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 introduce you to the men and women of the industry who make the mission possible.

Kris Edney is a military child and spent most of his years growing up in Germany. His father, Col. Edney served in the U.S. Army for 26 years. Kris entered the moving and storage business right out of high school and has been moving forward in the industry since.

This year, Interstate Van Lines celebrates its 75th year of service, and Kris Edney is their Director of Operations. Interstate Van Lines services the nation from coast to coast as well as internationally. Their base of operations is out of Virginia, which puts them in a perfect location to support the Wreaths Across America effort at Arlington National Cemetery.

"J.D. Morrissette came to me with a task a few years ago, Kris explains. "That task was to set up a cross-docking operation here in our yard for the debris that comes out of Arlington on wreath day."

Interstate handles emptying anywhere between 65-75 trucks in their yard, and they've become quite efficient with the process.

"We'll unload all the trucks that want to come back to our yard," Kris shares. "We run three unloading lines simultaneously taking out cardboard wreaths boxes, skids, plastic wrap, and trash. Our goal is to get a driver unloaded and on his or her way within three to three-and-a-half minutes."

That's when Interstate volunteers on the ground kick into action separating and re-loading the items into storage trailers that are picked up and taken to a recycling facility.

"Most of the volunteers are employees or family members giving their time for the afternoon and their proud to do it for Wreaths Across America. 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."

Others share Kris' sentiment like company driver Morris Pearsall, and U.S. Army veteran Chuck Corbin an owner/operator who has contracted with Interstate Van Lines for years. In addition to the cross-docking operations in Virginia, they transport fresh balsam veterans' wreaths from Maine to participating cemeteries, sponsored by citizens who remember, honor and teach. Interstate has delivered to Baltimore National Cemetery among other locations.

Kris says Interstate Van Lines is proud to contribute to the mission of Wreaths Across America.

"This country is a great country, and we know that freedom isn't free."

You can hear more from Kris in "Trucking Tributes" which airs Tuesdays at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM EST on Wreaths Across America Radio.

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