Santa trucker: In the spirit of the season

| 12/15/2009

Bob Ruckman had never been called a “Santa trucker” before, but a good deed he did over the weekend for a children’s charity earned him the moniker.

For the past 11 years, Andrea Ciniero of Ellicott City, MD, had collected donations for the Starting Points Family Resource Center, 450 miles away in Crum, WV. When she lost the hauler she used every year previously, she was faced with a tough choice to cancel this year’s drive or put out the search for another trucker.

Photo by Rod Nofziger, OOIDA

OOIDA Senior Life Member Bob Ruckman donated his equipment and time to deliver the goods collected by Andrea Ciniero to benefit Starting Points Family Resources Center.

That’s where Ruckman entered the picture. The OOIDA life member from Leivasy, WV, was more than happy to donate his time and equipment to make the delivery on Sunday, Dec. 13.

“People asked where we got the truck, and I pointed to Bob and said, ‘Thank him,’ ” Ciniero told Land Line on Monday.

Ciniero’s dedicated group of neighbors, friends and complete strangers brought toys, clothing, furniture and non-perishable items to be loaded into Ruckman’s 53-foot trailer over the weekend.

Ruckman was alerted to the need after the Howard County Times published two stories about Ciniero and the Starting Points charity drive. OOIDA staffers contacted Ruckman after reading the story and the trucking company owner jumped at the chance.

“I was glad to get to do it. I thought it was really nice,” he said. After a busy weekend of loading on Ciniero’s street in Ellicott City, it was time to make the delivery.

“I got down to Crum at 8 o’clock Sunday morning,” Ruckman said. “Everybody there was calling me the Santa trucker. They all jumped right in to unload.”

Ruckman says he would do it again. He did not hesitate to offer his equipment and time to help Ciniero next year.

“I told her to call me next December and she said no. I paused for a second and she said, ‘I’ll call you in October.’ ”

The act of goodwill did not go unnoticed. Ruckman received a call from his congressman, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-WV.

“We had about a 10-minute chat,” Ruckman said.

Rayhall shared the following comment with Land Line.

“The holiday season is a special time when we reach out to those closest to us. But it is also important to take the time to thank those among us who go above and beyond – those special people who choose to make a difference in life, and for making the lives of others better,” he said.

“I extend my personal, heartfelt thanks to OOIDA and to Bob Ruckman for generously giving his time and truck to make the holidays a little brighter for the children and families in Wayne County, West Virginia.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer