Wreaths Across America receives no government funding to support operations. Motivated and dedicated patriots across the country and at locations overseas power the Maine-based nonprofit organization. The mission to remember, honor, and teach is carried out daily by millions of citizens who care deeply for those who have served our nation in the armed forces, and their families. Some of these remarkable individuals are veterans themselves or come from military families while others are driven by a deep sense of patriotism and community service. 

Placing fresh, hand-made balsam remembrance wreaths on the headstones of veterans across the country in December requires tremendous logistics and unyielding support from the trucking industry.

Wreaths Across America shows its gratitude and appreciation for all those involved in transporting America's respect with "Trucking Tributes." These stories will introduce you to the men and women of the industry who make the mission possible.

Like Wreaths Across America, one man's entrepreneurial spirit back in 1934 laid the foundation for Buchheit Logistics in Missouri.

"My grandfather started off with a truck hauling anything he could get his hands on initially and then a little saloon came up for sale," explains Jeff Buchheit, Vice President of Transportation and Logistics for Buchheit. "He got a loan from his father-in-law, made a down payment on the saloon and opened up an old-fashioned general store. At night he'd find what his customers needed in St Louis and would haul that back to the store."

Today, the third generation family operation has expanded into three divisions; Retail, Agriculture and Transportation and Logistics with over a million square feet of warehouse space in Missouri and eastern Pennsylvania.

Jeff says he had heard about Wreaths Across America but it wasn't until he attended a TCA conference a few years ago that he decided to get involved with the mission to remember, honor and teach.

"In 2015 we hauled one load, and just last year we signed up for two," explains Jeff. "Each year we decorate a trailer and the folks at the Bloomfield Missouri Veterans Cemetery like to use the trailer as a backdrop for their ceremonies. In total, we deliver to five different cemeteries in Missouri and Illinois."

The military service backgrounds within Buchheit are impressive.

"Our President Ron Gjerstad is an Air Force veteran who served in the Vietnam era, our safety director Brad Redden is a twenty-five year plus Navy veteran with multplie deployments around the world, and I served in the National Guard for seventeen years."

Jeff personally understands the sacrifices made by military families.

"My oldest child was born during my deployment to Iraq in 2004," Jeff recalls. "The tough part was not leaving and going over there to do my job. Probably the hardest part of my service was reintegrating and getting back to life as normal when I came home."

Jeff says a lot of drivers who work for Buchheit think it would be exciting to participate in the Wreaths Across America effort. They're right! However, hauling a truckload of America's respect is a privileged duty reserved for certain employees.

"We'll only choose from our group of drivers who have served in the military and that represents about twenty-five percent of our drivers."

Buchheit driver and U.S. Army veteran Thomas Tinnin made the first transport in 2015 and in 2016 Jim Griffaw, Howard Hall, and John White drove as you'll see in these videos that beautifully demonstrate the spirit of patriotism and pride exhibited by Jeff's company and community.

As so many of our volunteers tell us, they believe strongly in the Wreaths Across America mission objective to teach younger generations the value of freedom and the price paid for that freedom. Jeff echoes that sentiment and has involved his three children in the cemetery ceremonies.

"They enjoy it and look forward to it every year. When December rolls around, they ask if we're going to do the wreaths on the headstones again this year."

Thank you, Jeff and Buchheit Logistics for your patriotism and tireless support of Wreaths Across America. You can hear more from Jeff in our "Trucking Tributes" on Wreaths Across America Radio weekdays at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM Eastern.

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