Written by Anne Marie Shannon, Director of Events & Communications Special Olympics Nova Scotia.
Receiving registrations from companies and drivers can often be a great moment of reflection on why we work so hard to raise money for Special Olympics by offering events like the Truck Convoy. Quite often we are moved by a story or memory that is shared over the phone about why being a part of this event is important to you – our participants. Why do you drive?
This week, as the Director of Events & Communications, I had the chance to speak in length to a driver who was more than happy to share with me a very personal and moving story about why he asked his company to enter him into the convoy this year. “It is hard to not get emotional when I talk about this” says Leonard Wilson from TDR Transportation and Logistics. Leonard is what he tells me is a “line haul” driver with over 20 years experience in the industry and hopes to one day get his class one and hit the road for long haul runs. During his career, he tells me he was fortunate to be introduced to a co-worker’s son who had both physical and intellectual disabilities. Leonard, who is slightly hearing impaired talked about the initial struggle to communicate. “ At first it was hard for us to talk, I couldn’t hear very well and he couldn’t talk very well. Eventually over time I got used to his gestures and from there it was instant friendship.” Leonard and his new friend would sit many days behind his work and talk about all the great things friends would talk about. “He was truly an inspiration to me, I have a special place in my heart for people with a disability. They enjoy the things in life that we take for granted”.
It was this friendship that has made Leonard want to be more than a participant for this year’s convoy. Leonard is creating what he has called his “convoy folder”. This will contain the best of hits from yester years and today. He has done this for his “trucker buddy” that he will host for the day. “They can play any song they want or the same song for the entire trip. This day is about them”.
Leonard has also taken to making sure his truck is the best it can be. He has already worked on re-painting the trim work and has approval from his company to take the truck off the road the day before to shine it from front to back. “It will be the best it can be, because they deserve the best”.
If you are a member of any social media sites, many of you will recognize his name. He is friendly, kind and determined. His goal is to raise $1000.00 in pledges and has been diligent is asking friends, family and colleagues to support his goal. He is currently at just over $800.00 so I have no doubt he will reach his goal in the next month. “ I know if everyone does their part in raising pledges, together we can all make a big difference.”
Thank you to all who have shared the many moving stories and memories with us. Each of you are doing an amazing thing. We have always said “Truckers have #bighearts”. Here is yet just one more example of that.
If you know someone who wants to be a part of this year’s convoy in Dartmouth NS, registration forms can be found online or by calling 902-429-2266 x 2. Or, if you are moved by Leonard’s story and would like to donate to his fundraising efforts, or any of those collecting pledges, you can find their donation pages here.