My weekend trip to Lancaster, PA was filled with excitement and joy of visiting my Trucker Buddy class in Manheim, PA, celebrating Mother’s Day with my family and participating in the 28TH Make a Wish Mother’s Day Convoy.
The weather in Pennsylvania was cold and rainy upon our initial arrival. My wife and I made our way to Manheim to visit this year’s Trucker Buddy class. We pulled into the parking lot just in front of the school. We were greeted with a very warm welcome as the entire class was outside waiting for us. They were clapping and waving as we pulled onto the school parking lot. It was a cool and cloudy morning however the rain held off for just awhile and we were able to welcome 20 children and their teachers to take a tour inside of the new Freightliner Cascadia. I have been corresponding all year with this class of students. We have written letters, sent postcards and emails. It was a true pleasure to meet them in person and a highlight each year for me to visit. After their tour, we gathered around the truck and the students asked many good questions about the equipment and life on the road as a truck driver. We took pictures and returned to their classroom inside. The students had just completed writing about their favorite animals and each child gave a brief presentation of facts related to their chosen animal. I was then presented with a large gift bag of healthy snacks to take along with me on the road. We had a great visit and I look forward to returning again next year.
The days spent in Pennsylvania were cold, cloudy and rainy and therefore it was a bit of concern heading into Sunday for the Mother’s Day Make a Wish Convoy. I washed the truck on Friday in hopes to dodge the rain. I experienced a small shower on Sunday morning on the way to the event. Luckily, as we pulled into the Burle Industrial Park for our staging spot, the weather began to clear. We had sunny skies and warm temperatures. I am thrilled to share that there were 595 trucks of all shapes and sizes who participated this year. The Northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley Chapter of Make a Wish holds this event each year in support of children with life threatening illnesses. This year’s goal was to raise $450,000 which would grant approximately 45 wishes. The wishes granted can be to Disneyworld, shopping trips or room makeovers for required special needs. This year there were 125 children signed up to ride in the convoy. ROAD PRO was again the presenting sponsor. Thank you ROAD PRO for your support of this incredible event!!!
My ride along child was Cassandra (Cassie) and her mother, Cathy. Cassie sat in the passenger seat of my Cascadia with the window down. I blew the horn and she waved and smiled to all the people throughout the community who came out to watch the event from the roadside, hillsides and bridges along the route. People cheered, clapped and waved flags as the trucks rolled by. The event included games, food, music, clowns and dressed characters. This year’s Make a Wish event was dedicated to J.C. Hale who was a local construction company owner who originally brought the convoy event to Lancaster, PA. He died on April 17 at the age of 69. Brandon Getz of Manheim was our leading truck with fundraising efforts coming in at $19,124.00. Congratulations Mr. Getz!!!
These two annual events are really highlights for me in regards to my participation annually. It is my pleasure to give back but it seems as always that I am the one who gains so much more in return from the experience.