Professional drivers and trucking companies give so much to the nation. Without them, the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach would be nearly impossible. 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 2023, to be specific, 717 truckloads of wreaths were delivered, representing 332 different carriers and partners.
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, these professionals make it possible for Americans to honor millions of veterans laid to rest at home and overseas. In 2024, with over 4,200 participating locations, in addition to Arlington National Cemetery, transportation logistics are immense.
Many of these drivers are military veterans and say the truckload of fresh balsam-fir wreaths is the most precious cargo they transport in their careers. Wreaths Across America shares their stories in the “Trucking Tributes” feature online and on Wreaths Across America Radio and Sirius XM, Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking.
It must have been that road trip from Arizona to New Mexico with his parents when he was just three days old that shaped Gaylon Turner’s destiny. Gaylon distinctly remembers his first driving experience with a chuckle when he shared the memory of accompanying his father and brother to an oil rig one day when he was fourteen. “One of the guys looked at me and said, ‘Boy, if you’re going to be out here, then you’re going to go to work.’ He picked me up and chucked me into this old International day-cab. He didn’t even get in the truck with me. He said, ‘That’s the clutch, that’s the accelerator, and that’s the break. That’s the gear shift, don’t touch that, you keep it in that one gear and go down and grab a load of brine water and bring it back,’ and that was my start with driving. I was excited, you know? I was out in the country, and I knew there was nothing I could tear up except the truck!”
And so it began for Gaylon, who has been driving professionally for going on 29 years. For Robin, his wife and driving partner since 2008, the low bass sound of a big rig’s Jake break sparked her fascination with life on the road. Theirs is a trucking love story that has endured five million miles combined. What’s most impressive is the relationship also survived Gaylon teaching Robing how to drive. “He found me on the internet after years of being apart and told me he was going to be driving, and did I want to go with him,” Robin gleefully explained. “It’s actually our running joke between us now as to who is the better driver!” To which Gaylon interjected, “She’s the better driver, but it’s okay because I trained her!”
Gaylon and Robin are a dynamic driving duo for Hobby Lobby Transportation, and that’s how they learned about the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor, and teach. “Hobby Lobby likes to have their veterans involved with Wreaths Across America, and there’s a list of people who want to be involved,” Gaylon shared. “I’m happy to have served, and I enjoyed my time in the military. It was a great experience. It made me a better person.” Gaylon served in the U.S. Navy and is a strong proponent of military service. “We were so honored when Hobby Lobby selected us to be involved with the Wreaths Across America Ceremony in Houston, Texas.”
Gaylon and Robin expressed their enthusiasm for what they saw unfold on National Wreaths Across America Day and their gratitude for taking part. “It was just amazing to see all these people come together for the same purpose. Everything that Hobby Lobby and other trucking companies did, with the wreath coordinators and volunteers, is a testament to working together. It was a very nice thing to see.” Robin added one of her emotional moments came when they saw all the veterans on motorcycles leading their truck and the rest of the wreath procession to the participating cemetery with law enforcement support. “The most special part for me was getting those wreaths and putting them on the graves and telling these soldiers and family members, ’thank you for your service and giving your life that I can be free.”
Thank you, Gaylon, Robin, and Hobby Lobby Transportation, for your support of the mission.
If you’d like to become a member of the Wreaths Across America Honor Fleet, you can get started with a click right here!