Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents T.S. Boyd Grain
The ten, fresh balsam-fir bouquets, with a circular shape and single red bow, have come to symbolize the nation’s respect for our fallen. The citizen-sponsored veteran’s wreath honors the service and sacrifice of the men and women who served our country.
These Maine-made wreaths need to travel from a small town in Downeast, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery every December, and over two thousand other participating cemeteries across the country, and overseas. It all started with one truck. Today, donations from trucking companies, their drivers, associations, and industry supporters are the backbone of the mission to remember, honor, and teach.
Trucking Tributes is a regular feature on Wreaths Across America Radio where you can hear full-length interviews from the drivers, and their company CEO’s, about what motivates them to serve the mission. You’ll also hear from members of the Wreaths Across America staff and core volunteers who work diligently throughout the year to facilitate the transportation logistics required to meet the demand of National Wreaths Across America Day as it grows.
This Trucking Tributes feature very personally illustrates the healing connections made through the veteran’s wreath.
Don “Max” Crouse was driving for NAPA Parts when he first learned of Wreaths Across America and its need for trucks. “In 2008, it was so late in the season when I got involved, they actually brought the wreaths down to southern Maine to the warehouse, and I did a total of eight stops with wreaths to Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.”
Today, Don is an Owner/Operator who drives for T.S. Boyd Grain out of Washington, Indiana, and he introduced them to the mission. A few years ago, Don and his wife Cindy were attending a Wreaths Across America appreciation banquet for drivers in Washington, D.C., the night before national Wreaths Across America Day. That’s when they met Gold Star parents, Toni and Craig Gross. “Cindy and I both feel like we have a pretty close connection with Gold Star families,” Don shared. “30 years ago, I lost a 16 and-a-half-year-old son in an automobile accident, and Cindy has lost a young daughter. We both knew the pain they were feeling.” Cindy shares that her involvement, “is my gratitude to God for bringing my son home whole from his four years overseas, serving in the Bosnian conflict, stationed there and in Germany as an Army Lieutenant.”
Toni Gross says they started communicating regularly after that initial meeting, and one day, Cindy reached out with a request. “She asked us for a picture of Frank.” Frank Gross, the son of Toni and Craig Gross, served in the U.S. Army and was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. “They asked if they could put Frank’s picture on their truck.” Last December, Toni and Craig were able to see the truck with Frank’s picture for the first time. “It was the highlight of the weekend for us,” Toni shared. “To stand in front of this truck that had transported the wreaths from Maine to Virginia with our son’s picture on it was a thrill for us. We cannot say enough about Cindy and “Max” Crouse.” These four people were complete strangers before making a connection through Wreaths Across America.
Gold Star parents Toni and Craig Gross continue to play their part in the Wreaths Across America mission by providing goodie bags and hugs for every driver who hauls America’s respect during the annual driver’s appreciation banquet. Cindy and Don are also working year-round to spread the mission in Indiana, and they’re getting family and friends involved too in establishing new participating locations. These are the locations they have helped to coordinate with other critical volunteers: Bruceville, Indiana Location ID #IN0037 (David Clark), Vincennes, Indiana Location ID #IN0062P (Kirk Bouchie) Wheatland, Indiana Location ID #IN0085 (Mike Young) Francisco, Indiana Location ID # IN0096 (Michael Collins). Don would like to acknowledge Logan Graber, Mike, Mark, Jason, and all the others at Boyd Grain who support their efforts with Wreaths Across America.
If you’re interested in supporting trucking logistics for the Wreaths Across America mission, you can find more information here: http://trucking.wreathsacrossamerica.org/
You can hear the full-length interview with Cindy, Toni, Don, and Craig on Trucking Tributes heard exclusively on Wreaths Across America Radio, found here.