A Shared Mission: 2021 Wreaths Across America

Giving Back

Ask folks who take part in Wreaths Across America what makes the program so special and you’ll hear a common answer: People coming together from across the country to fulfill one mission.

“It’s pretty hard sometimes to get truck drivers to agree on what time it is,” jokes Rob Balfour, a Walmart driver based out of Lewiston, Maine. “But for Wreaths, we all come together to work as one team to make sure that wreaths are laid on graves of all the service members. There’s nothing like it.”

Remember, Honor, Teach

Every December, hundreds of trucks travel throughout the United States packed with wreaths to be laid on the graves of veterans. With the motto “Remember, Honor, Teach,” the organization strives to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve in the military and teach kids about the value of freedom.

Walmart driver Rob Balfour

Rob (pictured above) explains that he was introduced to Wreaths Across America 9 years ago, when he was assigned to head up to northern Maine with an empty trailer in order to collect wreaths. He’d never heard of the organization before then. “It touched me. After that, I wanted in,” Rob says.

 

Now, he looks forward to the event every year. “The Walmart drivers all look forward to it. It’s kind of like a brotherhood. We’ve met people on these trips that we’ve been friends with for years.”

 

Brad Cox, who’s been driving for Walmart for 16 years, is one of the drivers who looks forward to hauling wreaths every year. “My favorite part of Wreaths Across America is seeing America come together on one mission.”

 

As a former U.S. Marine, the mission is personal to Brad (pictured below). It’s a chance for him to speak with Gold Star Families—spouses, children, parents and siblings whose loved one died in service to our nation. It’s a chance for him to honor “the people who have passed on and who we don’t know their names until we lay a wreath for them.”

Walmart driver Brad Cox

National Wreaths Across America Day

This year, in 2021, Rob and Brad each drove a trailer of wreaths from Ellsworth, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery, the site of the largest Wreaths Across America ceremony. On Dec. 18, 38,000 volunteers helped lay more than 250,000 wreaths on the tombstones of military servicemen and women.

 

While Rob has not served in the military, he has plenty of family members who have. “This is my way of doing my contribution. This is my way of honoring those that have served.”

 

If you’d like to learn more about Wreaths Across America and how you can help, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org. Volunteers are always welcome—whether you are a driver, wish to lay wreaths at a local cemetery, or want to purchase a wreath to donate.