Professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. Without them, the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach would be nearly impossible. 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 and what motivates them to serve and succeed in the “Trucking Tributes” feature online and on Wreaths Across America Radio.
Marvin Garvey is a professional driver with Epes Transport LLC and a veteran of the United States Army, 1st Infantry Division. “I had a total of twenty-seven years in, and in 2003-2004 I did Operation Iraqi Freedom, and then I went back for a second tour for Enduring Freedom in 2009-2010. After those tours of duty, I did Operation Jump Start patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border. I originally wanted to be a police officer, but decided I wanted to go into the Navy instead,” Marvin admitted his change of heart. “I went down to the Navy recruiting center about ten minutes before Noon, and they were closed. The fella next door in the Army recruiting center saw me and said, ‘Hey, they’ve already gone to lunch, so come over and talk to me about the Army,’ and the rest is history.”
When Marvin rejoined civilian life, he went into trucking and has been a professional driver with Epes for thirteen years. It’s through Epes that Marvin was introduced to Wreaths Across America. “Epes is the best company to work for, and they treat me and the other employees really well. They presented me with a brand-new truck with a military design on it. For Epes Transport and Penske to trust me with their military-styled truck to pick up those wreaths and take them to Arlington National Cemetery really touched my heart. It’s my honor and privilege to do that for them and represent my fellow brothers and sisters who died for this country to protect my freedom and everyone else’s freedom. It means so much to the Gold Star families.”
All of the professional drivers you meet who haul America’s respect have a deeply personal story to share about how the mission to remember, honor, and teach impacts them, and Marvin is no exception. “I was on my way to Arlington and stopped at a supermarket to get something to eat when a lady approached the truck and asked me if I was going to Arlington, and I said yes. She told me her husband was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and she was going to place a wreath. Then she asked me if I knew what section I was going to, and it turned out to be the same section. Tears started to roll down her face, and she asked if she met me at the truck, would I go with her to place her husband’s wreath. That Saturday morning, she met me at the truck, and I walked down there and placed a wreath with her. It’s an honor to be on that sacred ground anyway, but that was the biggest thrill and honor I’ve ever encountered there.”
Epes Transport, LLC continues to support the mission every year, and you know you’ll see both U.S. military veterans Marvin Garvey and Steve Talbot in their beautiful trucks as National Wreaths Across America Day approaches on Saturday, December 16, 2023. Thank you, Marvin, Steve, and the whole team at Epes, for your unwavering support.
You can hear more with Marvin in his Trucking Tributes interview. Trucking Tributes is listened to exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio every Trucking Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4 PM Eastern.