The Truckload Carriers Association hosted its sixth annual fundraising gala in support of Wreaths Across America (WAA) at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday evening. More than 230 attendees — trucking executives, industry suppliers, military families, and members of the press — raised more than $80,000 throughout the evening.
New this year, WAA hosted its 2018 Virtual Convoy in conjunction with the gala. The event was broadcast live to hundreds of thousands of social media followers encouraging viewers to help fill a trailer with wreaths; the fundraiser was quite successful with $15,000 collected.
The funds will support logistics for the delivery of two million fresh remembrance wreaths which will adorn veterans’ gravestones on National Wreaths Across America Day.
“Each December, hundreds of TCA members are proud to haul a truckload of respect,” said TCA’s President John Lyboldt. “Tonight, let’s celebrate this great industry and its passion to help advance Wreaths Across America’s mission of Remember, Honor, Teach.”
The evening’s keynote speaker, Medal of Honor Recipient, Sgt. Sammy Davis, shared his incredible story of resilience. He detailed the early hours of November 18, 1967, when then Private First Class Davis’s artillery unit came under heavy mortar attack. Before concluding his speech, Davis played “Shenandoah” on a harmonica which was auctioned off at the event; a $3,500 donation to the transportation fund.
Other notable speakers included American Gold Star Mother and professional speaker, Jill Stephenson, who shared with attendees the heartfelt story of her son, Corporal Benjamin S. Kopp.
After Stephenson spoke, the National Association of Independent Truckers (NAIT) and their insurance partner, IAT Insurance Group, donated $50,000 which will help cover fuel costs for owner operators hauling wreaths.
Also during the event, Morrill, Karen, and Rob Worcester thanked the trucking industry for their continued support and shared new logistics information. The Worcester’s encouraged American Gold Star Mothers in the audience to join them onstage to share their son or daughter’s name, rank, and date of death.
The gala was hosted by Freightliner and Pilot Flying J, and sponsored by TravelCenters of America and Petro, Randall-Reilly, and DriverFacts.
During the reception, attendees had the opportunity to purchase exclusive, marble holiday ornaments as well as truck decals to showcase their involvement in and support for WAA. Guests were also encouraged to have a professional photo taken.
Throughout the evening, attendees could place bids on more than a dozen silent auction items ranging from getaway packages to a Tiffany & Co. crystal decanter to an American flag which was flown over the U.S. Capitol on September 11, 2018.
The gala was held in conjunction with TCA’s Fall Business Meetings and Second Annual Call on Washington.
For more information about Wreaths Across America, or to haul a truckload of wreaths this December, visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org. Search the hashtag #WAA2018 on social media networks to learn more about this year’s wreath-laying events.
Additional photos from the event will be available to view at www.truckload.org/Flickr.