Sure, it's what's on the inside that counts. But as of May 22, what's on the "outside" gained some importance, too. Through a program called "The Road Home - Truckers Helping Children Find The Way," the first poster of a missing child was placed on the back of a tractor-trailer unit owned by E. F. Thompson Inc., which is contracted to haul U.S. mail.
During the unveiling ceremony, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) President Ernie Allen commended the trucking industry, veteran radio personality Dave Nemo and sponsors Rand McNally and Northland Insurance for launching a program that could have tremendous impact on the plight of missing children throughout North America. The event, which followed a tour of the National Center's facility in Alexandria, VA, was held in preparation for National Missing Children's Day May 25.
Gary Thompson, president of E.F. Thompson Inc., said he has 125 trailers in the states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and he plans to put posters on every last one. "Our trucks drive along the I-95 corridor, and it 's a six-lane interstate that runs around Washington, DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia," he said. "Thousands of people are going to see the back of one truck. Then, if you multiply that by 125, those are some big numbers. And these trucks are running around the clock."
According to NCMEC cases, one in six missing children is recovered because someone has seen their picture. It's a natural, then, that the group would hook up with the largest group of moving billboards around. Across the country, the challenge is going out to truckers through the Dave Nemo Radio Network, to join in this campaign.
"Every day in the United States, nearly 2,000 children are reported missing," Nemo said. "Many kids are found quickly but unfortunately, many others aren't. These tragedies scar families for generations. Truckdrivers, and the trucking industry as a whole, want to help these kids get back home."
The Road Home campaign features 2-foot by 3-foot self-adhesive, removable posters of missing children that will appear on the rear doors of trailers owned by participating trucking companies and owner-operators. Each poster will include the child's photo and pertinent information along with NCMEC's 24-hour hotline number 1-800-THE-LOST. The Road Home logo sticker (5 inches by 6 inches) also will be available to truckdrivers and anyone who wants to support the program. All money donated for these posters and stickers will be given to NCMEC.
Since 1984, the NCMEC has helped find more than 65,000 children through raising awareness, educating parents, and assisting law enforcement, schools and the community at large. Images of missing children and further educational materials can be found online at www.missingkids.com.
Those interested in taking part in The Road Home can visit the Dave Nemo Radio Network at www.davenemonetwork.com, call (513) 531-9655, or e-mail RoadHomeWithNemo@aol.com.