Members make sure troops get lots of care … packages

| 2/13/2009

A “big” check, in more ways than one, makes for a big reason to celebrate.

Association employees, along with a handful of military veterans, gathered at OOIDA headquarters Friday, Feb. 13, to commemorate the final results for the Truckers for Troops Telethon. OOIDA President Jim Johnston presented a check for $54,567, which will go toward care packages for troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat areas.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association conducted the campaign in December to raise funds for care packages.

“We estimate that our efforts will touch about 3,600 service men and women,” said Michael Schermoly, marketing director.

Packing took place at OOID headquarters, and samples of care packages and their contents were on display as everyone gathered to view the presentation.

A few of the recipients of last year’s care packages have returned to the United States and were able to attend. Army Staff Sergeants Shane Zeysing, Jefferson Bailey, Bill Halbrook and Army Sergeant E-5 Valerie Brown were glad to see the program continue for other military personnel serving in the same countries they had served.

Land Line Now, the Association’s official radio show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, promoted the telethon during its regularly scheduled broadcasts during the week of Dec. 8-10. Shows included interviews with recipients of last year’s packages who shared the reactions seen on the other end. The telethon raised funds by taking 10 percent of discounted renewal and new membership fees and putting them toward packages, which were matched by the Association.

Among things like personal care items and snacks, the packages also included hand-made greeting cards created by young children, which were among the most popular last year. Because a few more shipments will take place later in the spring, those who wish to contribute letters and cards can still do so. They can be sent directly to headquarters c/o Norita Taylor, 1 NW OOIDA Drive, Grain Valley, MO 64029.

– By OOIDA staff