The Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach is impossible without the transportation industry. Veterans’ wreaths move by planes, trains, and livestock trailers, but trucks and their professional drivers transport the lion’s share of America’s respect. Many of these drivers are veterans and say the truckload of fresh, balsam-fir wreaths is the most precious cargo they transport in their careers. Wreaths Across America highlights their steadfast commitment in the “Trucking Tributes” feature online and on Wreaths Across America Radio.
Professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. In December, arguably the busiest time of the year for the transportation sector, the Wreaths Across America mission brings them together in an effort of unparalleled unity. Combined with a “can-do” work ethic, that unity makes it possible for Americans to honor millions of veterans laid to rest here at home and overseas. With over 2,700 participating locations and Arlington National Cemetery, transportation logistics are immense.
Once again this year, IAT Insurance Group, partnering with the National Association of Independent Truckers, has contributed $50,000.00 to the Wreaths Across America trucking transportation fund. Scott Miller, Senior Vice President of IAT has been in the insurance trade for years and has been managing the NAIT/IAT Insurance program for over fifteen years. “I manage the independent contractor space,” Scott explains. ”There are over 300,000 independent truckers out there, and that’s our market. We serve everything from the single driver with his own authority to fleets with over a thousand trucks, and we provide insurance products through the National Association of Independent Truckers (NAIT). NAIT was created in 1981 to support the needs of the independent driver out there who doesn’t have the time to chase down insurance benefits. We use the buying power of our over fifteen thousand members to find them more accessible solutions to help keep them moving and safe in their day-to-day operations. IAT Insurance provides products for other parts of the trucking industry as well.”
“For IAT Insurance, a large portion of our business is in commercial trucking, and one of our core values is giving back to the community,” Scott shares. “Trucks are what make the Wreaths Across America mission happen, so it’s a natural fit for us. I met Debbie Sparks at a Truckload Carriers Association event about eight or nine years ago, and that’s when I first heard about Wreaths Across America. Our local office became involved in the wreath-laying ceremonies, and a light bulb went off for everyone about how important this event is. It was great to see the parents at the local cemetery teaching their children about the sacrifices of those we honored. About five years ago, we started donating to the transportation fund. When push comes to shove, these drivers, for the most part, are volunteering their time and equipment, and it was just a great match for us to help offset some of their fuel and other expenses.”
“It’s incredibly humbling to be involved, and two years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to be in Maine when the annual escort was taking off,” Scott reminisced. “To see the caravan of trucks, law enforcement, and all the motorcycles when it’s only thirty degrees outside is amazing. We followed the escort through a couple of towns, and to see the people come out and the patriotism is something we think everyone should experience. When you witness firsthand the passion surrounding the whole process of how these wreaths make it to the cemeteries, it makes you proud to be an American. You can tell it’s important to the drivers involved in hauling the wreaths. Some of them have lost a son or daughter, and many of them have served themselves.”
Scott says they recognize the labor of love behind each fresh, handmade balsam-fir veteran’s wreath. They too, hold Wreaths Across America’s founder Morrill Worcester’s conviction of one day being able to honor every fallen veteran regardless of where they’re laid to rest. “We do our part and encourage others to get involved as well.”
You can hear Scott’s full interview on Trucking Tributes aired every Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM eastern exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio.