DOWNEAST, Maine — Bennett Family of Companies, a McDonough, Georgia-based motor carrier and logistics company, on July 24 became the sixth recipient of Wreaths Across America’s (WAA) annual James Prout Spirit of Giving Award.
The 2021 award was presented during WAA’s annual Stem to Stone event in Downeast, Maine, where the nonprofit’s headquarters are located and where the balsam is grown that’s used to make wreaths to place on the graves of U.S. military veterans each December. Wreaths are sponsored by companies, individuals and organizations.
The James Prout Spirit of Giving Award is named in memory of James Prout, owner of Blue Bird Ranch Trucking of Jonesboro, Maine. Prout was the first person to volunteer to haul wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery when the WAA program was in its infancy. WAA presents the award each year to a deserving professional truck driver, company or organization that has supported charitable causes in a way that will affect generations to come.
Rob Worcester, a volunteer who serves as WAA’s director of logistics, and Don Queeney, WAA’s director of trucking presented the award to Lee Gentry, executive vice president of Bennett Family of Companies, and Donna Padgett, the company’s senior director of financial planning and analysis operations manager.
“Wreaths Across America holds a special place in the hearts of the truck drivers, agents and employees of the Bennett Family of Companies,” Gentry said.
“Many of our team have served our country, have family members currently serving or have known someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. As part of our commitment to patriotism, we have embraced the cause of Wreaths Across America — and of the National Cemetery that is closest to our company, Andersonville National Cemetery,” he continued. “It is our great honor to be a part of the Wreaths Across America family, to continue to ‘Remember, Honor and Teach’ those around us about the brave men and women who we recognize during the holidays.”
Bennett Family of Companies was founded in 1974, and has been honored numerous times for its achievements and community support, according to a statement released by WAA.
“Bennett Family of Companies has given back to the nation in many ways, from hurricane relief, to 9/11 response equipment transportation, there is little that they are not willing to do to lend their support, experience and assets to help those in need,” the statement notes.
In 2018, the carrier added WAA and Andersonville National Cemetery to the list of charities it supports, and has transported as many as 20,000 wreaths.
“Without the trucking community and their generous donations of time and services, our mission simply would not be possible,” said WAA’s Queeney. “The work Bennett does year-round encourages new participation and support for the mission, not only in Georgia, but in the industry. They are true friends of the organization, for which we are grateful.”
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