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. 

When it comes to trucking, it's all about business competition, but when it comes to Wreaths Across America it becomes all about honoring our military veterans and their families. That's why Abilene Motor Express out of Richmond, Virginia stepped up to support the mission to remember, honor, and teach.

"It kind of amazing really how tight-knit the community is when it comes to something like this," Will Smith states. "Owners and managers go way back in the industry, and they all have some sort of connection with one another or have worked together at some point in time."

It's those connections that are supporting the growth of the wreath-laying efforts across the country.

Will is the National Account Executive for family-owned Abilene Motor Express which started in 1986 with one tractor. Today, Abilene services the entire country and some of Canada specializing in truckloads, but they also transport partial dry and refrigerated shipments.

It was, in fact, a competitor of Abilene Motor Express who reached out to them to tell them about Wreaths Across America and Will says once the owners, Keith and Kolen Jones heard about the effort they were one hundred percent behind it right away.

"They're huge patriots," Will explains. "They're very philanthropic when it comes to supporting community causes, and we're honored to be involved."

Abilene Motor Express drivers have been involved with Wreaths Across America since 2012, and the company has increased its level of support annually as they travel northeast to pick up America's respect in December and deliver several truckloads of remembrance wreaths to seven national cemeteries in Virginia. Those locations are Oakwood Cemetery, Seven Pines National Cemetery, Virginia Veterans Cemetery, Yorktown National Cemetery, Fort Harrison National Cemetery, Hampton National Cemetery, and Riverview Cemetery.

"We've had other employees volunteer at these locations to help lay the wreaths to honor the fallen."

Will speaks to what motivates him and the Abilene Motor Express team when it comes to volunteering for Wreaths Across America.

"Obviously, America's evolving but I think it's important for future generations to understand that even though there may not always be a conflict, there's a resounding reason as to why. The reason is that we have a powerful military and it dissuades people from coming after us. I think it's important for everyone to know that and know how fortunate they are to be here. America was built by great people, and it needs to continue to be lead by great people. A lot of those great people were a member of our military at one point or another."

Abilene was featured in this local CBS affiliate news story about the Wreaths Across America effort.

Thank you, Will Smith and Abilene Motor Express for your patriotism and tireless support of the Wreaths Across America mission to remember, honor and teach.

You can hear more from Will and our other patriots in our "Trucking Tributes" on Wreaths Across America Radio at 11:00 AM and again at 4:00 PM Eastern Monday-Friday.



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