By Sandi Soendker
Covering the member road news and happenings in trucking is much like reporting community news; it’s just that our community is bigger than most. For June, a month that’s between Memorial Day and Independence Day, it seems fitting to feature these bits of trucking community news.
As we put the finishing touches on this issue of June’s Land Line, it’s close to Memorial Day and we look forward to the 2009 Run for the Wall, an event that takes hundreds of motorcycle riders right past our OOIDA headquarters on the way to Washington, DC, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Last year in May, our staff was tipped off they were coming and the HQ emptied as we walked right up to the shoulder of I-70 and stood waving as they passed.
They pulled off at the I-70 truck stop in Oak Grove for lunch, and our Land Line Now satellite radio crew went over there to get closer. Some of the riders were truckers.
The story Reed Black – news anchor and Vietnam vet – and Barry Spillman – producer/senior sound engineer – did for OOIDA’s radio show won Best of the Radio award from Truck Writers of North America recently. Reed did the story for print, too, so many of you may have read it in the July 2008 issue of Land Line.
The Run for the Wall was started in 1989 as an effort by James Gregory and Bill Evans, two Vietnam veterans who made the trip to raise awareness that we had thousands of men and women still unaccounted for from all of our wars. The tradition continues. And if the pack continues to run down I-70 on its central route to the DC area, then our staff running out to the road to wave will likely be a tradition, too.
OK, so this is not Roses & Razzberries, but I want to give my own personal rose to OOIDA member Jouett A. “Buster” Beverly Jr. For the past 50 years he has done something really special to show his respect for American’s veterans. His truck has “Thank you veterans for our freedom so we can be independent” painted on both sides.
Did you know that our last official survey revealed that 37 percent of OOIDA’s members are veterans of the U.S. armed forces?
Continuing in the spirit of honoring our military, OOIDA’s Truckers for Troops Telethon is all about expressing our thanks and support to our troops serving in harm’s way overseas. This year, truckers donated more than $54,000 to pay for care packages for our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Recently, we heard from an Army unit that got care packages while in Afghanistan. They are now home.
The unit invited OOIDA’s Connie Becraft, who helps head up the care package program, to attend the Yellow Ribbon Day ceremony held by the Missouri National Guard’s 935th Agricultural Development Team in Springfield. Connie was presented an award that expresses the unit’s thanks to everyone who contributed.
Connie, whose son Shane has served two tours in Iraq and is now headed to Afghanistan, refers to all the soldiers who are getting OOIDA care packages as her “babies.” Our Land Line Now news anchor Reed Black interviewed Connie afterward. He assures us, however, that when the lieutenant colonel presented her with the award, Connie did refrain from calling the officer her baby.
We are still getting letters from soldiers who got care packages from OOIDA. We recently got one from 10 soldiers in Afghanistan who especially liked the caps and sent us a pic of all of them wearing OOIDA caps. Keith Rosewaren reported he was “amazed by the generosity and kindness of the OOIDA.” He was surprised at members donating money just before the Christmas holidays and in a bad economy at that.
“We all know how hard the trucking industry has been hit recently, which makes your gift to us even more special,” Keith wrote on behalf of himself and all the members of the 481st MP (CID) Detachment, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC), Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Speaking of OOIDA members in war zones, Steve Gallavan from Lucerne Valley, CA, is currently in Iraq for KBR. He communicates with us via e-mail. He sent this photo to Holly Koncilia in Membership and asked: “Here is one of the vehicles we drive for the Army. It is a PLS or Palletized Loading System … think OOIDA’s Permit Department can get this one on the road?”
OOIDA member Cindy “White Rose” Morgan of Lucedale, MS, who trucked in Iraq a few years ago, says she is recovering from a fall off her loaded flatbed, which shattered both wrists. That won’t stop her from an upcoming road trip. Morgan tells us that she and a group of biker friends are planning to go to Sturgis Bike Week. The group calls itself “Road Dogs on Hogs” and includes many OOIDA members. The rally in Sturgis, SD, is planned for Aug. 3-9. LL
Editor’s note: Thanks to a Celtic storyteller – Charles de Lint – for that headline.