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 introduce you to the men and women of the industry who make the mission possible.

When Courtney George began her new position within Saia LTL Freight’s human resources department, she shared what a wonderful experience she’d previously had as a wreath-laying volunteer for Wreaths Across America – an opportunity she thought Saia employees would like to be a part of as well.

"We have over 9-thousand employees across the country, many of who are military veterans," explains Saia's Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Ray Ramu. "When she explained to us what Wreaths Across America is and does, it was a no-brainer for me that we would get involved."

Courtney's first involvement as a WAA Volunteer was back in 2008 when she participated in National Wreath Day at Arlington National Cemetery. She described the experience as witnessing "the eighth wonder of the world" when thousands of people joined in to help lay veterans' remembrance wreaths on the headstones of our fallen and said their names aloud.

"National Wreath Laying day is to honor our country’s heroes, and there is an energy you can feel in the air that’s indescribable," Courtney shares. "As I have said, wreath-laying day in ANC should be the eighth wonder of the world.  It’s amazing to watch the people of our country come together, no matter how bad the weather may be, and 50,000+ people there to lay wreaths on every headstone and in the columbarium."

Her volunteer work with Wreaths Across America took on a very personal touch in 2016.

"It was roughly twenty degrees outside," Courtney recalls. "The metro had limited service because it had iced the night before. I was with a group of friends from the industry, but I had a mission for this wreath-laying day.  I had promised my sister I would place wreaths for her.  Unfortunately, Emily’s father in law was at the end of his battle with cancer, and he had one thing he wanted to see, which was ANC for wreath-laying day, and to place wreaths for his parents. For his last Christmas, I was lucky enough to show him pictures from the event, and most importantly show him the placed wreaths." 

2017 was Saia's first year of involvement with Wreaths Across America and their trucks and drivers delivered America's respect to Pinelawn and Calverton National Cemeteries on Long Island. 

"It was pretty emotional for me," Ray explains." Both my father and uncle are buried in Calverton so being able to participate in an event like this and have my two daughters with me made it quite a family event."

Ray's father, Jack Ramu served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and his uncle Louis Ramu served during the same period in the U.S. Navy.

"It was a teaching moment for me with my girls not only because their memories of their Grandfather and my uncle was faint, but they saw the value of community service. Whether it's through volunteering with Wreaths or something else, giving back is helping people to do better in this world."

Saia provided direct transport of veterans' remembrance wreaths to the Long Island cemeteries, and they supported the cross-dock operations servicing even more cemeteries throughout the country.  In 2018, Ray says Saia looks to expand its involvement with Wreaths Across America.

"With thousands of employees throughout the country we know we can play a bigger role. Wreaths Across America is a great fit because we can participate in it together as a company connecting all of our locations for a great cause."

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





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