Wreaths Across America's Trucking Tributes Presents The Zeltens

At Wreaths Across America, we love trucks and their drivers! With over 1,600 participating locations and still growing, it’s the trucking industry that supports the mission to remember, honor, and teach every December. Trucking Tributes is proud to put the spotlight on these professional drivers and the work they do, especially when they receive special recognition. Case in point is the phenomenal trucking duo of Elizabeth (”Beth”) and Kenn Zelten in Michigan.

“She’s the night and I’m the day,” Kenn explains of their over thirty-year relationship together in the trucking business. “I’m mechanical and she’s technical so as a team, we work really well together.” Ken and Beth got their start years ago in Wisconsin, but they fell in love with a property in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have called the area home for over twenty years. “We were trying our hand at the time hauling big yachts and that’s how we wound up in the area.” Beth admits her career choice before she married Kenn was computer programming. “Before we got started together, we worked for another company first to be sure I was going to like it. Then, we bought a truck and got down to business for ourselves November first, 1989.”

Earlier this year, Beth and Kenn were humbled and honored to be recognized as the 2019 TA-Petro Citizen Driver of the Year.  As a result, a TA/Petrol Travel Center on the state line between Illinois and Wisconsin is named in commemoration of their service to the community and trucking industry.

Not only do the Zeltens show off their commitment to a clean environment with their green truck “Kermit,” they are also committed to honoring our veterans. In the past few years of participating with Wreaths Across America they have driven to Maine to pick up their cargo and delivered veterans’ wreaths to participating locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. “It’s so great to meet the volunteers who are there to unload whether it be at the cemeteries or the VFW,” Beth explains. “To see how it has evolved from year-to-year is impressive too,“ Kenn adds. “Two years ago, we had to load wreath boxes off pallets on the ground and now just a year later there are big Quonset-type buildings and loading docks. It really makes a big difference.”

Beth says one of the moments that struck her was when she first saw a veteran’s wreath attached to the front a truck. “We felt a lot of pride to be involved, and it was really cool to see trucks with wreaths going outbound as we were coming in to get our load.” 

As a veteran of the U.S. Army, Kenn understands logistics and the need to persevere with a great attitude. “Cemeteries are really not the place for a 53-foot trailer, but we get it done, yes we do!”

Thank you, Beth and Kenn, for your community service and support of the Wreaths Across America mission. Congratulations as well on your recent award! You can hear more from Beth and Ken’s interview in Trucking Tributes on #Wreaths Radio on Tuesdays at 11:0 AM and again at 4:00 PM eastern.