OOIDA ‘Telethon for Troops’ tops $40,000 for care packages

| 12/20/2007

OOIDA today announced the preliminary results of the “Truckers for Troops” telethon, and the numbers are, well, simply amazing.

The Association’s stated goal before the telethon, which was the week of Dec. 3, was to raise $5,000 for care packages for our troops overseas. Instead, the grand total as of Thursday, Dec. 20, came to more than $41,500. Of that, $20,000 is from a portion of membership dues collected during the telethon week and a match of that amount by OOIDA.

But more than $21,500 came from OOIDA members who weren’t even asked to contribute. Sylvia Dodson, supervisor of the Associations Membership Department, said that was icing because the telethon organizers didn’t request or expect any straight donations.

OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston was overcome by the generosity of the truckers who called and pledged financial support for the project, despite the difficult economic conditions in the industry.

“I can only describe the response from truckers as fantastic,” Johnston told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio. “I expected a great response to this effort, but this was just over the top.

“We here at OOIDA certainly appreciate the support, and I am sure the moral boost to the many troops who will be receiving the gift packages will far exceed the costs and the effort involved.

“I want to add too that I didn’t come with this idea. This idea came from some of our staff who have been sending these packages all along, and this was a way to expand on what they were already doing.”

Johnston said he has received a number of thank-you messages from people in the military and their families already, and the packages haven’t even been sent yet. He read one of the e-mails on “Land Line Now.” It was from a sergeant currently serving in Iraq.

I just want to thank you all for being so thoughtful and supportive,” the sergeant wrote. “You all remind us why we make the sacrifices we do. I know that a hand-written letter would be more formal, but I am somewhat limited out here.

“We are all doing well and our morale is high. Our unit has just passed its halfway point in our current deployment so the light is visible at the end of the tunnel. The progress the Marines have made in Iraq is very evident as the attacks on bases and our troops has drastically decreased compared to previous tours.

“Again, I want to thank you all for your support and all of the gifts you have sent out here.” – signed Sergeant Andrew Phelps.”

Moved by heartfelt messages such as that, Johnston announced that the Association would continue to take donations for the troops’ care packages through Dec. 31. The packages will be sent beginning sometime in January.

In addition to the personal care items in the packages, OOIDA staff would like to include general letters to the troops. Sherry Murry, traffic controller for “Land Line Now,” is coordinating the collection of the letters.

Murry said that rather than thank you notes for the troops, she has been told by military personnel that letters of general interest, describing normal home life and family activities, are particularly of interest to the troops because they remind them of what they are fighting for.

People who would like to send a letter to be forwarded to the troops may e-mail them to Murry at sherry_murry@ooida.com.

Letters may be mailed to:
Sherry Murry – Troop Letters
PO Box 1000
1 NW OOIDA Drive
Grain Valley, MO 64029

– By Land Line staff