OOIDA's 'Truckers For Troops' campaign begins

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 11/7/2016

OOIDA’s “Truckers For Troops” campaign is now underway, bringing truckers together to support those who protect and defend our nation.

Land Line Now airs its “Truckers for Troops” telethon at 7-8 p.m. EST, on the Road Dog, Channel 146 on SiriusXM. Those who wish to participate can call in during the show’s broadcast or anytime during business hours to join or renew their OOIDA membership at the discounted price of $35 – OOIDA matches 10 percent to fund care packages for troops overseas and to provide needed supplies to long-term care facilities treating wounded veterans.

On Monday’s show, Host Mark Reddig shared a story of how last year’s expanded mission to provide needed supplies to veterans homes and care facilities nationwide has made a big difference in the lives of residents at the Durham VA health care system in North Carolina.

News Anchor Reed Black will bring listeners an interview with Army Staff Sgt. Brad Burkhart, who now runs a custom furniture business called “At Ease” in Wellington, Mo. Burkhart was part of a team that looked for roadside bombs in Afghanistan. He was injured by an improvised explosive device and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Burkhart talks about the importance care packages like the ones sent by Truckers For Troops have for troops stationed overseas.

“When a soldier gets a box, it doesn’t matter who it’s from. It reminds them that someone cares, that people back home are thinking of them, and it puts a smile on their face.” Burkhart said.  

For a decade now, OOIDA’s Truckers For Troops has, through the generosity of its members and with a matching contribution by the Association, raised more than $500,000 for care packages and other supplies to help U.S. military personnel.

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 telethon 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 voicemail 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 troops@ooida.com.

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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