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Holland helps welcome home the troops

St. Louis, MO saw a crowd of about 100,000 people turn out Saturday, Jan. 28, during the nation's first big "Welcome Home the Heroes from Iraq" parade to salute men and women in the military.

Hundreds of veterans came from around the country to show their support. The St. Louis Holland team, honored parade participants, were also there saluting our veterans, along with the floats and marching bands.

Led by the efforts of professional Holland driver Roy Gillespie, the Holland team knew right away that they would be involved in this historic moment. Roy respectfully stated, "This was easy to organize--it really was a group effort. The whole Holland team pitched in."

A brand new Holland tractor manned by St. Louis city driver Michael Koeller travelled proudly down Market Street, stirring the crowd with its booming horn and numerous rippling flags. Every branch of the military was represented by a flag hanging proudly from the trailer.

The truck's parade presence was amplified by the Holland team--nearly 40 Holland employees and members from Teamsters Local Joint Council 13. Holland drivers subscribe to the mantra "America's needs are delivered by truck." They are proud of the way Holland service fulfills that role, but recognize the ultimate contribution to America's needs made by our troops. The team walked beside the rig the entire length of the parade, saluting veterans, showing their gratitude, and handing out 100 pounds of candy to children.

While waiting for the parade to begin, Michael opened the cab of the tractor to children of service members for some big rig discovery time, including these twin girls (see photo below) whose father (currently serving in Afghanistan) provided them with their hats.

Roy explains his passion to provide assistance to our troops simply, "I enjoy it. It's important that we support the service men and women that protect our country."

View a video of the parade and see our participation by moving the frame to the 8 minute mark: http://www.ksdk.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1420107435001

At Holland, our dedication to service extends beyond our customers outward to our communities. The charitable efforts of Roy and his coworkers always find support.

Chris Gula, the St. Louis Holland Terminal Manager, explained that Team Holland has been a part of various service-based events--including relief work for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and a biannual care package fundraiser for U.S. troops through the organization Operation Homefront. "Team Holland participates in a variety of ways. We are always excited to help."

We at Holland Headlines say "hats off" to the U.S. troops and to the whole Holland team in St. Louis for proudly demonstrating commitment to community service.

Find out more about Operation Homefront.

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