Special Olympics fund-raiser spreads across North America

| 9/3/2004

The World’s Largest Truck Convoy is expected to be four times bigger this year than it was in 2003, and organizers anticipate raising more than four times as much as they did last year with the nationwide fund-raiser for Special Olympics.

Founded four years ago by Norm Schneiderhan of the Orange County, FL, Sheriff’s Department, the September event included truckers in five states last year and raised about $75,000 for Special Olympics programs, Kristen Suto, a spokeswoman for Special Olympics, said. This year, the convoy is scheduled for Sept. 18 and will include truckers in 23 states and Canada.

“We’re expecting to raise $300,000 this year,” Suto said. “We are hoping for 800 to 1,000 trucks this year.”

Many OOIDA members report they’ll be convoying for the cause. Paul “Brooklyn” Sasso and Suzanne “Temptation” Jordan-Sasso will participate in the Florida convoy. In an interview with Jim Steiner, vice president of Special Olympics Florida, Sasso said that driving in the World’s Largest Truck Convoy woke him up.

“Special Olympics athletes have put their finger on my heart and made me feel how lucky I am,” Sasso told Steiner.

“These athletes will never be able to drive a truck, and I will never be able to do what they do. These athletes have taught me that I cannot find an excuse (to not try something.) You can say ‘can’t,’ but it has no meaning anymore.”

To participate in the convoy – recognized as the largest by the Guinness Book of Records – truck drivers must donate a minimum $100 entry fee and submit a registration form to their local Special Olympics contact. For a list of contacts or to print a registration form, visit the Special Olympics Web site at www.specialolympics.org or call 1-800-700-8585.

-by Coral Beach, staff writer