Wreaths Across America’s Mobile Traveling Exhibit Rolled Into Smith Transport
Wreaths Across America is known for providing wreaths for Veterans graves each year at Christmas time at over 2,500 locations nationwide, including Arlington National Cemetery. They also have a Mobile Education Exhibit, a 48-foot trailer, which hosts a 24-person screening room, interactive computers, and an education wall of information about Wreaths Across America. The Mobile Education Exhibit travels throughout the year to schools, fundraisers, pop-ups, and community events.
Smith Transport of Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania is a staunch supporter of Veterans. They have a fleet named “Defenders of Freedom”, which are driven by Veterans of the Armed Forces. A special decal on the side of every tractor depicts the branch of military the driver served in. Smith understands, respects, and appreciates Wreaths Across America’s mission to Remember our Fallen U.S. Veterans, Honor those who serve, and Teach your children the value of freedom.
Jenn Hillegass, Marketing Brand Manager of Smith Transport coordinated and organized a stop during the 2021 Tour of the Wreaths Across America Mobile Traveling Exhibit on June 8th at Smith Transport’s corporate offices located at 153 Smith Transport Road, Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania. The public was invited to tour the traveling museum. Stefan Brann and Jennifer Merrill, Ambassadors for Wreaths Across America welcomed all attendees. Stefan is also the Mobile Education Exhibit driver.
Members of the Blair County Honor Guard came out for the tour. Smith Transport’s Wreaths Across America truck, driven by Wayland Massengill, an Army Veteran and Smith’s Flag Truck, driven by Richard Fertig, an Army Veteran were on display in the parking lot. Massengill delivers wreaths for Veterans graves each December to cemeteries throughout Pennsylvania and New York. Eighteen-year-old Drake Troutman, a local race car driver sponsored by Smith Transport and his crew chief Kevin Van Horn, an Army Airborne Veteran were on hand as well.
Stefan and Jennifer conduct “Welcome Home” ceremonies for Vietnam Veterans at stops on their traveling exhibit tour. Stefan explained that many Vietnam Veterans were met with contempt and disdain by US citizens when they arrived home from the Vietnam conflict. Stefan and Jennifer give the Veterans a special “Welcome Home” that they never received over 50 years ago by holding a pinning ceremony. The Veterans are also presented with a Certificate signed by the President of the United States. Elwood Musselman and Ira Roudabush, both members of the Blair County Honor Guard and Vietnam Veterans were recognized and honored during the “Welcome Home” ceremony at Smith Transport. Musselman was 19 years old and Roudabush was 20 years old when they were sent to Vietnam with the Army.
A Veterans’ Wreath is a symbol of Honor, Respect and Victory. Morrill Worcester, owner of Worcester Wreath Company and the founder of Wreaths Across America is shown in a video during the Traveling Museum’s Tour making a Veterans’ wreath. Worcester explains that 10 balsam bouquets make up each Veterans’ wreath, representing the 10 special qualities that our Veterans embody:
•Their Belief in a greater good
•Their Love for each other
•Their Strength, work ethic and character
•Their Honesty and integrity
•Their Humility, selflessness, and modesty
•Their Ambitions and aspirations
•Their Optimism for America
•Their Concern for the future
•Their Pride for their duties
•Their Hopes and Dreams that didn’t always come true, but left them with no regrets
“They say a person dies twice. Once when they take their last breath, and then again when there is no one left to say their name.” Volunteers who place wreaths on the graves of Veterans are asked to say the name of the Veteran out loud. There are 91,000 U.S. Veterans who are still MIA.
As Movin’ Out’s Publisher Steve Pollock said, “God bless our Veterans. And God bless America.”