J&M Tank Lines also hauling wreaths
AMERICUS — This holiday season, J&M Tank Lines Inc. is giving back in a new way. Through a sponsorship with Wreaths Across America, J&M is donating transportation services to deliver a shipment of wreaths to nine cemeteries in Florida in anticipation of National Wreaths Across America Day.
On Dec, 15, Wreaths Across America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, coordinates National Wreaths Across America Day, a day to honor fallen veterans through organized wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as 1,400 additional locations nationwide, at sea and abroad.
Wreaths Across America Beginnings
In 1992, Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine, found himself with a surplus of wreaths at the end of the holiday season. Worcester, who, as a boy, was deeply moved by the Arlington National Cemetery, saw an opportunity to honor America’s veterans. He, along with aid from Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, arranged for the wreaths to be placed at Arlington in an older section that was experiencing dwindling foot traffic.
A number of other organizations also offered additional help. James Prout of trucking company Blue Bird Ranch Inc., provided transportation to Virginia. American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Posts volunteers and members of the local community decorated each wreath with traditional red bows. Members of the Maine State Society of Washington, D.C., assisted with wreath-laying, including a special ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
From 1992 to 2005, the tradition was quietly celebrated. However, in 2005, a photo of the stones at Arlington adorned with wreaths and covered in snow went viral. Overnight, thousands of requests arrived from people nationwide looking to help with Arlington, share their stories, thank Worcester, and even recreate the Arlington project at their national and state ceremonies.
In 2007, after years of significant interest and growth in this project nationwide, the Worcester family formed Wreaths Across America as a 501(c)(3)-designated nonprofit organization to continue and expand this initiative.
J&M’s involvement and timeline
Spearheaded by Andrew Petrofsky, Special Projects Manager for J&M Tank Lines Inc., this will be the first year J&M has sponsored Wreaths Across America. “We’ve known about this cause for many years, and we’re excited to have the resources this year to volunteer,” says Petrofsky.
Petrofsky was initially skeptical about pitching the idea to sponsor Wreaths Across America. Petrofsky, whose grandfather is a veteran, felt a calling to join forces with Wreaths Across America and, during the holiday season, honor those who have fallen.
He received resounding approval from his organization to move forward with the sponsorship.
On Sunday, J&M organizde a wreath pickup in Richland, Mississippi. Petrofsky, along with the entire team of over 500 J&M employees, celebratef the truck’s arrival in Birmingham, Alabama. Shortly after, the truck, decorated specifically for this occasion, departed from Birmingham for Florida. The truck has short window of five days to deliver the wreaths, provided through the generous support of private donations, to the nine cemeteries before National Wreaths Across America Day, scheduled for Saturday.
Aligning with Wreaths Across America’s mission of educating our country on the importance of honoring veterans who have fought for our country, J&M believes this opportunity is a great way to showcase America’s heroes — even within their company.
“Our purpose in volunteering is to honor our veterans, active duty military personnel and those who have provided for our country. We’re so thankful to have a team of veterans and active duty personnel at J&M that have given back to their country,” says Petrofsky.
Petrofsky is looking forward for this being an annual tradition for J&M, and with it, a continued opportunity to educate today’s youth about honoring America’s fallen veterans.
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