Don Queeney, owner of Virginia-based Hampton Roads Moving and Storage, an agent of Arpin Van Lines, is helping Wreaths Across America, in its mission to ‘Remember, Honour and Teach’ by modifying a 48-foot trailer for use as a mobile educational theatre.
“The goal of the educational trailer is to keep the Wreaths Across America mission out in front of as many people as possible,” said Don. “To Remember, Honour and Teach about our veterans and remind them that freedom doesn’t come free.”
The Wreaths Across America educational trailer is a multimedia audio-visual experience, featuring a 22-person capacity theater that tells the organisation’s story. It is equipped with three touch screens used for finding nearby veteran cemeteries and learning how to be a sponsor, hauler and a volunteer. Storyboards trace major milestones in the growth of Wreaths Across America. A true marble headstone and live wreath from Maine are placed outside the trailer where visitors can take pictures.
"We’re excited to bring the exhibit to communities in hopes that it will be a catalyst to bring active duty, veterans, civilians and children together to tell stories of service and sacrifice while spreading the mission to Remember, Honour and Teach," said Renee Worcester, Development and Outreach Director of Wreaths Across America.
Chevrolet donated the Silverado 3500 used to pull the trailer. The company also provided seed money for Wreaths Across America to buy the trailer and install the audio/visual components.
For the past few months, Don Queeney has been taking the trailer around the country to moving industry and trucking trade shows to recruit new haulers and volunteers for the next National Wreaths Across America Day on 15 December.
“Volunteering for Wreaths Across America is very rewarding,” said Don. “Every place we go, people are waving, beeping, coming over to say hello and thanking us.”
Next, he plans to visit schools to teach children about the importance of remembering and honouring veterans. Don has helped equip the trailer with tables, chairs, colouring books, wreath-making kits and even a Wreaths Across America-branded Lego set.
However, Don is close to retirement and is selling Hampton Roads Moving and Storage to his son, Chad. He is searching for several volunteers to assist with the trailer and continue its educational journey around the country. He will stay involved as an advisor to his company and Wreaths Across America.
Arpin Van Lines has been involved in Wreaths Across America since 2013, with participation growing from one driver in the first year to 26 drivers in 2017. Volunteering for this cause has become a valued tradition among Arpin drivers, who use this occasion to pay their respects to the country’s fallen heroes.
Photo: Don Queeney and the mobile educational theatre