbach's annual holiday cards. Last year she painted one of the Hirschbach trucks at Arlington.
"One of our customers who received the card made it a point to tell us how moved she was by the image, and it was the only card she kept after the holidays," Brad explained. "We're bringing her as our guest to this year's Gala for Wreaths Across America sponsored by TCA so she can learn more about the mission and effort."
Brad says it's a privilege for Hirschbach to be involved with Wreaths Across America. "Anything that we can do to help educate people about those who have given service to this country or are proud of those who have is important. From our standpoint, it's a relatively small thing to do, and we're proud to be a part of the mission."
In addition to supporting Wreaths Across America's mission to remember, honor and teach about six of Hirschbach's drivers have participated in relaying the traveling Vietnam Wall from Virginia to Illinois.
Thank you, Brad and the entire Hirschbach family for your patriotism and tireless support of the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach.
You can hear more from Brad 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.
Wreaths Across America announced that its Executive Director Karen Worcester and Founder Morrill Worcester were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Patriot Award, the highest award the Society can bestow to an individual.
I was a Navy spouse for 12 years and during that time we lost over two dozen of our closest friends. Most of whom are buried at Arlington National Cemetery and Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
Photo Contest Winners Announced
Wreaths Across America chose the 2018 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, KY, from March 22-24 to debut its newly designed Traveling Education Exhibit. This 48-foot display trailer hooked to its Chevy truck was loaded with many “hands on” technology and interactive information about the program to help visitors learn about the mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Wayne Hanson was honored to be one of the Wreaths Across America team accompanying the exhibit, where one of the more memorable things he had the pleasure of doing was to say two words to some of those present…”Welcome Home!”
As the only fully-integrated recycling provider in Central Texas, TDS joined in the effort to remember, honor and teach by donating their services.
All of the 30 Medal of Honor Recipients in attendance during the four days of events were glad to have a chance to meet Morrill and Karen.
The goal of the S.W.A.T. training is to create a core "support group" for location and fundraising volunteers with more experienced leaders joining the ranks every year.
"If you're an American, you're proud to do it. I know it's probably one of the best things I've done every year."
Mission Matters with Karen Worcester is a new program heard only on Wednesdays on Wreaths Across America Radio. Here's the schedule of the shows coming up and a link to the station.
Anyone who really knows me knows that I am often a walking Wreaths Across America billboard. They will normally see me sporting a WAA-branded sweatshirt or t-shirt, my blue and green WAA wristband and my ever-present WAA baseball cap. I’m proud of my connection with WAA and love to promote what we do and why we do it.
That being said, I want to relate a recent encounter I had while standing in line at our local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office the other day.
Air Force Veteran*, Wayne Merritt, currently manages the Veterans Transportation Program based out of Wreaths Across America Headquarters in Maine. Monday thru Friday, Wayne travels to area towns in the Downeast region to pick up veterans and bring them to their doctors’ appointments. This is just one of the many free programs Wreaths Across America offers to veterans and their families.
Military children worry about their parent’s safety very day. These children face many challenges, frequent moves and lengthy separation due to trainings and deployments. They take on more responsibilities and worry about their parent every day.
"I really don't see it stopping, and we want people to tell us where they see it. Take pictures and videos when you check it out and share them with us on social media."
Debbie says she and the transportation team are excited about new and more efficient systems that will be in place for 2018 and beyond.
To come up with an accurate wreath count for sponsorships, great effort was taken to assure no one was forgotten.
As we approached, Morrill and I began to realize that here laid the body of a very important veteran that we had apparently overlooked for the past 26 years in our annual wreath placement.
The many stops along the way at schools, veterans organizations, police and fire stations were also overflowing with love and good wishes.
I want my daughter to grow up understanding what true heroes are and the sacrifices that have been made for us to live in a free country.
Complete strangers just moments before, together, Denny and Ella read the name on her grandfather's headstone and talked some about him while laying his wreath.
"When she explained to us what Wreaths Across America is and does, it was a no-brainer for me that we would get involved."
On behalf of her father Rod, Cindi shared her grandfather's words with the audience during the memorial service. You can hear her presentation and see other highlights from the service in this video.
These two quiet and humble individuals are a team dedicated to giving back to their nation. They educate others by sharing their experiences and lessons of love and sacrifice not just from the war but the other "battlefields of life."
To better serve our volunteers in 2018 and beyond, we're reorganizing and providing more tools to support their inspiring efforts.
"I witnessed a few of the boys laying an "in honor of" wreath. They did it with reverence."
Guided by an infrangible faith when the supply of lifejackets ran out they gave up their own to save the lives of others.
"I went up to that hill and looked at all of those graves of my colleagues who have gone before me.
Volunteers planning to assist in removing wreaths are asked to attend a short briefing at the McClellan Gate at 8:30 a.m. and to follow these guidelines.
As witnessed through this video, the volunteer commitment of patriotic citizens is a year-round effort that culminates in a remarkable day of unity, friendship, and healing.
Some give the ultimate sacrifice of a loved one and are often left in sorrow to wonder if other citizens remember or appreciate what they gave up for liberty and justice for all.
Wreaths Across America knows some of the finest musicians out there are members of our military performance groups. Each month, we like to feature the musical works of those talented individuals.