Schneider Driver and Marine Veteran Hauling “Most Precious Cargo” to Arlington National Cemetery
GREEN BAY, WI… In his 19-year career at Schneider, Tom Lehr has hauled a variety of goods, but next week he is carrying the most precious cargo of his career.
The Marine veteran is joining Wreaths Across America in hauling and delivering truckloads of balsam fir wreaths from Worcester Wreath Company in Columbia Falls, Maine, to Arlington National Cemetery and over 2,100 other locations across the country and abroad as a national tribute to fallen military veterans. Lehr is one of a select group of drivers delivering the wreaths to Arlington.
“It’s a great honor and privilege to bring the wreaths down, so we can remember all the people that have gone before us and keep them in our memory,” Lehr said. “As long as someone remembers those who made the ultimate sacrifice, then they are not forgotten.”
The annual event, which started in 1992, lays wreaths at the graves of fallen servicemen and women at cemeteries around the country leading up to National Wreath Day on December 19. Schneider has participated in the wreath delivery almost since the program began, but this is Lehr’s first time carrying the honorable cargo.
“When I see the trailer loaded, it’s going to be a humbling experience,” Lehr said. “Not only our truck, but all the other trucks that are going to be making deliveries.”
In years past, Wreaths Across America included a parade-like journey from Maine to Arlington National, a miles-long procession of tractor trailers carrying wreaths, veterans and Gold Star Families led by an escort of law enforcement and motorcycle riders. The event is scaled back this year in adherence to health and safety protocols put in place due to COVID-19.
While the event may be smaller, the meaning and purpose behind honoring those who have gone before him is all that matters for Lehr.
“Getting down to Arlington and going through those gates, pride will be the word that I will use. My heart is going to be as big as it can get.”
Lehr is also Schneider’s newest Ride of Pride driver. Each year, Freightliner honors military veterans with specially designed trucks intended to be rolling tributes to members of the military.
“This is our commitment to the people who have served before us,” he said. “What they did in their life is worthy of recognition and remembrance, and we need to remember them.”
At least a half dozen other Schneider drivers are participating in Wreaths Across America deliveries, as they have in previous years.
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