By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
Truckers have opened their hearts and their wallets – donating more than $352,000 over the past six years – to ensure that U.S. soldiers stationed in combat zones receive care packages from home.
Spc. Chris Rhoden’s unit received some of the care packages from OOIDA in June 2012. Rhoden, who is from Edgerton, OH, is with the Ohio National Guard’s 1487th Transportation Company. As of press time, Rhoden was scheduled to leave Kandahar, Afghanistan, headed back to the states in late January.
Rhoden told Land Line that he’s driven more than 48,000 miles on some rough roads since arriving in Afghanistan in May 2012.
“My last load I hauled – part of the load was 76,000 pounds, then added another 56,000 pounds on top of that,” Rhoden said. “So my truck total, with my truck and trailer, weighed right around 200,000 pounds.”
He has already shipped home three boxes of his belongings, but he also took the time to send OOIDA a framed flag that he had flown over Afghanistan, along with a certificate from the pilots.
He said this is his first tour with the Army National Guard, but he previously served with the U.S. Navy for three years.
“Let’s just say this isn’t my first appointment,” he said.
Rhoden’s dad, OOIDA Member Roger Rhoden, is an owner-operator from Edgerton, OH.
In 2012, the Truckers for Troops campaign raised more than $58,000 through a combination of donations and a 10 percent match of all membership dues received during the campaign. Shell Rotella again donated $5,000 to kick off this year’s campaign, plus an additional $1,000 on behalf of its My Miles Matters program.
So far, more than 2,240 care packages have been sent to soldiers stationed in combat zones. Nikki Johnson, who coordinates the shipping of the Truckers for Troops care packages, said that some of the items in the next round of care packages, which are scheduled to go out in February, are socks, self-heating beverages, playing cards and snacks.
Those who have previously received one of OOIDA’s care packages say that some of their favorite items are the cards and letters from children.
The letters can be sent to:
P.O. Box 1000
Grain Valley, MO 64029 LL