December 19, 2016 11:40 AM, EST

Truckers, Volunteers Brave Icy Conditions to Lay Wreaths, Honor Vets

American Trucking Associations
Neither rain nor snow nor sleet would keep professional truck drivers Ralph Garcia and Nate McCarty of ABF Freight from completing their appointed rounds on Dec. 17, and that meant delivering 3,500 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, in their Share the Road truck. 

There, dozens of American Trucking Associations employees helped unload and lay wreaths at gravesites under icy conditions as part of the annual Wreaths Across America celebration. The first significant winter storm of the season struck the Washington, D.C., area in the early morning hours, causing accidents and closing roads and Dulles Airport runways, but hardy volunteers saw to it that veterans were honored.

“The trucking industry believes wholeheartedly in remembering those who have served our country and protected our freedoms,” said ATA President Chris Spear. “Truck drivers throughout the country, many of whom are veterans themselves, are some of the most patriotic individuals you can find, so we’re honored that our industry and the Share the Road program can salute America’s fallen heroes as part of Wreaths Across America.”

Garcia and McCarty drove the program’s truck from the wreath loading dock in Maine to Arlington. The drivers stopped in communities along the way  to participate in education sessions for local students, teaching them about the trucking industry’s importance to the economy and the need to honor the nation’s heroes.

"I set out this week to honor my father, a Green Beret, and carried his hat with us to every ceremony,” said Garcia. "I've been amazed, though, to meet so many people and hear countless stories of bravery and sacrifice, just like my father’s. This will be a very memorable trip for me.”

“Being a part of this trip is very special to me as a veteran and as a truck driver,” said McCarty. “We’ve seen the trucking industry unite and honor America’s heroes in a way that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who takes part in it.”

Wreaths Across America delivered more than one million wreaths to veterans’ graves across the globe.

Share the Road is an ATA highway safety outreach program that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles delivers life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually.