Walmart runs 77 trucks for the Wreaths Across America mission. It’s a convoy, a tribute to honor the fallen in as many places around the country as they can. Jenny Lovering, Walmart General Transportation Manager, took time to meet with VIT and tell us about one of the mothers they met that had lost her son in Afghanistan:
We were up in Harrington. It was the first leg of the convoy for Wreaths Across America– That in itself is very special– We go through a lot of small towns. People wave flags. They salute as we pass.
Walmart always visits a restaurant in Ellsworth. We stopped at a restaurant to get the drivers a bite to eat. A lady who was also eating at the restaurant noticed some of the drivers were wearing Wreaths Across America hats, and some of us had on our Wreaths Across America shirts.
She asked if anyone was going to Arlington?
Three of our drivers were.
She pulled out a business card with a man’s picture on it with the name Mark. She gave us the card and asked if we would stop in and say hello to her son and tell him that his mom loves him.
The Wreaths Across America mission believes that people die twice– they die once when you stop breathing, but they also die a second time the final time their name is spoken.
That was her son, and so when we went to Arlington we found her son Mark’s grave. We placed the wreath on his stone. We said his name and we told him his mom loves him and thanked him for his service.
We took a picture of it and sent it to his mom. And that meant so much to her. We connected with her later, and she was extremely grateful that someone went and visited her son and said his name.
It’s things like that mean a lot to the drivers and remind us why we do what we do. Jenny finishes with, “They are thanking us for what we’re doing when really it’s them and their family members that have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
Karen Worcester, founding family member of Wreaths Across America told VIT that drivers really are making the difference, “We couldn’t do what we do without the boots on the ground. And that also goes for the trucking industry.”
“Right from that first load in 1992 he couldn’t have done it if he had to hire a truck. I would say between 90-95 percent of deliveries of our 2.4 million wreaths are done by volunteer trucking companies.”