By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
While 2011 was another rough one economically for many truckers, they still managed to dig deep and give in a big way to ensure that U.S. troops stationed in combat zones would continue to receive care packages.
Many OOIDA members stopped by OOIDA HQ during the Fifth Annual Truckers for Troops campaign to personally drop off their donations, renew their memberships, and share their stories of military service and fond memories of receiving care packages from “back home.”
This year’s campaign raised an impressive $73,560.90 for care packages, surpassing last year’s amount of $71,261.84. OOIDA members and supporters have contributed more than $303,000 over the course of the five Truckers for Troops campaigns.
“We are not surprised at the level of support from our members,” said Norita Taylor, media spokesperson for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
“We know they care about our troops and are more than willing to participate in this program. They make it happen.”
The campaign, which launched on Dec. 5 and ran through Dec. 9, 2011, included a weeklong radio effort broadcast on OOIDA’s Sirius XM show “Land Line Now.”
The project got an early boost with a generous $5,000 donation from Shell Rotella. Truckers were able to join or renew their OOIDA membership for $25 through the end of January, with 10 percent of that money going toward the care packages. OOIDA matched the 10 percent dollar-for-dollar.
OOIDA has received many letters from U.S. troops who have received one of the care packages. Their reactions vary as to what are their favorite items in the boxes – from alligator and buffalo jerky to books to cards and letters from elementary students.
Some of the letters were from truck drivers and members of OOIDA who were recalled to active duty as part of Operation Enduring Freedom after serving in the National Guard. Others have a new appreciation for the trucking community and their support for the military after receiving one of the packages. LL