• Jimmy Mac

Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Welcomes Courtney George

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. In 2022, with over 3,400 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.

This Trucking Tributes edition welcomes Wreaths Across America's new Manager of Transportation and Industry Relations, Courtney George. Courtney is no stranger to the trucking industry, and she’s been a long-time friend of Wreaths Across America as a volunteer Co-Location Coordinator in Long Island. The current Manager of Transportation Director, Don Queeney, recently announced to the Wreaths family that he’s looking to step back in his role with the organization to pursue travel interests and spend more time with family. Courtney is training with Don and the Wreaths Across America Transportation team and learning more about transportation logistics as they relate specifically to the Wreaths Across America mission.

Courtney was born in a 'small town' in North Carolina and went to college in Alabama, which admittedly turned her into a loyal college football fan. Any guesses as to her favorite college team? Courtney entered the trucking industry straight out of college. "It's the best thing that ever happened to me," Courtney shared. "I found an industry that I love. It's fast-paced, it is exciting, and there's always something new going on. There's always a new part of the business to learn, so you can help make a greater impact. Right out of college, I said the right thing during an interview and started as a recruiter, but the best thing that Knight Transportation did was to have me work in operations so I could learn so much more about the business, and I got to talk to our drivers to understand how the business impacts them. Since then, I've moved up the ranks and learned that the most valuable resource in the industry is its people. I love to sit with drivers and learn about them; hear their stories." Most recently, Courtney worked at Saia, Hub Group, and Evo Transportation - and is credited with creating affinity groups focused on diversity and equality and increasing the number of female Class A drivers at her previous companies. In 2018, she was named one of the "Females to Watch" by Women in Trucking. The trucking industry brought her to Long Island National Cemetery for the first time to participate in wreath-laying. "I just knew this event was something very special and a perfect match for the culture of the company I worked for at the time. When I pitched the idea of getting involved with Wreaths Across America to the VP of the company, I knew my sales pitch was over when he said, "My father's buried there." As time progressed, Courtney became the volunteer Co-Location Coordinator alongside another dedicated Wreaths volunteer Harry Rathsam. In her new role here at WAA, Courtney will focus on expanding the mission within the trucking industry and will support the logistics team with recruiting, dispatching, and carrier relations. "Wreaths Across America has a great transportation team," Courtney expressed. "Rob, Sarah, Tina, and others behind the scenes work countless hours making sure the driver's bill of lading is ready when they get there, and everything is set up. They spend a lot of time adjusting loads based on the wreath count. Many people don't get that all the little details that need to be worked out come down to how many wreaths are sponsored at a location. We want to make sure that every single wreath sponsored gets to its specific location. A lot of planning goes on throughout the year to make the experience special for every driver, carrier, and volunteer." Courtney is passionate about her new position with Wreaths Across America and looks forward to working with the Wreaths team. "I have seen this mission's impact on so many lives. It's amazing." You can hear about Courtney's assistant Lucy who works for nothing more than a scratch behind the ear and an occasional Puppucinno! Courtney's full interview is on Trucking Tributes which airs every Trucking Tuesday exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM (Eastern).

 

Tune in to hear Courtney George, Michael Hale, and Jimmy Mac on "Remember, Honor, Teach" Friday, October 28 at 10:00am ET on The Dave Nemo Show.--SiriusXM 146.