Local truck driver to participate in Arlington wreath delivery

Posted: Nov.

30, 2018 9:50 pm

QUINCY — J.D. Walker knows visiting Arlington National Cemetery can be an emotional experience.

A Navy veteran, Walker knows the sacrifices men and women have made for their country, as well the families they leave at home.

His son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Walker was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, on May 14, 2007.

Jeffrey, 21, had just called his mother to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day when he was shot just 20 minutes later.

Walker, who is a truck driver for Gully Transportation, will be driving to Maine next week to pick up thousands of wreaths and deliver them to Arlington National Cemetery with a convoy of other truck drivers. Volunteers will place the wreaths on the graves of veterans from the Revolutionary War to present day on Dec.

15 for National Wreaths Across America Day.

Volunteers who place the wreaths are asked to say the veteran’s name aloud and thank them for their service.

“It’s definitely going to be emotional,” Walker said. “It’s a lot of grace and a lot of God up there. That’s how I see it.”

Gully Transportation is providing a trailer with a new wrap promoting Wreaths Across America campaign to “Remember.

Honor. Teach.,” as well as the seals of the five branches of the military.

Walker honors his son during the run, but he makes the trip for all veterans.

“For me, it makes me feel really good to be able to do what I’m doing and going to Arlington and being able to actually deliver the wreaths to the fallen,” he said. “That’s a great honor.”

Walker made the trip last year, bringing a load of wreaths to national cemeteries and other locations in Missouri. Though the trailer only had a couple of Wreaths Across America on it, Walker noticed people looking at it.

“I had a lot of people taking lots of pictures of the truck itself, even though it wasn’t like the one here,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have plenty of people wanting photos this year.”

The trucks leave Maine together in a convoy Walker estimated to be about 65 semitrailers.

“I followed the convoy all the way to the state border of Maine, and then I had to break off and go toward Missouri,” Walker said. “They only allow anywhere from 10 to 13 trucks to be in the actual convoy going down through the rest of the states to get to Arlington.”

The new trailer will make its public debut during Saturday’s Christmas Parade in Hannibal, Mo.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. in the Broadway Save-A-Lot parking lot.

It heads toward the Mississippi River before making a turn on North Main Street.

During the parade, Walker and the trailer will be accompanied by the American Legion honor guard and the Marine Corps Service League.

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