Honoring Our Heroes
October 29, 2020
Written By Adam Buckallew
Since 2018, Orscheln Farm and Home has participated in a coordinated volunteer effort led by nonprofit Wreaths Across America to deliver Christmas wreaths to military veteran cemeteries.
Each holiday season, an honor fleet of volunteer drivers and trucks carrying millions of ceremonial wreaths fan out across the country to deliver the wreaths to the final resting place of military veterans as a show of respect and appreciation. It takes hundreds of trucks to make the nationwide wreath-laying event a success, and Orscheln Farm and Home is one of many companies that help
make the deliveries possible.
Orscheln Farm and Home has provided both volunteer drivers and one of its big rig trucks to haul wreaths to veteran cemeteries on National Wreaths Across America Day, which traditionally falls on the second or third Saturday in December. The last two years the company has picked up a truckload of nearly 6,500 wreaths in St. Louis and delivered them to five cemeteries in the Colorado area, according to Erle Bergstrom, transportation and private fleet manager for Orscheln Farm and Home.
“Colorado is outside of our traditional service area, but that’s the area where Wreaths Across America needed help and we were honored to make the deliveries,” Bergstrom said. “After we made the trip and
talked with some of the service members’ families at the cemeteries, it really put Wreaths Across America’s mission into perspective.”
The participation of Orscheln Farm and Home is made possible through a partnership between the company and several of the its vendors, including MFA Oil. This December will mark the
third year Orscheln Farm and Home will participate in delivering wreaths and it’s hoping to add a second truckload of deliveries in the Midwest in the near future.
Bergstrom, whose grandfather was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps in World War I and whose father served in the U.S. Army between the Korean and Vietnam Wars, said he became acquainted with Wreaths Across America at a national trucking convention.
“I was familiar with what they were doing, but it wasn’t until I spoke with one of their representatives at the conference that I truly grasped the way Wreaths Across America touches the lives of so
many Americans,” Bergstrom said. “The way they honor those who have served, teach our youth the value of freedom, and memorialize our heroes is something that resonated with me and seemed like a
great fit for Orscheln Farm and Home. So many of us have had a family member who has served in a branch of the military, and this is a great way to pay respect to our veterans.”
Wreaths Across America believes the tradition of laying wreaths represents a living memorial that honors veterans, active duty military and their families. The aromatic balsam fir wreaths, adorned with a traditional red, hand-tied bow, are delivered to thousands of cemeteries across the United States where they will be laid upon the gravestones of U.S. armed service members. When placing the wreaths, volunteers are asked to say the name of each veteran out loud to ensure their memory is preserved.
The national wreath-laying endeavor is funded by donations from private citizens, companies and other organizations and realized with the help of volunteers from all 50 states and beyond. In 2019,
Wreaths Across America and its volunteers placed 2.2 million wreaths on the headstones of our nation’s heroes at more than 2,100 veteran cemeteries.