Donations collected during driver-led GATS auction benefiting St. Christopher matched by Heartland Express

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Regular readers of Overdrive may recall the St. Christopher Truckers Fund benefit auction that took place at the Great American Trucking Show‘s TA Petro Parking Community, memorialized shortly thereafter by “Long Haul Paul” Marhoefer on the Overdrive Extra blog. After the final totals were gathered, the several-years-running auction had broken previous records for the event by a factor of more than two, generating $16,038 for the St. Christopher fund (SCF).

Part of the draw to the parking lot community this year was the Kingsport, Tenn.-based Stone Creek Four band, here shown backing Heniff Transportation driver and singer Brad James. The four also backed Heniff-leased owner-operator Bill Weaver and others during the three nights of the GATS show.Part of the draw to the parking lot community this year was the Kingsport, Tenn.-based Stone Creek Four band, here shown backing Heniff Transportation driver and singer Brad James. The four also backed Heniff-leased owner-operator Bill Weaver and others during the three nights of the GATS show.

Shortly after those donations were tallied, truckload carrier Heartland Express, SCF reported, stepped up to match the full amount, bringing a total of $32,076 to help SCF support over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and families in need.

According to event organizers, the amount raised at the GATS event, which included both silent and live auctions, was a record. As Marhoefer had reported, it originally totaled $15,755, but an additional $283 was raised through games and activities at the SCF booth. SCF corporate sponsors TravelCenters of America, Blue Tiger USA, RoadPro, 4 State Trucks and others provided auction items along with donations and creations from drivers.

As Marhoefer highlighted, auction items with the highest bid included a Truckin’ Bozo commemorative issue diecast truck ($1,100), a Jasmine brand guitar autographed by the Bellamy Brothers ($3,100) and a can of beer with a Heniff koozie ($900).

“We were blown away by the amount of money raised by truck drivers to help support their colleagues in need,” said SCF Director of Philanthropy and Development Shannon Currier. “It’s a testament to how closely knit our industry is — we take care of each other no matter what.”

The event was primarily organized and executed by drivers, which included Scott Wagner and Melanie Walker of Rapid Response and Bruce and Debbie Richard with Heartland Express.

“Already we were thankful to Bruce and Debbie for all their hard work at the booth, but to then find out that their company was going to match the money raised means the world to us,” added Currier. “So many lives will be touched by this generous act. Thank you, Heartland Express.”

Heartland Express Chairman and CEO Michael Gerdin said, “Our employees and drivers are the heart of Heartland. They power us, which is why we want to make sure each of them and their families are cared for and supported. Donating to the St. Christopher Fund is like donating to the safety and security of our team. It’s a no-brainer, and I hope other companies in the industry will follow suit.”

Hear more from Currier about SCF’s ongoing efforts at the 25-minute mark in the following recent podcast in the Overdrive Radio series: 

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