Monday, June 14, 2010 – With overcast skies Sunday morning, Jasmine Jordan and her family stood around the 10 and 9-year-old sisters who had traveled with their parents from New York to meet their hero, Jazzy.
10-year-old Sarah belted out “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” before she and younger sister Victoria got Jazzy to sign autographs for their school class and for their personal collection.
“She sang so loud and sincere,” Lee Jordan said.
The night before, the Jordan convoy was joined by Robert Curran, a truck driver and OOIDA life member from Jacksonville, FL, who had added www.runwithjazzy.com to the top of his truck. Curran escorted her the final miles of her 22-mile total Saturday.
“I have been following Jazzy for a long time. I think her whole family is one of real great Americans,” said Curran, who first met the Jordans at the truck show.
“The American spirit lives within Jazzy, and it’s inspirational. One person can make a huge difference. Volunteering is the greatest gift you can give,” he said Monday morning. “I am just a trucker that wanted to give back and help spread her message.”
Curran said he could relate to Jazzy personally as he is a person who just “doesn’t know the meaning of quit.” He could see that in Jazzy and he was moved by it. Curran also ran a bit with Jazzy on Sunday on foot, although he is not a runner. He plans to stick around until she finishes the run.
Jazzy was also supported in New Jersey by the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, which helped coordinate information and support as the Jordans made their way through the Garden State.
Such is the life of a 17-year-old celebrity athlete as she nears the finish of an Olympic-level effort, running more than 3,000 miles in nine months.
On Sunday, Jazzy ran 26.3 miles.
On Tuesday she is scheduled to enter New York’s Times Square sometime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. The finish will complete a 3,159-mile journey that started last Labor Day in California.
Jazzy is running from California to New York to raise awareness of truckers who lack medical insurance and to raise money for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund, a Knoxville, TN-based nonprofit group that helps truckers obtain medical care at reduced prices.
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Jazzy’s website has pictures and information about her run and how to donate to the St. Christopher Fund.
Stay tuned to Land Line and Land Line Now for on-the-ground coverage of Jazzy’s entrance into New York.
Most of those miles have been with Jazzy’s dad, Lee, following in his diesel pickup, though Jazzy’s mother, Paulette, and several Jordan Enterprises employees have joined the caravan as they head through New Jersey and into New York.
The group now includes Mitchell Sterns, a schoolmate of Jazzy’s who is actually the first person she told she would run across America in April 2009. Jazzy decided she would run while grieving the death of Sheila Grothe, a Jordan Enterprises truck driver who bravely fought cancer while medical bills mounted.
Lee said Sterns steadfastly believed Jazzy could and would run from coast to coast, never wavering.
Sterns was moved enough by Jazzy’s goal that he joined a gym and lost 25 pounds.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood called Jasmine Jordan a “true American hero” recently, and Lee agrees.
Jazzy has drawn mainstream news coverage from many newspapers and local television stations, and has been followed by Runner’s World magazine.
Lee said truck drivers have been in her corner from start to finish.
“Jazzy is an inspiration and, yes, she’s a true American hero,” Lee said. “Truckers will be talking about this for a long, long time. Years from now, they'll be talking about what Jazzy has done. Truckers will remember her.”
Like so many other friends, old and new. From her hometown and across the country.