OOIDA’s Truckers for Troops Telethon results: drum roll, please

In such a challenged trucking economy, who thought the 2008 Truckers for Troops Telethon would exceed the incredible efforts of 2007? But the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has announced the results for the 2008 Truckers for Troops Telethon, and the event netted nearly $10,000 more than in 2007.

“It’s fantastic. To think that as tough as times are this year and that we surpassed last year in collections for the troops is outstanding,” said OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston. “It just makes me more and more proud of the people we represent.”

OOIDA announced Dec. 22, 2008, that the goal to send care packages that will deliver gift items to more than 2,000 troops had been met, with more than $54,000 raised.

The Association conducted the campaign Dec. 8-12, 2008, to raise funds to send care packages to troops in combat areas overseas. The final total as of press time was $54,567.

“The results speak volumes about our members and how they feel about supporting the troops,” said Norita Taylor, media spokesperson for OOIDA.

During the week of the telethon, 10 percent of discounted renewal and new membership fees were matched by the Association.

OOIDA volunteers began packing the boxes in mid-January.

This year’s telethon is the second year in a row that OOIDA conducted such an effort. Land Line Now, the Association’s official radio show on XM Satellite Radio 171, promoted the telethon during its regularly scheduled broadcasts.

Land Line Now is America’s first daily one-hour news program produced exclusively for the professional truck driver. The show is created every day at OOIDA headquarters.

During the telethon, special guests on the show included a number of soldiers who were recipients of last year’s packages. To listen to clips from those interviews and letters from troops overseas, go to

Other radio shows popular with truckers also helped promote the campaign by having OOIDA individuals as guests on their shows. The hosts of those shows included Dale Sommers (known as “Truckin Bozo”), Rollye James, Dave Nemo, Steve Sommers and Evan Lockridge as well as Mark Willis and Elizabeth Walsh.

The Association often is asked what types of things are sent in the care packages. Some of the items sent last year were self-heating coffees, socks and personal care items. However, among the most popular were the handmade greeting cards.

Taylor said the boxes would be mailed in late January or early February, with possibly a second shipping in the spring. LL