Perdue trucks to again deliver veterans wreaths

Perdue Drivers Henry Bishop and Jerry Green, front, line up with wreaths to be presented.

Perdue Farms will send 12 tractor-trailer trucks up and down the East Coast and west to Ohio to deliver thousands of wreaths for veterans’ graves as part of this year’s Wreaths Across America.

“It is very heartwarming and an honor just to be able to do it,” said George Coffin, a spokesman for Perdue’s Transportation Division and a Vietnam War veteran. “I’m proud of Perdue for letting us do it.”

Wreaths Across American was started in 1992 by Morrill Worcester, owner of the Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine, who donated his surplus wreaths that year to Arlington National Cemetery. The tribute continued each year after that, but in 2005 it received national attention and soon spread nationwide. Perdue joined the effort in 2007 with one truck, but it now sends 12, Coffin said.

The company has hauled 250,000 wreaths since then and will deliver 30,000 this year alone, he said.

Locally, there will be a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center that will include a fly-over of World War II-era planes flown by a group in Georgetown.

Wreaths will be presented for each branch of the military, Gold Star families and for POWs and MIAs. The ceremony will be attended by Perdue drivers who are veterans, members of the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and local ROTC groups.

The event will include a bagpiper and a bugler.

On Saturday, Dec. 14, another ceremony will take place at the veterans cemetery in Hurlock. A Perdue truck loaded with wreaths will be escorted in at 9 a.m. by veterans motorcycle groups, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland State Police and local firefighters.

Coffin said there will be at least 3,000 wreaths onboard – enough for the entire cemetery.

“There’s a lot of them,” he said.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the laying of the wreaths. Volunteers will be trained to kneel and say the name of each veteran as they place the wreath, Coffin said.

The public is invited to attend the ceremonies at the civic center and in Hurlock, he said.

This year, two reporters from Dave Nemo’s Road Dog Trucking show on Sirius XM radio will go along for the ride on Perdue trucks and will give updates on their travels as wreaths are delivered to veterans cemeteries from Maine to Florida.

“It’s a real good show for truckers,” Coffin said.

The company’s participation in Wreaths Across America is just one of the ways Perdue truckers try to give back to the community, he said. They also take part in Operation Teddy Bear and in a convoy for Special Olympics.

“I love what I do,” Coffin said. “Everything we do is for a good cause.”

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