When Kansas City-based Thunderbird Trucking shut down in mid-October, driver Russell Hall and his wife, Christina, were stranded in Kansas City, MO. More than 1,000 miles from their Walterboro, SC, home, the Halls spent almost a week in their truck at a Flying J Travel Plaza until Trucker Charity Inc. stepped in.
Trucker Charity is a 501(c)(3) organization of truckers that helps truckers. Formed in 2009, its motto is “get them fed, get them home.” The organization offers services such as emergency assistance, life coaching, mentoring, “chrome alert” (for missing drivers), last ride home and more. They buy plane tickets, bus tickets, food and hotel rooms to help stranded drivers. They also have a Christmas group that raises funds for needy truckers.
Earlier this year, the charity formed TCI Transport to haul freight in an effort to raise more money to help fellow truckers needing assistance.
Photo by Sandi Soendker
OOIDA Member Isaac Bland of Trucker Charity
TCI Transport driver and OOIDA member Isaac Bland had been with the charity for three months and was picking up a Florida-bound load in Springfield, MO, when he received the call on Oct. 19 for his first rescue.
Russell Hall said he had not been paid for a month by Thunderbird Trucking – formerly Palmentere Brothers Cartage Service Inc. He was among more than 50 drivers who lost their jobs when Thunderbird shut down. Hall said the company asked if he wanted a single bus ticket home.
“I had my wife and my belongings with me,” said Hall. So that option wouldn’t work.
“We were sitting there at our wits’ end. I called OOIDA to see if they could help. OOIDA referred us to Trucker Charity, and within two hours Trucker Charity had arrangements to get us from Kansas City to South Carolina,” he said.
Bland met the Halls at the Flying J and loaded their belongings into his trailer. He followed them to Thunderbird’s yard and they dropped the truck off.
“It was a little tight in the truck with three people,” Bland said, “but within 24 hours of being picked up, my load was delivered to Florida and we got them safely home to South Carolina.”
Editor’s note: For more information about Trucker Charity, go to truckercharity.org.
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