It started as a means of uniting truckers during the holidays – a time of giving to other people. And what would unite truckers more than a fundraiser to support U.S. military personnel who were deployed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan?
For a decade now, OOIDA’s Truckers For Troops telethon has been fulfilling its two missions: bringing truckers together to support those who protect and defend our nation. Through the generosity of its members and with a matching contribution by the Association, more than $500,000 has been raised to provide care packages to service members stationed abroad. The campaign is now helping a variety of veterans’ facilities here in the U.S., too, including those assisting or housing wounded, disabled or homeless service members.
The first campaign started with a modest goal of raising $5,000. Instead, truckers opened their wallets and generously gave, raising more than $42,083.
Veterans are a huge part of the trucking industry overall, and more than one-third of all OOIDA members have served in the military.
The campaign, which occurs during the week of Veterans Day, offers new and existing OOIDA members a chance to sign up or renew their membership for the discounted price of $35 per year, with 10 percent of the fee going toward care packages for U.S. troops stationed in combat areas overseas. OOIDA matches the 10 percent dollar for dollar.
Land Line Now airs the Truckers For Troops telethons beginning Monday, Nov. 7, and runs through Monday, Nov. 14. Phone lines will be open on Saturday and Sunday, but calls will be directed to a voicemail box. Leave your name and phone number, and OOIDA’s Membership Department will call you back so you can participate.
Here’s how you can be a part of it: Call OOIDA’s main number, 800-444-5791. During business hours, let operators know you’re calling about the telethon, and they will transfer you to membership. Phones will be answered live, and the switchboards will stay open later than usual, so you can call until 7:30 p.m. CST.
If you call any other time, just press 1. If we’re here after business hours, that will transfer you to membership. If we’re closed, it will put you in a voice mail box where you can leave your name and a phone number for membership to call you back. You can join or renew your membership with OOIDA – for as many years as you like at $35 – and 10 percent of the total will go to the troops, with OOIDA matching the money.
You can also visit Jon Osburn at The Spirit of the American Trucker during the telethon week and sign up or renew your membership. Jon will also be giving away a special gift to those who sign up at The Spirit, while supplies last.
Mail-in contributions will also be accepted; however, payments must specify “Troops” in order for them to be counted toward the total.
Once again, Shell Rotella kicked off this year’s fundraiser with a contribution of $2,000.
To date, the Association has sent more than 3,000 large care packages and provided items to nearly 36,000 military personnel stationed in war zones. It costs approximately $220 for all the items in one box; shipping costs generally average $63 per box, for a total of $283. All the purchasing, organizing and packing of the boxes is handled by OOIDA staff volunteers, ensuring that 100 percent of the money raised is used to purchase items and cover shipping.
In 2015, the Association expanded the program’s mission to include supplying needed items to various medical care facilities for wounded or needy veterans back in the states.
OOIDA is also asking for the names and addresses of troops serving in active combat zones to add to the Association’s list of recipients. Call the name and address in to Nikki Johnson at OOIDA at 816-229-5791. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those zones include Afghanistan, the Kosovo area of Yugoslavia, and the Arabian Peninsula areas, which includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, part of the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
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