Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Brown Dog Carriers
Professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. Without the transportation industry, the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach would be nearly impossible to carryout. 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 2021, to be specific, 525 truckloads of wreaths were delivered, representing 390 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, that unity makes it possible for Americans to honor millions of veterans laid to rest here at home and overseas. With over 3,136 participating locations, in addition to Arlington National Cemetery, transportation logistics are immense.
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.
Graig Morin is the President of Brown Dog Carriers and Logistics out of Biddeford, Maine. His involvement with Wreaths Across America’s mission started as a love story, if you will. A romance between his grandparents during World War II. Gerard Morin served in the U.S. Army and was courting Pauline Guillette. “I have a bunch of letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother while he was serving,” Graig shared. “It’s been so cool to read them. I’m still trying to figure out some dates because the letters were somewhat generic about where they were at the time, and there were some gaps in the letters, of course, when he couldn’t write while engaged in the Battle of the Bulge. They were letters between a young man and woman in love, waiting for the war to end so he could come home to get married. When he came back from that conflict, he had orders to ship to Japan, but surrender papers got signed, and he stayed home.”
Graig says his other grandfather served too and living up to their legacy was important to him and why he decided to become a Wreaths Across America Location Coordinator, in addition to the trucking support he donates as a business owner. “I don’t have military experience because I chose trucking as my career right out of high school, but my grandfathers did. That’s how I started to get involved with the cemeteries. I used to get a patriots’ pair of wreaths to lay a wreath at their headstones, and then I looked around and realized his neighbor was a veteran. I got started in one cemetery and then decided veterans in the other city cemeteries deserved wreaths too. There are five cemeteries in Biddeford. As a business owner, I had a lot of connections and encouraged the city and community to get involved, and we raised enough to cover sponsorships for every veteran’s headstone in the city and were able to support some neighboring cemeteries that were participating locations that were coming up short.”
Graig started his business from the ground up a little over four years ago. “I had a pretty humble beginning,” he reminisced. “My first safety meeting was held around my kitchen table with two other drivers, and I was running the business out of a back bedroom of the house. Recently, we just purchased twelve acres in the Biddeford Airport Industrial Park, and that will include a 10,000 square foot office facility and eventually a 100,000 square foot warehouse.”
Along with his business, Graig’s involvement with Wreaths Across America grows every year too. “As a driver, I participated in the Maine-leg of the Annual Wreath Escort to Arlington; we look forward to it every year. Coming through my hometown as part of the escort and seeing the hundreds of people and kids waving their American flags along Route 1 in the Biddeford-Saco area was an amazing experience. I was so proud my kids came out to watch it go by.”
Graig says he and Brown Dog are in it to stay. “As much work as it is, I wouldn’t change a second of it. It’s so worth it to get involved, and I bet you’ll find you want to keep doing more every year. It’s great to see the community come together and kids learning. That’s what it’s all about. If we have to jump through hula-hoops backward, then that’s what we’ll do to honor my grandparents and other veterans.”
You can hear Graig’s full interview on Trucking Tributes. The show Trucking Tributes is heard exclusively on Wreaths Radio every Trucking Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM eastern.
Tune in to hear Graig Morin, Michael Hale, and Jimmy Mac on "Remember, Honor, Teach" Friday, February 25 at 10:00am ET on The Dave Nemo Show.--SiriusXM 146.