Charles MacRae is an Irving Oil driver from Sydney Nova Scotia and first time participant of the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics.
He is the oldest of seven children who looked up to his father as a role model and someone he wanted to be just like. “Dad was a truck driver in his early years and I wanted to be just like him”, says Charles. So naturally a career in the field that his dad chose was his path.
His journey began 40 years ago when he entered the industry. After a few jobs, he eventually settled into his role with Irving Oil where he has now been employed for 21 years.
“I had heard about the Truck Convoy previously, but didn’t think it was something I could be involved in.” Charles’s family has been long time volunteers with Special Olympics and he had often heard the many rewarding stories shared at gatherings and seen their pictures time and time again on social media. “It wasn’t until I attended the Truck show in Moncton that I really began to dig deeper into what it really was. I had seen the banner with the Irving Oil logo so I knew Irving was a part of it.”
Lured by the smell of fresh popcorn, Charles made his way over and spoke with Anne Marie Shannon from Special Olympics Nova Scotia. Within a few minutes a connection was made and they realized that his sister Doreen and her husband Terry were mutual connections. “I thought, why not give it a try”, said Charles.
The 2017 Truck Convoy was his first year participating. He represented Irving Oil at their Mini Convoy held the day prior to take part in the parade and he also volunteered to take a child with Special needs in his truck. Claire has Down Syndrome and she is usually quite shy and not great with noise. As her mom waved goodbye to Claire as she stared her 6 km journey to the Enfield Big Stop, everyone could see the concern in her eyes. Claire was wearing noise cancelling earphones and smiling ever so gently. “She has never done anything like this before. I am worried about what she is going to think and feel” says mom Laurie.
Everyone met Charles at the end of the convoy eagerly awaiting Clare to get out of her truck. Within minutes she jumped out with a smile that brought her mom to tears. “I know everything about her, she is quite the talker”, said Charles.
Fear and concern turned to joy and celebration as everyone joined in a great milestone for Clare.
Charles then participated in the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics the next day with his Trucker Buddy Miguel. Together they enjoyed 52 kms of conversation, waving and friendship.
To help end the day, Charles raised over $1000 that would go towards the $131,000 raised that day for Special Olympics.
“I was amazed as to how little effort it took on my part to make kids smile and in return it made me feel really good.”
To have a look back on last year’s event visit our FB page
Special Olympics is always looking for volunteers to help with their programs, events or even the Truck Convoy. To learn more, visit their website at www.truckconvoyns.ca/register
Registration is now open for the 2018 Truck Convoy For Special Olympics! Be like Charles…help put a smile on the face of a Special Olympics Nova Scotia athlete.