NEW YORK CITY, NY, Tuesday, June 15, 2010 – Tears of joy, tears of pain – an exuberant but bone weary 17-year-old Jazzy Jordan crossed the finish line about 1:30 p.m. Eastern time today in front of the ABC News building in New York’s Times Square. The finish completed a 3,159-mile journey that Jasmine started running last Labor Day in California.
She is the daughter of OOIDA Members Lee and Paulette Jordan of Dalton, MN. In April 2009, Jazzy decided she would run while grieving the death of Sheila Grothe, a Jordan Enterprises driver who bravely fought cancer while medical bills mounted.
Most of those miles have been with Jazzy’s dad, Lee, following in his diesel pickup. Jazzy’s family, a school friend and several Jordan Enterprises employees joined the caravan as they head through New Jersey and into New York.
During last miles, Twitter and Facebook sites were alive with activity, with updates from OOIDA media, and even a Jazzy fan named Sergio Negrin from New Jersey who ran with her the last 10 blocks. Sergio is an HR consultant who ran in his office attire on his lunch break all the way to Times Square. Truckers who have been her supporters since she started running posted “we are so proud” or “go Jazzy!” and even “I can’t stop crying.”
New fans at the U.S. Department of Transportation were watching, too. The DOT’s Todd Solomon wrote: “What a great moment. Your fans at DOT shout a big whopping CONGRATULATIONS!”
One of the DOT fans is Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who on his own Facebook, posted “WAY TO GO, JAZZY! I said it before, and I'll say it again: American hero. A real inspiration to America’s truckers, America’s youth, and all of us at DOT!”
A little after 10 this morning, Jasmine triumphantly crossed the George Washington Bridge, 11 miles to her big finish at Times Square.
As she ran her final blocks today, ABC news cameras were following every step. The New York Post reported on her feat, as did a number of other New York news outlets. Local NBC interviewed her on the eve of her finish. The Times Square Chronicle called her an inspiration and wrote that New York welcomed her “with open arms.” Several New Yorkers said they saw on TV that Jazzy was finishing her run today and came out to Times Square to help her celebrate.
Paulette and Lee Jordan both ran with their daughter today, along with runners who included NYPD and even OOIDA members like Jan and James McCarter of Tulsa, OK, and OOIDA Life Member Robert Curran of Jacksonville, FL. She was escorted by a convoy of trucks, police and fire department supporters along with friends and family and one very special person – Sheila Grothe’s husband, Randy.
Total strangers mingled with the Jordans, escorts, Land Line Magazine’s Charlie Morasch, OOIDA members, friends and fans. Even Times Square’s famous “Naked Cowboy” joined the victory with a personal congrats to Jasmine.
She is now the youngest to have run the United States coast to coast.
But she didn’t do it to set a record. The reason she did it has been one that has endeared her to a nation of professional truckers. Jazzy ran from California to New York to raise awareness of truckers who lack medical insurance and to raise money for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund, a Knoxville, TN-based nonprofit group that helps truckers obtain medical care at reduced prices.
With flowers for the athlete, Jeff Heinrich was on hand in Times Square representing the St. Christopher Fund. Director of Development and Fundraising for the fund, Heinrich said truckers were the real beneficiaries of Jazzy’s efforts.
“It’s pretty amazing how she has raised the profile of the St. Christopher Fund,” he said. “What she has done for truckers is awesome.”
Staff Writer Charlie Morasch contributed to this report