Professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. Thanks to them, the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach is possible. Veterans’ wreaths move by planes, trains, ships, and livestock trailers, but trucks and their professional drivers transport the lion’s share of America’s respect. In 2022, to be specific, 609 truckloads of wreaths were delivered, representing 439 different carriers.
In November and December, one of the busiest periods of the year for the transportation sector, the Wreaths Across America mission brings drivers together in an effort of unparalleled unity. With a positive, “can-do” work ethic, these professionals make it possible for Americans to honor millions of veterans laid to rest at home and overseas. In 2023, with over 3,700 participating locations, in addition to Arlington National Cemetery, transportation logistics are immense.
Many of these drivers are military veterans and say the truckload of fresh balsam-fir wreaths is the most precious cargo they transport in their careers. Wreaths Across America shares their stories of what motivates them to serve and succeed in the “Trucking Tributes” featured online and on Wreaths Across America Radio.
Larry Bischoff of Larry Bischoff Trucking in Ohio, celebrates fifty years in the trucking industry this year. It all started with family farming, but the state highway running parallel to one of the fields had Larry’s attention. “I was listening to the trucks roar by, and when I was nineteen years old, I got my Chauffer’s License,” Larry reminisced. “In 1973, I started with a small company that let me do some driving. Back then, in the 70’s, we didn’t have all the regulations we do today, and the Chauffer’s license was equivalent to today’s CDL. You did a book test, got your Chauffer’s license, and they handed you the keys to the truck and said, ‘good luck.’ There was no training. You learned as you went, and the first night I went out, it was in an ice storm.”
Fast forward to 1986, when Larry started his own company. “I started out with a dump truck. My family was young, and I was over the road a lot, missing my wife and family. I got into the semi’s in 2008, and I had six drivers working for me at the time. Now we’re down to two, just myself and my son, and it seems to be working out quite well.”
So how did an independent professional driver in Ohio learn about Wreaths Across America’s mission? Larry admits that his son had purchased a satellite radio subscription that it took him well over a year to listen to, but when he did, it was the Dave Nemo Radio crew that introduced the concept of how the trucking industry was vital to the effort to remember fallen heroes across the nation. “I had always wanted to get involved when I first heard about it. After some research and getting connected, I hauled my first load last year. The more I mature, the more I want to give back and show my appreciation for their sacrifices for our freedoms.”
Larry’s father, Arnold Bischoff, served in the Korean War. “He was in the 76th Engineer Construction Battalion. He never told me much about his experiences. In fact, we went on an Alaska cruise together in the last years of his life, and I specifically asked him if there was anything he wanted to tell me about the war, and he looked at me and said, ‘No.”
Larry is pleased with his Wreaths Across America experience and is already looking forward to this year in December. “It was a totally awesome experience for me,” Larry shared. “It was a full week, but I really, really enjoyed it and met some awesome people from Maine to the people at the cemeteries. So many lives have been lost to allow us the freedoms we have today, and it’s important that people don’t take that for granted. I can’t wait to see you when I come back to Maine in just a few months!”
Thank you, Larry Bischoff, for your support of our fallen heroes and veterans. You can hear more of Larry’s interview on Trucking Tributes, listened to every Truckin’ Tuesday exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM Eastern.