Truckers Helping in so Many Ways Every Day

by Fran Bernard, on Oct 4, 2023 9:42:18 AM


Everyone knows the slogan, “America moves by trucks.” If the trucks stopped moving, the Country would not be able to survive. It is also a true statement, that without the wonderful men and women truck drivers, this would be a different world.

Truckers invariably are very kind, generous, family-oriented, human beings. They are behind so many great organizations that are helping all types of people in many different situations.

From a simple car broken down on the side of a road with a trucker stopping to help, to Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) that has trained more than 1.6 million professional drivers to recognize the signs of trafficking and to act.

Many organizations are formed from truckers wanting to be kind and help people. One such organization is called Operation Roger Truckers Pet Transport. Volunteers transport dogs and cats and other small companion animals. They receive a request for a pet transport, and they make every reasonable attempt to match a pet needing a lift with a Trucker heading in the same direction. They give a lift to a pet that is about to get a second chance for a long and happy life in a new, protective, and loving home.

American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) is another industry-wide organization that exists to provide supply chain assistance to humanitarian organizations whenever disasters hit. This is done all with the help of numerous members of the logistics community who have agreed to make essential donations of transportation, warehousing, material equipment and/or expertise. ALAN allows for help and hope to arrive sooner, which kickstarts the recovery process.

They also provide free real-time disaster and logistics visibility via their advanced Supply Chain Intelligence Center, hosting numerous disaster simulations, and convene dozens of industry-wide disaster relief partnership events each year. Over the years, ALAN played a role in helping more than 100 humanitarian organizations provide disaster relief for more than 60 disasters. 

There are times when truckers need help themselves, and after witnessing hundreds of truck drivers and their families struggle to survive because of catastrophic illness or injury, Dr. John McElligott found willing partners to form the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. 

They are a charity to help over-the-road semi-truck drivers and their families when an illness or injury has recently caused them to be out of work. Assistance may be in the form of direct payment to providers for household living expenses such as rent/mortgage, utilities, vehicle payments and insurance.

They launched the truck driver charity to come to the aid of professional drivers in need, and it has proved to be invaluable.

We have a terrible homeless situation all around us. As drivers, there are many homeless people we see at off ramps, truck stops, rest areas and other places outside the traditional city. Obviously, there is a need everywhere, but those in the city at least have options. There are Soup kitchens, Christian charities, Churches, Halfway houses, and Treatment centers that are happy to lend a hand.

Sadly, for people in rural areas or living out by the highways, there is nowhere for them to find help from except the travelers on our nation’s highways. Dave Wolkow’s life’s work revolves around driving. For 25 years, he drove a semi-truck for a living. Now, he spends more rewarding days on the road for a different mission. 

Dave founded Truckers for the Homeless in 2012 after seeing a man who needed help holding a sign at an exit ramp as he was driving.

Dave noticed that there was something about this man that was different. He had a sign that read: I KNOW I'M DIRTY... I KNOW I'M HOMELESS... BUT I'M STILL HUNGRY.  He went to the truck stop and bought him something to eat. When he went back to the freeway, he gave him his food along with a gospel tract. After leaving him, he noticed in the mirror that before he ate, he read the tract. 

“He wasn't only physically hungry, there was SPIRITUAL hunger there also. It touched my heart and when I stopped for the night, I kept hearing a voice in my Spirit saying, ‘truckers for the homeless’ over and over,” Dave said.  

Dave’s ministry enlists truck drivers all over the country to give bags filled with Bibles, food, water, socks, and other necessities to people in need who they see while driving out on the road.

In the ten years since, he’s fed thousands more. He founded the nonprofit Truckers for the Homeless, enlisting fellow drivers and donations from others to also help feed people they see along the way. “I get blessed more than the homeless people that we feed.” Dave said. 

Truckers-for-the-HomelessThere are many reasons why some people are homeless. Whether it's addictions, family problems or just economic situations. There are just as many reasons as there are homeless individuals. Even if these people are homeless, there is no reason they should go hungry. Dave remarked on the fact that, “as drivers traveling across the nation making our deliveries and pickups, we see all the waste in this country. We may not be able to help all the homeless, but it doesn’t stop us from trying. Jesus said, 'all things are possible to them that believe.' And I believe."

Highway Angels are out on the road, and they are truck drivers (once again) that go out of their way to help, assist, and save lives. Since its inception in 1997, Truckload Carriers Association’s Highway Angel program has recognized professional truck drivers for the exemplary courtesy and courage they have shown others while on North America’s roadways. TCA, its Presenting Sponsor EpicVue, and Supporting Sponsor DriverFacts, are honored to recognize nearly 100 recipients a year, with over 1,300 to date.

Highway Angels are nominated by their employers, fellow professional truck drivers, or the motorists they’ve assisted and saved. There are too many to mention, which is awesome, however, just last month Chris Delancey from Chattanooga, Tennessee, had been recognized for quickly responding to pleas for help for an unresponsive child. 

“It was just after the holidays and the shipper was really backlogged,” he shared. His bladder was telling him he needed to make a stop. Begrudgingly, he pulled off at the next exit and into a Flying J. Chris parked at a fuel island and went inside. On his way out, he could hear a man and woman screaming and yelling, “Something’s not right! She’s not breathing!”

Chris dropped his coffee and ran over to the distraught couple. He saw a little girl, still in her booster seat in the back of the vehicle. “I told them I’m a volunteer firefighter and asked if I could touch their daughter to check her out,” he said. They agreed, and he leaned in with his flashlight to see if she had choked on something, but the airway appeared clear. “I looked at her eyes, but they were unresponsive and showed no dilation.”

Chris quickly pulled her out of the vehicle and laid her down on his rain jacket. “I told the father I was going to do chest compressions, and when I got to 30, he needed to cover the girl’s nose and mouth and breathe into her mouth as hard as he could.” After several attempts, Chris still couldn’t get a pulse.

Chris had lost his own 18-month-old daughter to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) a year earlier. “I saw my daughter’s face in that little girl,” he shared with TCA. “Something told me to keep on going.” He continued to work on the child. “Just as an ambulance pulled up, she took a breath,” recalled Chris. “It’s music to your ears. Although she had a weak pulse, she was breathing. She opened her eyes and said, ‘Daddy.’” Chris quickly scooped her up, ran to the ambulance, and handed her over.

Afterward, Chris climbed back in his truck and broke down into tears.

“It hit me that what I couldn’t do for my daughter, I was able to do for this girl so her family could have a second chance with her,” he shared. “If I hadn’t been running late that night and if I didn’t have a weak bladder, I would have kept on going. I believe there’s divine intervention all around us.” 

There are so many more heartwarming stories about these wonderful truckers that end up being Highway Angels. As Frank Martin, from Menominee, Michigan said, “My grandfather was a trucker. I’d go out with him as a kid, and if he’d see a car broken down or an accident, he’d stop to make sure everyone was okay,” Frank continued, “That left a big impression on me. To me, it’s still a brotherhood. There are a lot of good truckers out there, and a lot of us want to make a difference. That’s a big part of why I stopped that day. Helping people out when they’re in trouble is more important than getting a load in on time. It’s the right thing to do. If it were my family, I’d want someone to stop.”

Bennett Family of Companies

Transportation partners are the backbone of the Wreaths Across America (WAA) effort. Their "Honor Fleet" is responsible for transporting millions of veterans' wreaths to a growing number of participating locations worldwide.
There are many ways to offer transportation support for Wreaths Across America.

Wreaths Across America is committed to teaching all generations about the value of their freedoms, and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed so much to protect those freedoms. In 2022, the organization launched its expanded TEACH program and collaboration with like-minded organizations focused on character development and service projects for young people of all ages, with lesson plans for all grade levels and learning abilities.

Wreaths Across America would not be successful without the help of volunteers, active organizations, and the generosity of the trucking industry, which offer invaluable support to WAA's mission to remember the men and women who served our country, honor our military and their families, and teach our children about our freedom and those who protect it.

Then we have human trafficking that is a severe problem across the world, and the U.S. is no exception. The truck drivers who are on the U.S. highways nearly all their waking hours are the biggest help Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) could have. TAT is an organization founded in 2009, to train and intellectually arm truckers to identify victims of human trafficking. The organization helps members of the trucking industry become a disruptive force against traffickers and an informed law enforcement assistant for the cause of saving lives on the road.

“Truckers might not necessarily see the trafficker, but when they go to places like gas stations, motels, conventions, or sporting events, they can identify the signs of trafficking from a victim’s standpoint and can often make the phone call that is needed for rescuing them,” explains Lyn Leeburg, a TAT co-founder.

As a result of TAT’s training, there have been countless accounts of truckers turning saviors on the road. The case of Kevin Kimmel is striking. Kevin, a truck driver, had pulled up at a truck stop after dropping off his load, when he saw suspicious activity in an RV that was parked back by the trucks. The RV’s windows were tinted black, and Kevin saw men going in and out of the vehicle. He even saw a girl’s face pressed against the windows at one point, causing him to make the call for help. 

This call enabled law enforcement to arrest a couple who were selling a young woman for sex and rescuing her. She was near death after the ordeal. Apparently, the traffickers had kidnapped the girl two weeks earlier in Iowa and were driving around the country, selling her on Craigslist and stopping at places along the freeway for easy access to people who bought her.

“At any given time, estimates put the number of kids at risk for trafficking in the U.S. every year in the hundreds of thousands,” explains Lyn. “And then you have an additional population of people who are trafficked into this country. Probably, human trafficking is happening in your local town somewhere near you. 

TAT has partnered with all 50 state trucking organizations and with trucking schools, where they supply training materials.  The training comes with a video that is 28 minutes long explaining the problem and a wallet card that truckers can always carry with them. 

“Truckers are the eyes and ears of our nation on the highways; they are everywhere,” Lyn said. “If we could train the whole trucking industry to understand what human trafficking is and look for signs, they would be one of the most critical volunteer forces you could have across the nation.”


TAT produces anti-trafficking materials which are commonly seen throughout the trucking industry. They have teamed up with law enforcement agencies and trucking companies to provide training on identifying sex trafficking, and some companies require their drivers to go through it. Through their efforts, they have freed hundreds of human trafficking victims. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource, the majority of truck drivers who report tips learned about them through TAT.

The commitment of organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking, along with the dedication of truck drivers and the wider community, offers hope for a future without trafficking.

There are so many ways to show how truck drivers help every day. I hope this continues with our next generation of truck drivers and that they are the same kind, respectful, helpful men and women that their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have been out on the road and in their hearts.


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