Northern New England dairy company Oakhurst donated transportation services for the fourth annual Wreaths Across America (WAA) program, helping deliver veterans’ wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 13. The 750-mile journey from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery began on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, marking the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The convoy of 11 trucks made approximately 30 stops as it traveled southward to honor the nation’s fallen heroes and their families.
WAA is a Maine-based non-profit that coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington and more than 1,000 locations nationwide on National Wreaths Across America Day each December in support of its mission to Remember, Honor and Teach.
“Oakhurst’s enthusiasm for Wreaths Across America and its mission, and companies and supporters like them, are the reason we are successful,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “In addition to providing invaluable transportation services, their commitment also includes employee volunteers who will participate in the laying of the wreaths at Arlington. It is a simple gesture that means so much to the families of fallen soldiers.”
Driving again for Oakhurst this year was Joe Masse, a 38-year Route Sales Driver from Springvale, Maine. His daughter and grandchildren traveled along with the convoy this year, meeting in Washington for the wreath laying ceremony.
“Last year’s trip was incredibly humbling and something I’ll never forget,” Masse said. “I’m incredibly honored that Oakhurst asked me to be its driver once again so that I can be a part of this tremendous effort to honor those who have sacrificed so much for this country’s freedom.”
As part of its ongoing support for Wreaths Across America, Oakhurst designed a dedicated trailer in 2011, honoring the organization’s mission. Oakhurst’s Information Services Team developed technology allowing everyone to experience the journey as if they were inside the cab of the truck. Live video during the drive to Arlington was available via a dedicated website: http://waa.oakhurstdairy.com/. Images and media are also posted to the company’s Natural Goodness blog and Facebook page.
“We were thrilled to be selected by the group to participate in the week-long ceremonial convoy to Arlington National Cemetery, said Paul Connolly, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Oakhurst Dairy. “I would like to thank all the people here at Oakhurst that help us support this trip each year.”
As in past years, a ‘real-time’ map on Oakhurst's website showed the convoy’s location, along with a live dashboard and event camera.
The wreath-laying effort began in 1992 when Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, Maine, donated 5,000 evergreen wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery. Today, the annual weeklong pilgrimage from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery is known as the world’s largest veterans parade. Wreaths Across America placed more than 150,000 wreaths at Arlington, distributed wreaths to more than 1,000 locations across the United States, including 35 veterans cemeteries in Maine and New Hampshire, and overseas for ceremonies to honor America’s fallen soldiers and their families on National Wreaths Across America Day. In total, more than 600,000 wreaths were to be delivered.