For those familiar with the annual Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Truckers for Troops campaign know bets and challenges are all part of the fun. This year is no different.
The annual troops challenge is off and running on day one.
During the Truckers for Troops campaign, veterans and supporters of the five armed services have competed over the years to see which branch called in the most to donate to their fellow troops. Truckers who called in to participate also “cast a vote” on behalf of the branch of choice.
This unofficial “branch challenge” began during the radio telethon several years ago. People would call in and give a shout-out to their former branch. The OOIDA Membership Department started keeping track. When Land Line Now’s Reed Black, a proud Army veteran, found out about the challenge he boasted that his fellow Army vets would likely exceed the efforts of all other branches put together.
Land Line Magazine Managing Editor Jami Jones offered to lead the team that would include all other branches.
While Reed is unavailable to participate in the Truckers for Troops campaign this year, Jami has little doubt his fellow Army veterans and supporters will lead him to victory, once again.
In addition to the annual “branch challenge,” a new one has cropped up.
Land Line Now Host Mark Reddig gives out the phone number to participate in the annual campaign, a lot. So much that this year, they are keeping track.
Truckers who call in to participate in Truckers for Troops can have their guess recorded for how many times Mark will say the phone number over the course of the week. The closest guess, without going over, will win a Truckers for Troops T-shirt.
The annual campaign, which runs through Nov. 9, generates funds in order to send care packages to service personnel in combat zones. Truckers for Troops also helps a variety of veterans’ facilities in the United States, including those that assist or provide housing for wounded, disabled or homeless service members.
During the campaign period, new and renewal memberships are discounted to the special price of $35 per year – a savings of $10 off the regular price. Ten percent of the amount paid during the campaign week will go toward the Truckers for Troops fund, and OOIDA will then match those funds. A radio broadcast is planned for each day of that week on OOIDA’s Land Line Now satellite radio show on Sirius XM 146.
Truckers for Troops has been a success from the start. The first campaign started with a modest goal of raising $5,000. However, generous truck drivers opened their wallets and raised more than eight times the original goal, with a total of $42,083.
The success shouldn’t be a surprise because veterans are a huge part of the trucking industry. More than one-third of OOIDA members have served in the military.
Since 2007, OOIDA members have generated more than a half a million dollars to send packages to our country’s troops overseas and veterans’ facilities in the United States.
To be a part of it, just call OOIDA’s main number, 800-444-5791. During business hours, let operators know you’re calling about Truckers for Troops, 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.
You also can visit Jon Osburn at the Spirit of the American Trucker during the campaign and sign up or renew your membership.
Individual tax-deductible contributions to the Truckers for Troops fund are also welcome and can be paid to the OOIDA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.
The Association also is seeking the names of individuals who are serving in combat zones with the U.S. military to receive packages, or requests from veteran facilities with unmet needs. Those requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include an address and a projected stateside return date for individuals.
In addition, the Association seeks handmade cards or letters for inclusion in care packages. If you would like to include a card or letter in the package, please send it to OOIDA, attention: Truckers for Troops, P.O. Box 1000; Grain Valley, MO 64029. Towns or school names can be included, but please do not include last names or other personal information.
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