Charity convoy sets Guinness World Record

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 5/9/2016

Members of the trucking industry once again rallied together to show their support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A record 590 trucks participated in the 27th annual Mother’s Day Truck Convoy on May 8 in Lancaster, Pa.

The number of tractor-trailers involved set the Guinness World Record for largest truck convoy. More importantly, the convoy gave about 120 “Wish” kids and their siblings the opportunity to ride in a truck and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the foundation. Attendance at the convoy was estimated at between 6,000 and 7,000.

Ben Lee, the Susquehanna Valley regional director for Make-A-Wish, said the group’s optimistic goal for the number of trucks was 500. The record had been held a group in the Netherlands, which gathered a convoy of 416 trucks in 2004.

Lee said the organization printed 500 Make-A-Wish banners to place on the trucks, and they ran out in the morning.

“The number exceeded our expectations,” he said. “There’s just a spirit of generosity that permeates the area. It’s a day that is epitomized by selfless giving.”

While a fundraising total hasn’t been finalized, officials were hopeful that the goal of $350,000 had been reached. The most money raised by an individual truck was $13,600.

“It was definitely an amazing sight to see,” said Jen Hambleton, who participated in the convoy with her husband, Cliff. The OOIDA members operate Hambleton Transportation in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and were active in the convoy for the first time.

“Truckers get a bad rap a lot of the time,” she said. “They have such big hearts.”

The convoy raises awareness and funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, while giving the Wish kids a chance to ride in a big rig.

The Pennsylvania convoy started in 1990 after a Wish kid asked to ride in an 18-wheeler and speak to his sister on a CB radio. More than 40 trucks and drivers attended the inaugural event in order to make sure his wish was granted. Over the years, the event has grown to hundreds of trucks with more than 100 Wish kid passengers each year. Thousands more attend each year to see the trucks, participate in an auction, play games, and eat local food.

“It’s an amazing way to spend Mother’s Day,” Hambleton said. “All five of my kids are planning to be with us at the rally next year.”

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