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  • Writer's pictureJimmy Mac

Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents Stacie and Mark Dennis with TA Dedicated

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.


The love of driving brought this dynamic truck-driving duo together. The lives of Stacie and Mark Dennis intersected five years ago in the Dallas truckyard of TA Dedicated, and now they’re a team in every sense of the word. Stacie shared she was raised in a “family of truck drivers” and when she hit rock bottom in life several years ago, her brother suggested she go for her CDL. “It wasn’t easy,” Stacie admitted. “But, when I got my CDL and looked at these trucks, I thought, man, I drive that beast! I’ve been driving now for over eleven years, and that’s what makes my motor run still today; it’s a rush!”



Mark confirms Stacie’s enthusiasm with a chuckle. “She loves it so much she wants to take the day shift driving so people will see her more than they would at night!” When asked about how they handle relationship squabbles on the road, Mark replied with a grin, “When she gets mad at me and goes to her room and stuff, all I hear is Velcro. There’s nowhere to run and hide, so I have to be on my best behavior.”


Good behavior comes easily to Mark. He had good role models growing up, and following in their footsteps, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served for six years. “My grandfather served in the Pacific in the Navy in WW II; Dad was Army in Korea, and my Uncle served in the Army and was actually at Scofield Barracks during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Marines made me grow up, and I learned discipline and developed a different outlook on things than what I had before as a younger man. The brotherhood and friendships I developed have carried me through life. It’s a bond I didn’t have before. Even though it’s been many years since we served, and we may live miles apart, we can still talk on the phone, and it’s like we haven’t missed any time.” Stacie confirms their “buddy checks.” Mark served in the Marine Corps Infantry with the Second Marine Division and was aboard the USS Forrestal as a Marine security force.


Mark explained how he got involved in hauling America’s respect as a member of the Wreaths Across America Honor Fleet. “In 2019, I was a senior trainer, and I did Troops for Transportation with TA Dedicated. They decided it would be a good idea to have veterans train veterans transitioning out of the military and looking for jobs because we have a camaraderie. They presented me with a Marine-wrapped truck, and when they asked me if I wanted to do Wreaths Across America, I said, yeah, and my student at that time was just out of the Army. He didn’t really know what it was about until we left Wreaths Across America and started to Minnesota. A man passed us like he was trying to race us to the toll booth there in New Hampshire, and he blasted through the toll booth and pulled over on the shoulder of the road. When we drove through, he got out of his car and saluted and the student looked at me and said, ‘Wow, man.’ And I said,’ That’ll make you sit up straighter in your seat, won’t it? That’s what this is all about.’ ”


Stacie joined the Wreaths effort for the first time last year with Mark. They hauled their veterans’ wreaths to Fort Snelling National Cemetery. “It was very humbling to see how many people actually came out to support our veterans, and to be a part of such a tribute to those who served was an honor,”  Stacie shared, getting teary. “Not only was I able to support all of them, but I was able to show support for my veteran. You meet all these people who act like you’ve been their best friend since way back when, and everyone just comes together. I attended the ceremony at Fort Snelling, and it was just an amazing experience.”


Mark clarified, “It’s not just a bunch of veterans out there doing this; it’s a family day. It’s the families of the companies that support this, and the kids are learning respect, and they enjoy doing it. Seeing these young kids out there laying wreaths is a big deal in Minneapolis; they had over a thousand volunteers. Whether the people buried there have family left or not, they’re still being remembered, and that’s important.”


Thank you, Stacie and Mark Dennis and all the folks at TA Dedicated for helping support the mission to remember, honor, and teach.


If you’d like to join the Wreaths Across America Honor Fleet, you can get started with a click right here!


 

You can hear more with Stacie and Mark on Trucking Tributes, listened to every Truckin’ Tuesday at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM EST on Wreaths Across America Radio and Fridays at 8 AM EST, on The Dave Nemo Show on Sirius XM Channel 146, Road Dog Trucking Radio.


Discover the Trucking Tributes archive playlist on Soundcloud.com.


Sponsor a wreath at the RadioNemo Wreaths Across America Page.

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