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  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/14/13

    Convoy Day #7 (Saturday) Wreaths Across America Day

    The day began with bus ride from the hotel down to the Branchville Fire Station for breakfast, a briefing and some final good-byes to brothers, sisters, veterans, Gold Star families and a bunch of new friends that now share a common bond. It was bitter sweet as this would likely be the last time everyone would be together. There were many good-byes and tears shed by all as everyone had become a family during the whirl-wind trip to Arlington. What a great group to travel with. Everyone laughed, goofed around, cried and shared the best parts of what makes us all human; compassion, honor and service. The trip was a life experience.

    The trucks were staged and they rolled out in a quiet, respectful manner to remember our fallen, making their way through the quiet streets of Washington; thoughts were solemn as final good-byes were traded over the CB radios by the truckers. Once the convoy arrives at the cemetery, drivers could end up miles apart and there will likely be no time to regroup. The Oakhurst truck was positioned as #2 in the convoy and Joe & Heidi would have a great view upon arrival.

    As always, the police did a fantastic job coordinating and controlling all traffic to clear the path for the convoy. There would be a lot of traffic on the final approach into the city and over the bridge into the cemetery with nearly 30,000 people expected to attend the event.

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    Upon arrival into the cemetery, the DC Police moved a huge traffic jam of cars to the right so the convoy could punch through the congestion. Arrival was shortly after 8:30am. As the convoy rolled over the Arlington Memorial Bridge and up to the main gate, there was a massive crowd waiting to greet the procession. The looks of happiness, salutes, waves and “God Bless” overwhelmed Joe and Heidi as they approached their final destination at Section 59. The Oakhurst truck picked up their coordinator and they navigated the truck through the quiet roads of the cemetery. Section 59 is a beautiful spot that allows a view of the cemetery including the McClellan Arch and up to the Memorial Amphitheater. Adjacent to Section 60, this area of the cemetery and other newer sections, this is a very busy place with many people there for specific remembrances.

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    The Oakhurst truck was fortunate to have a lot of help with friends from the Knox County and other Sheriff Departments as well as Maryland National Guard members. The truck was placed in a manner to allow many people to take some great photos with their families. It was also a great spot for our streaming event web camera to be place high atop the tractor wind deflector overlooking Section 59 and beyond.

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    At 9:30am, an opening ceremony was held at the McClellan Arch. This is usually held in the Memorial Amphitheater, but that venue has become too small for the volume of people that now attend. Karen Worcester addressed the attendees. Also present was Patrick Hallinan, superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, Chirs Burruss, President of the Truckload Carriers Association, Governor Paul LePage and first lady Ann LePage, who made virtually the entire trip with the Patriot Guard on a motorcycle. Country singer Lindsey Lawler and songwriter Chris Roberts performed. The crowd was provided instructions to properly lay wreaths in Arlington. Wreath laying ceremonies were also planned to be held at various sites in the cemetery as well as other area historical monuments.

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    Back at the Oakhurst truck, the volunteers took over the organization and distribution of the wreaths and by 10:00am, there was a massive crowd waiting for the truck to be opened. A retired army veteran who worked at the Pentagon set up a small table adjacent to the truck to provide free coffee and donuts and precisely at 10:00am, the magic began and the wreaths began flowing. There were Cub Scouts laying wreaths, their youthfulness refreshing, among families who make this a part of their holiday tradition. Soldiers and veterans unloading the Oakhurst truck together – a great swarm of humanity.

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    The sections that our truck was adjacent to had many families that had loved ones buried in this part of the cemetery. It was moving and chilling to see how many families and how young some of these families were. We all watched as the stark white stones became covered in green and red – a Christmas miracle.

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    As quickly as it all began, in a flash it was done. Our 3,456 wreaths were out of the truck and only the repacking of the boxes and cardboard remained one hour later. As we all gazed around the cemetery, most other areas were wrapping up as well. Wreaths as far as the eye could see. In the somber, overcast light of the sky, it was a breathtaking sight.

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    The trip to Arlington, with all the ceremonial stops along the way brings forth many emotions. All of the people at Oakhurst Dairy, that are involved in this journey contribute their own special ingredient to its success. Joe Masse, Heidi Kleiner and Parker Eckert represented our company with pride and humility. They experienced something far greater than they could have imagined and they shared it with all of us and for that, we thank them. Oakhurst Dairy thanks everyone that contributed to this successful trip in 2013. We especially thank Morrill and Karen Worcester and the entire Worcester extended family for their drive and determination to Remember, Honor & Teach. We will never forget.

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  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/13/13

    Convoy Day #6 (Friday)

    Friday the 13th began quickly with a quick ride down to the trucks and on to the road quickly to head for the American Legion Post #278 in Stevensville, MD for breakfast.  With continued police escorts from the Delaware State Police and Montgomery County everyone is still travelling quickly and safely.  The American Legion Post is a very nice facility and the breakfast they fed all the participants of the convoy was out of this world.  There was lots of time for drivers to intermingle with other convoy participants that have grown to all be friends as everyone has formed a common bond.  
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    After breakfast concluded, the convoy organized and began the journey to the final staging area, Branchville Fire Department in College Park.  Soon after leaving Stevensville, the convoy travelled over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  It was quite a sight.  

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    Once everyone arrived, drivers were bused to the Holiday Inn hotel and everyone checked in and got settled.  Some of the participants diverted to the US Naval Academy on the way, but the entire convoy was unable to enter the base.  Friday was largely a recharge day, with the only significant event planned that night at the Moose Lodge in College Park at 7:00pm. 

    The Moose Lodge is located a short distance from the hotel and all the participants were bused over.  Jersey Mike’s Subs provided all the food (as they have done on numerous occasions) on the trip and the staff at the Moose Lodge did a wonderful job preparing the room.  The room has been donated the last two years by that facility.  

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    Karen took the opportunity to thank so many people that offer support in different ways.  Veterans and Gold Star families were recognized and the entire rally sang God Bless America together.  Morrill read his poem “A Veteran Wreath” while one of his grandsons assembled a wreath with the 10 boughs of balsam.  Truckers traded stories from the trip and John & Bunny O’Leary shared some heartfelt moments from the trip.  First Lady, Ann LePage spoke about her experience with the bikers and commended all the law enforcement agencies involved with the journey.  She completed the majority of the trip on the back of a motorcycle except for one very small portion during some hazardous weather. 

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    Wayne Hanson, Chairman of Wreaths Across America spoke a little about the preparation at Arlington and the efforts over the past week to meet the goals for coverage at Arlington.  Many of the 909 locations have experienced significant growth over the past year, but two weeks ago, wreath sponsorships at Arlington were down from last year.  The drop was attributed to people that have come to experience it want to bring it to their home state – which is fantastic, but it results in erosion of the wreath count at Arlington.  Some last minute sizable corporate donations, plus an explosive Facebook campaign helped boost the total wreaths transported to Arlington to 142,700 wreaths!  After the appeal last week and all the work, the result was an explosive increase from last year! 

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    Before closing, Karen thanked all the people that are left each in every year in Columbia Falls.  Although each year they cannot be at the event, it is all the hard work by those left in Maine that makes each year a success.  T-minus 11 hours before the final leg of the journey to Arlington begins. 

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  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/12/13

    Convoy Day #5 (Thursday)

    At the morning briefing, it was confirmed that the trip to Fort Dix was in fact cancelled. The Maine State Police and the bus would visit Valley Forge, but since the trucks were not allowed to navigate to that location, it was decided they would proceed directly to Middletown, Delaware. Before getting on the road, Joe was able to coordinate getting the tractor and trailer washed. The nasty weather experienced on the first few legs of the trip took a toll on the truck and it was good to remove the salt and grime.

    The convoy arrived at the Middletown Wal-Mart fairly early in the day and everyone was warmly invited into the Wal-Mart for a home-cooked meal prepared by the employees of the store. Afterward, everyone checked in to the Hampton Inn and then departed for a quick parade through the downtown area. The parade ended at the high school and then everyone was shuttled back to the town square for a special ceremony.

    After the ceremony, everyone made their way to the Middletown Fire Department for a lovely catered meal and music by some bagpipers. Given the schedule change, the pace of the day was quite different and allowed the drivers to recharge a bit. One more day of serious travel and then on to the rally in College Park tomorrow night.

    Bagpipers

  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/11/13

    Convoy Day #4 (Wednesday)

    After departing the Wal-Mart parking lot in Newburgh, NY, the convoy made its way down to Ridgefield, NJ to the Vince Lombardi Rest Area, but then pressed on to arrive at the Thorne Middle School in Port Monmouth, NJ. Based upon the account of the drive through New York, there were a few nail-biting moments for Heidi, but Joe was able to skillfully navigate our truck through the congested George Washington Bridge and press south. There has been no police support in New York, so the truckers are on their own. Everyone arrived safely at Thorne Middle School late morning.

    Convoy line-up

    Thorne Middle School is named after Corporal Horace “Bud” Thorne who died in the Battle of The Bulge during World War II. Corporal Thorne’s sister, Edith Kowels has been traveling with the convoy and she is honored to be part of this important visit. She spoke a bit during Ray Richardson’s interview at Westbrook Middle School before the convoy left Maine. Thorne is a Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. For more info: http://middletown-nj.patch.com/groups/holidays/p/wreaths-across-america-visits-thorne-middle-school-wednesday

    Thorne Middle School

    Thorne Memorial

    Thorne was an amazing stop. All the students came together to raise over $6,000 in the entire district by each of them bringing in $1.00. At the school, each student was asked to pick a veteran over the past year and perform a research project about each of them. The hallways were lined with pictures of veterans, their service records and connections these students had in anticipation of the arrival of the Wreaths Across America convoy. After viewing all the projects, the students provided a presentation about Corporal Thorne via a short film and by reading survivor stories related to the Battle of the Bulge, where he lost his life. Bud’s sister Edith, who is travelling with the convoy was honored with the “Founder’s Award”.

    Thorne Middle School Hallway

     

    The level of commitment and perseverance displayed by the students are testaments to the Wreaths Across America’s mission of Remember, Honor and Teach. It is remarkable what children can do. The convoy departed a little before planned due to concerns about traffic related to the Liberty Park stop.

    Back with the aid of a police escort by New Jersey’s Finest, the convoy safely arrived at Liberty Park. After parking the trucks, all the participants were routed through an “airport style” security before boarding a ferry to ride to Liberty Island. (The Oakhurst Dairy event camera was lucky to make the trip – it raised a few eyebrows in the security checkpoint.) The ride on the ferry was brisk and once everyone arrived they attended a ceremony of the first wreath laid at the Statue of Liberty. Gold Star parents from the convoy and New Jersey were presented with wreaths and their loved ones that were lost were recognized. Morrill lit the wreath while Karen spoke about how long they have dreamed to lay a wreath at the Statue and what it means to them. The ceremony ended and the convoy headed for the next hotel in Bordentown, NJ for a warm meal and early night.

    Statue of Liberty from the ferry

    Departing view

    The drivers were told that the stop at Fort Dix the next day had been cancelled, so it looks like there will be a change of plans. More about that from tomorrow’s blog.

  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/10/13

    Convoy Day #3 (Tuesday)

    The convoy departed Topsfield about 8:00am and made their way back to Route 495 and then down 190 to Princeton, MA where the first stop was at the Thomas Prince School. The school has been raising money to lay 300 wreaths on local veteran gravesites in town. They are very excited that they reached their goal and are receiving the wreaths. They plan to lay the wreaths on Wednesday. This was the first year that WAA has visited this school and their welcome was overwhelming – so much respect and pride for our country. There was a presentation of wreaths to local service members and Gold Star parents. Then a beautiful song brought down the house performed by all the children to the veterans, Gold Star parents, bikers and truckers. There were no dry eyes. Heidi said that Joe really loved all the kids!

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    The convoy departed and made their way to the Mass Turnpike with the next stop planned in Westfield, MA at Stanley Park, a beautiful 300 acre park. The Massachusetts State Police have been fantastic the entire trip on 495, 190 and the pike. They have shut down all major roads, including each and every entrance on to the highway. Our safety has been their top priority and they have done their job with professionalism and class.

    Upon arrival in Westfield, there were hundreds of school children throughout the route cheering us into the town. Every time Joe blew the horn they cheered even louder. The arrival in Stanley Park was followed by a short ceremony held in snow showers in the bitter cold. This is the second time that WAA has visited this site. The community has been building their own veteran’s memorial and there has been remarkable progress made to a local monument that honors all the military branches. The ceremony concluded and the convoy organized and departed to head for the next destination.

    Westfield

    Westfield is just west of Springfield, MA so the convoy continued west on the Mass Pike. The Massachusetts State Police escorted them to the New York state line and then after that the convoy traveled on their own for the first time since Sunday morning. As they travelled toward Route 87, the convoy faced snowy driving conditions and the ride down Route 87 was a bit harrowing. They had hoped to arrive at Spring Lake Fire Station in Ulster New York sometime around 4:00pm but that leg of the trip took much longer due to traffic and weather. The group waiting there for the convoy watched their progress on a big projection screen utilizing the Oakhurst live map and “dashcam” site. The entire convoy group was given t-shirts so they could remember the visit. After departing, the ride to Newburgh, NY was a bit ugly but everyone arrived safely and this is where the convoy parked for the night.

    Beautiful sunrise over the convoy

  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/9/13

    Convoy Day #2 (Monday)

    4:00am came quickly and Joe & Heidi departed the Jetport Hilton Garden Inn to head for the Oakhurst Fleet facility to refuel, top off fluids and have a battery on our refrigeration unit serviced. The Oakhurst Dairy Fleet Maintenance workers have all done an outstanding job to prepare our truck for the trip. Joe needed to be back to Cabela’s at 6:00am to reconnect the trailer, attend the convoy briefing and prepare for a 6:30am departure. Upon arrival, snow had just started to fly. The Patriot Guard riders were still ready to hang in there as long as the roads were safe to drive on. The entire convoy departed for Westbrook Middle School.

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    Snowy start

    The convoy arrived in Westbrook around 7:00am and everyone was brought into the performing arts auditorium. This is a beautiful facility and Ray Richardson from WLOB had already set up and was broadcasting live. 800 middle school students filtered into the auditorium a little before 8:00am and were able to cheer and watch interviews with various participants including one of their teachers (a Marine), Governor Paul LePage, his wife Ann and a gold star mother. Ray did a great job with all the interviews and the students were great. The chorus sang a few songs and then the group began to assemble for departure. The roads were deteriorating and it was important to keep things as close to schedule as possible. As the convoy left, the entire student body lined the roadway at the entry to the school and cheered and waved flags to wish the drivers and support teams a safe trip.

    Westbrook Middle School auditorium  Troops plate

    Troops

    Westbrook

    The convoy made their way south passing through Kennebunk for a quick stop, a quick drive by Wells Middle School and then arriving at Kittery Trading Post a little before noon for a ceremony and lunch. Heidi continues to set up the event camera for any stop that she has time to so that online viewers can get a glimpse of the experience. She set up a nice shot from the balcony at Kittery Trading Post and we watched it for the duration of the stop.

    View from Kittery Trading Post balcony

    A heart-warming poem about the America Flag written by a local veteran was shared with the group and the Gold Star mothers explained their purpose and mission. Heidi shared the following, “I really did not fully understand or appreciate the Gold Star Mothers until the stop in Kittery. These moms have also paid the ultimate sacrifice by supporting their children throughout their military service to preserve our country. What a terrible, but noble honor. The tight formation of our convoy resembles the final honor that many of these mothers have experienced. We are bringing the humblest gift possible not only to honor our fallen, but their parents and family too – just in time for the holidays.”

    Oakhurst truck pulls out

    Group outside

    The convoy departed after noon and passed through New Hampshire and into Massachusetts making one more stop at Pine Grove School. It was very cold and with sleet and rain, but that did not stop all the kids from chanting USA over and over. They all loved the trucks. Another short ceremony and then we headed for the Topsfield Fair Grounds. A slightly earlier arrival today allowed Joe to get a bit more rest and recharge for the rest of the trip. It has been some very early mornings and long days. Tomorrow covers some more road miles, so it will be important to get some good rest.

  • Wreaths Across America-Convoy Notes: 12/8/13

    Convoy Day #1 (Sunday)

    The day began with a quick stop for coffee and then on to the Worcester Wreath shipping facility to pick up the Oakhurst trailer. Joe confirmed all was well by performing his vehicle inspection, which included inspecting the load. He was hoping to place a few pieces of gear and luggage on the back of the trailer – but no such luck! The trailer is loaded so full, there is barely enough room to close the back door – over 3,450 wreaths ready to make the trip!!

    Joe and Parker made their way from the shipping facility over to Narraguagus High School in Harrington for breakfast and a safety briefing scheduled for 7:45am. This was their first opportunity to see all the trailers that have come from many miles to make the trip. The view is awe-inspiring. Among all the tractor/trailers, there are military personnel, the Patriot Guard riders and numerous public safety vehicles ready to lead the way to the first stop at the Hancock American Legion Post (which is actually in Trenton). It was a bit cold and windy but the event was the first introduction to all the people that Joe would spend the next seven days with.

    Breakfast was good – with plenty of Oakhurst products provided to all those associated with the trip. After the safety briefing, we were able to snap a few photos before Joe needed to prep the truck for departure. We were able to briefly tour one of the Worcester Wreath factories to watch the final wreaths assembled by the Girls and Boy Scouts. A handful of veterans complete the final wreaths that were packed into a Hannaford trailer. The rest of the convoy waited patiently for the Hannaford trailer – 2013 Convoy “#1”. At promptly 9:00am, 25 trucks departed from the high school overflowing with wreaths, beginning the journey. It would be a 45-minute ride to the first stop in Trenton.

    During the first-leg of the trip, both Joe and Parker had the first taste of what this trip means to so many people. There were so many people lining the rural roads of Harrington, Cherryfield, Milbridge and other down east towns. Veterans saluting, fire departments and many, many children lined the roads. A family displayed a flag, boots and photo of a fallen hero and an older woman mouthed the words. “God Bless You”, as Joe and Parker navigated our truck carefully through these small towns. Church congregations stepped outside of the church to get a glimpse and offer their support as the trucks made their way to Trenton.

    As the convoy entered Ellsworth, there was plenty of police support that closed all intersections so they could motor safely and efficiently through the town. Upon arrival at the Hancock Legion Post, the trucks were smartly organized into a very small parking lot like a jigsaw puzzle. Joe got the opportunity to see his sister, who is from the area and she enjoyed seeing both Joe and Parker. A 4-year old boy got a chance to climb into the Oakhurst tractor and pull the air-horn, and then surprised Joe with a big hug to thank him. Into the truck and the convoy prepped for the next leg to Belfast at the Bank of America facility for lunch.

    As the convoy passed through downtown Ellsworth, we caught some fantastic footage of the entire convoy. The Wal-Mart group of trucks were very impressive, but we think the Oakhurst truck, tractor and skirt package still looks great!

     Convoy pulls into Ellsworth

    Upon arrival in Belfast, the Bank of America parking lot is huge, so that made it easy to enter and coordinate a safe exit. It is a beautiful facility and Parker was able to take a bunch of photos (which we will post to our Facebook page). Thanks Parker !!! Lunch was great – another great opportunity to get to know even more people. The convoy departed and headed down the coast through Camden, Rockport and landed at a quick stop at an Elk’s Lodge in Rockland. There were a few little navigation hiccups, but after some CB banter with the Wal-Mart pup truck, they safely navigated through town and got back on track. Onward to Freeport….

    Lunch

    The convoy made its way down the coast and worked their way back to the highway for a short ride down to the exit in Freeport. The convoy route took them down Main Street where a few commuters got pushed to the sidewalk after ignoring the police escort. Everyone stopped for a brief ceremony in front of the fire department before pushing on to Scarborough.

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    The convoy then made its annual stop at Cabela’s in Scarborough to cap off the first day of the journey to Arlington National Cemetery. Supporters braved the cold, holding candles and cheering as the line of cars and trucks came in with ceremonious beeps and sirens.

    Entering Cabela's in Scarborough

    After the last part of the convoy made its way down the boulevard, the crowd gathered around to witness the wreath laying at this stop. Joe pulled the truck right up to where the ceremony was being held and was quick to hop out of the truck to greet his girlfriend, Heidi who would be joining him for the remainder of the trip. It was nice to see many of the attendees take photographs near our truck.

    Crowd gathers at Cabela's

    The ceremony was kicked off with a medley of patriotic songs performed by the Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps. After some introductions were made and thanks given, the Navy Seal Cadets performed their flag ceremony while the poem “My Name is Old Glory” by SMSgt. Don S. Miller was read aloud. Wreaths Across America founder, Karen Worcester, then spoke about Wreath’s Across America and its purpose, to remind everyone of the importance of groups (such as this one) that pay homage to our fallen heroes who so proudly offer their service.

    Candle

    After the ceremony, the drivers of the WAA fleet were invited into Cabela’s for a dinner generously put on by the outdoor outfitter and Oakhurst happily donated all of the drinks for the occasion. After a long day of driving, Joe was happy to get a good night’s sleep knowing the journey was only just beginning…

  • Wreaths Across America Kick-Off Rally

    Oakhurst Dairy driver Joe Masse arrives in Columbia Falls, Maine!

    For fourteen years, Morrill Worcester and his family assembled and transported 5000 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery on their own as their personal gift.  On Saturday night, Oakhurst’s Joe Masse and his grandson Parker had the privilege of learning first-hand about what it is to be a part of Wreaths Across America’s special mission.  They attended a dinner hosted by the local Methodist Church at the Wreaths Across America Headquarters in Columbia Falls, Maine to kick off the 2013 journey to deliver wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.

    Joe and Parker sat adjacent to Morrill and Karen Worcester during the event and listened to their stories of commitment, sacrifice and generosity while enjoying dinner (and some fantastic desserts).  Both Morrill and Karen were accompanied by their two sons Rob and Mike as well as many grandchildren and extended family.  The entire family is so passionate and dedicated to their mission.  In addition to expressing some very heartfelt stories, Karen provided the latest update to this year’s mission.

    As of Saturday night, Wreaths Across America expects to lay over 520,000 wreaths at 909 locations.  All of those wreaths will be hand-made from fresh Maine balsam at one of three Worcester Wreath factories near Harrington, Maine and then shipped nation-wide to various cemeteries.  In addition to major corporate sponsorships, many of the wreaths are sponsored by individuals for $15 each.  Over 120 trucking companies donated transportation services to make it all possible.  The wreath count for Arlington National Cemetery was over 100K and there are hopes that there will be a big push this week to grow that number considerably.

    Karen introduced the newest ceremonial wreath to join Wreaths Across America.  This year, they will place a very large lighted wreath at the base of the Statue of Liberty called the “Wreath of Honor, Respect & Victory”.  This wreath, including the custom-built stand and plaque requires its own trailer to move and will be arriving at the Statue of Liberty on Monday.

    The entire Worcester family produced and showed a short video thanking all the supporters, especially the trucking companies who make all the deliveries possible.  Several executives from Walmart made the trip and announced their total donation (including trucking & support services) this year would be $450K.

    John and Bunny O’Leary briefed the group about the convoy and they determined the order of the convoy by drawing names from a hat.  The convoy lead truck will be rotated throughout the journey.

    The dinner ended around 8:30pm and most all of the drivers and support staff, as well as Parker and Joe stayed in Machias for the night after a brief tour of the WAA museum.  A 4:30am wake-up call will be how the next day begins!

  • Meet Our Wreaths Across America Truck Driver

    This is the third consecutive year, we are donating transportation services to Wreaths Across America (WAA) and once again our WAA truck will be a part of the large convoy of trucks driving from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery. The convoy will help deliver what is expected to be more than 100,000 wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec.14, 2013 – National Wreaths Across America Day.

    Making the 750-mile, one-week pilgrimage from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery for us is Joe Masse. He joins our honored list of Wreaths Across America drivers. Masse is a Class-A Route Sales Driver for Oakhurst and has been with the company for 37 years. Typically he drives in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts delivering primarily to supermarkets. He lives in Spingvale, Maine. On the first day of the week-long trip from Harrington, Maine to Portland, Masse plans to bring his grandson Parker Eckert along for the ride. They’ll both participate in events such as the stop at the Ellsworth American Legion Hall, the parade in Camden and the Cabela’s Wreaths Across America Ceremony. In Portland, Masse’s girlfriend Heidi Kleiner, from Brunswick will join him for the remainder of the trip.

    We asked Joe was this journey means to him.

    Why is important to be involved in the WAA effort and what does it mean to you to be able to participate as the Oakhurst driver?

    This is an opportunity to participate in something meaningful and good. It is an honor to be a part of it.

    The Oakhurst WAA truck will be part of the big convoy of trucks this year? What part of the experience are you most looking forward to?

    Seeing all the wreaths after they are placed at Arlington.

    How are you preparing for this journey? Is there anything special you are bringing with you (i.e. token from a veteran, something meaningful to this experience)?

    I have reviewed a bunch of material from previous years. I am not bringing anything with me, but would like to place a wreath on a site of someone who is from my hometown.

    What do you think a typical day on the road be like for you?

    In one word — Humbling !!!!

    Masse and other Oakhurst employees attending the National Wreaths Across America Day Ceremony plan to personally honor up to 50 fallen Maine and New Hampshire veterans by placing wreaths at their graves at Arlington National Cemetery. Oakhurst has established a Veterans Remembrance Wreath Memorial initiative in support of the WAA mission. Oakhurst plans to donate up to 50 Maine-made wreaths through Wreaths Across America and transport them along with the thousands of wreaths it will carry in its truck to Arlington National Cemetery. Oakhurst employees will personally place each of the wreaths upon request from New England families. Based on suggestions from our Facebook page, we extended our Veterans Remembrance Wreath Memorial initiative to families with fallen heroes buried at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery. During the first day of the convoy to Arlington, we will transport as many wreaths as we can fit in a vehicle travelling with the convoy and make a stop in Augusta to place the wreaths.

    A photograph of the wreaths on each headstone will be taken and posted on Oakhurst’s website. New England families interested in requesting one of the Veterans Remembrance Wreaths for either location should visit http://www.oakhurstdairy.com/waa/wreathrequest.php and complete the request form. Please be sure to provide as much detail as possible regarding the site location in the cemetery.

    Oakhurst has created a dedicated trailer design that is used in daily business operations to honor the WAA mission. To commemorate the trip and share the experience with employees, customers and the general public, live video during the 750-mile drive to Arlington will be available via a dedicated website: http://waa.oakhurstdairy.com/. Images and multi-media will also be posted on our Natural Goodness blog and our Facebook page.

    Individual wreath sponsorships are $15. To sponsor a wreath or make a donation visit www.waastore.com.

  • Thanksgiving Recipe Guide: The Cream In It All

    It’s the week of Thanksgiving – counters are dusted with flour, and refrigerators are filled to the brim. College students are returning home for the holidays and multiple generations are gathering for Thursday’s feast. When family, friends, and guests sit down to enjoy your delicious holiday feast; remember it is important you enjoy it too. Don’t set yourself up for complicated last minute dishes. Thanksgiving is not just about the turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie – it’s about getting together to enjoy each other’s company and appreciate everything good in life.

    To help you keep things under control in the kitchen, we have compiled a list of relatively easy, sure to please the crowd, recipes for your Thanksgiving table. All of the recipes include cream, so be sure to stock up on this holiday season. You’ll be treating yourself and your family to a fresh cream from the local brand you trust. Oakhurst half & half creams and cooking creams are all made without the use of artificial growth hormone. So whether you want to add the rich delicious flavor of Oakhurst cream to your coffee, or your favorite family recipes, remember to reach for Oakhurst. Because there’s cream… and then there’s Oakhurst.

    Recipes:
    These Creamy Mashed Potatoes from Real Simple magazine had us at hello!

    Sure to be a crowd-pleaser on the big day, this recipe for Slow-Roasted Turkey with Cream Gravy from Cooking Light magazine. 

    A side dish can be the star of the table, as proof with either of these creamy recipes from Food & Wine magazine: Creamy Mustard Greens with Fried Shallots .

    Food writers for The New York Times out did themselves this year with one of the best Thanksgiving features to date – and bonus – the interactive feature online has a video about how to make the Brandied Pumpkin Pie and tips on keeping the pie alcohol-free.

    Running short on time, ask guests to bring desserts (pies are easily transportable) or a side dish. For breakfast the next day don’t put yourself out by planning another meal to follow up the big one! Check out what your local bakeries are offering for holiday pastries and pick up a box. Whether for your home or wherever you are staying, your guests are sure to appreciate the effort.