Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Marli Hall and TCA's Highway Angel Program
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. 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.
Marli Hall is the Senior Director of Outreach and Engagement for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). She's been with TCA for nine years, and her history with Wreaths Across America goes back that far. “Debbie Sparks, who was the VP of Development for TCA, and I helped with the logistics role of Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery for five or six years,” Marli explains of the truck staging the day before Wreath Day. “It was such an amazing thing to do. We met so many professional truck drivers and carriers who were passionate about supporting the Wreaths Across America mission.”
Marli says that the trucking industry found her. “I was born, raised, and educated in West Virginia. I graduated from the School of Journalism at West Virginia University and went to work for a local newspaper. I was one of those people who got to go down and say, ‘stop the presses’ if something went wrong with the newspaper. I moved on to a magazine publication in Arlington, Virginia, but was laid off. My resume was up on LinkedIn, and TCA reached out to me. The running joke is that Debbie Sparks liked my last name at the time; it was Riggs. I love the industry, and I love the people.”
TCA is a long-standing trucking association with membership categories of For-Hire Carrier, Private Fleet, Associate, and School. Its Ambassador Club boasts a healthy membership of those who have been involved with the association for several years. “We have oodles of those folks who have been with us for over twenty-five years, and the longest-standing has been with us for going on eighty-three, eighty-four years, I think, Craig Transportation.”
TCA also operates the Highway Angel program and has been honoring professional truck drivers for their courage and heroism on North America’s roadways. These drivers have selflessly sprung into action to save others. Some of these professional drivers are U.S military veterans who credit their service training with knowing what to do when seconds matter, helping save lives. “Our presenting sponsor EpicVue, and supporting sponsor DriverFacts make it possible for TCA to honor these folks for their kindness, courtesy, and courage while on North America’s roadways, and to date, we’ve recognized over 1,300 professional drivers through the program.”
Wreaths Across America will be working with TCA to showcase some of these Highway Angels in the coming months on Wreaths Radio on Trucking Tuesdays.
Thank you, Marli, and all those involved with TCA for your support of the mission. You can hear Marli’s full interview on Trucking Tributes heard exclusively on Wreaths Radio every Trucking Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM Eastern.
Tune in to hear Marli Hall, Michael Hale, and Jimmy Mac on "Remember, Honor, Teach" Friday, June 24 at 10:00am ET on The Dave Nemo Show.--SiriusXM 146.