TELETHON UPDATE: Truckers hit homerun with donations for troops

| 12/10/2007

Monday, Dec. 10, 2007 – To say that the OOIDA “Truckers for Troops” telethon was a great success is an understatement. The Association’s goal was to raise $5,000 to send care packages to our troops overseas. A preliminary count today showed more than $25,000 pledged, with OOIDA staff working double-time to count up donations that came in during the weekend.

Sylvia Dodson, the supervisor of OOIDA’s Membership Department, said this morning that more than $15,500 of the pledged money was in straight donations. Those donations were “icing.” When the telethon was being developed, the plan did not include straight donations.

“We offered a special $25 dues rate, which is a substantial savings from our regular $45 rate, to encourage truckers to join and renew,” Dodson said. “Of the $25, we were giving 10 percent to the care package fund and then OOIDA was going to match the total.

“When the phones started ringing last Monday, members who were already paid up called in anyway to give us straight donations for the troops. We are absolutely astounded by the generosity of truckers supporting this effort, especially considering the current economy.”

In addition to raising money for care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas, the weeklong telethon resulted in more than 2,500 new and renewed OOIDA memberships, helping boost the Association’s membership to more than 158,500.

Many of those members called the comment line for the Association’s daily radio show, “Land Line Now,” to voice support for the troops in addition to making donations. One OOIDA member from Paris, AR, said he knew firsthand how much the troops would appreciate the care packages.

Raymond Smith said that when he was in the infantry in Viet Nam the care packages from his mom were as popular with his buddies as they were with him. He particularly remembers how great it was to get packets of ketchup, mustard and hot sauce to make his C-rations more palatable.

“Oh my gosh, I tell you what, me and all my friends – well some guys didn’t get packages; I don’t know if their families didn’t think of that or what – so when I got my packages I shared with the guys. They were around me like a bunch of vultures when I’d get a package,” Smith told Reed Black on “Land Line Now.”

The money raised will be used to buy personal and comfort items for U.S. troops serving overseas. OOIDA staff will be preparing and arranging for delivery of the parcels directly to troops.

– By Land Line staff