Tag Archives: Dartmouth

Meet Charles from Irving Oil

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

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. 

FUNdraising Friday Champion Highlight

Armour Transport has been supporting the Truck Convoy since we began in 2012. Not only did they participate, one of their employees John Norris became a champion for the cause. He went above and beyond to make sure his company supported the event by backing the drivers, but also he was a strong advocate for our athletes. John always encouraged the drivers to participate at the best level they could – fundraising, participating and taking athletes in the truck with them if they were able. As you can see by the smile, it was a partnersjohn edward and athletehip our athletes certainly were proud of.


However, as things often do, a change was coming. John took a different role within the company, and that left a hole in our champion network. However, that would not deter John. This year he began his journey to once again find us a new company role model.
In Paula Wentzell he found just that! Paula participated in the convoy in 2014 raised a total of $806.00 to help support our athletes and had an amazing day with her trucker buddy Matt “I had such an amazing day when I participated in 2014. It was so much fun, and my athlete was a great joy to host”, says Paula.

Paula Wentzell Armour

Paula will now take the wheel to help lead Team Armour on the 5th anniversary event on September 24th in Dartmouth. While we know John’s heart will always be with us, and he continues to work from the shadows, we thank Paula for helping to raise money for her team and our athletes.

The top fundraising team has the honor of receiving a banner to display at their place of work, and the honor of following behind the lead truck and our sponsors in the convoy as well as some great incentives for the drivers.

We have big dreams for our athletes and their future. This event is helping us to make them a reality. Learn more about Special Olympics.

When the Red, White and Blue are friendly

Many of the convoy family in Nova Scotia know him by name – Leonard Wilson (or Lennie as we call him) and the proud truck he drives for TDR Transportation out of Halifax. Lennie makes a daily trek down the South Shore of Nova Scotia everyday with his rig – White Lightening. For Lennie, his job and his truck are two of his great passions in life.

Last year when he had the opportunity to combine them both to earn lead truck was one of his career highlights. Tremendous efforts were put into doing the best he could to help out the athletes of Nova Scotia. Earning the Lead Truck banner was just a perk to doing what he thought was a good thing for his community and a population that is very dear to him.

Lennie keeps in touch with Special Olympics all year long. We love hearing his stories and following him and White Lightning on their journey. So, when he messaged us about something this past fall, we knew we wanted to share it with our audience, because fostering relationships is what we do.

Lenny and White Lightening were making their way along their daily route when suddenly the red and blue were flashing in his mirrors. “ White Lightening – what the heck? We aren’t doing anything wrong.” Within seconds they were pulled over on the side of the road as Lennie was searching for all his papers saying a few words under his breath about being stopped on his daily trek. As most can relate, any time the lights flash and you have to pull over, it is not usually because they want to say “Hi”.

Well this day it was.

The Officer who pulled him over wanted nothing more than to shake his hand and meet him. “ The infamous Lennie! I have seen you on the road several times throughout the past few months and today I had the opportunity to pull you over. I wanted to just say congratulations on your efforts with the Truck Convoy last year. What you are doing to help the industry and the athletes is amazing” He then checked his papers and waved him goodbye wishing him well on his journey.

Managing almost 200 trucks on some of the busiest roads in your city doesn’t come without challenges. In reviewing the route last year, there were over 100 identified intersections or cross roads to manage during the three hour drive through Dartmouth. With careful planning over several months that involved the lead traffic control team from Halifax Regional Police, the RCMP and Vehicle Compliance, our Nova Scotia Provincial Law Enforcement Director pulled out all the stops with the NS Chiefs of Police to enlist as much volunteer support they could to make the 2015 Big Rigs, Big Hearts, Big Results convoy our best yet. Our thanks to officers from New Glasgow, Kentville, Truro, Cape Breton and DND Military Police who’s volunteerism also made the event possible.

What do our Law Enforcement Partners think about being involved?

HRP & DND Police
Superintendent Robin McNeil of the Halifax Regional Police (also a provincial Special Olympics Nova Scotia Board Member) says “The Truck Convoy is an amazing event for our officers to support. The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) as a worldwide movement is engaged to empower our athletes in a meaningful and transformative way. Similarly, the trucking industry, drivers of big rigs with big hearts who play a vital role in our economy, and they are a great partner coming together in such a visual way to support Special Olympics.”

Jayson Gay, Motor Vehicle Officer, Vehicle Compliance, says this “When the convoy first started, I said we need to be a part of this! The Special Olympics is very near and dear to my heart and I have been a part of the convoy since it began. The woman and men of the Department of Transportation come together with LETR group to support the cause by way of ensuring the convoy has safe travels. I see many industry professionals before the convoy event and they always ask, “you coming again this year?” This is a great opportunity to meet, talk, ask questions and get to know each other on a more personal level and best of all, to work together for a truly worthwhile cause.”

Vehicle Compliance 1

For our spectators along the route who witnessed the flashing of the red and blue leading the convoy, or safely blocking the intersections, as well as the motorist we encounter, we know everyone is thankful for their efforts. On this day, we are all friends, all working together for a greater good – our community and the many things we do to make it great. So this year when you pull into the convoy and are greeted by our friends from the broad LETR community – give them a friendly “Hi”, because on September 24th there are not colors or uniforms – just friends.

Join RCMP and athleteus on September 24th as we celebrate 5 years of partnerships and the impact the trucking industry has had on our athletes.

Register, volunteer, wave or watch.


Be a part of the excitement.