Truckers for Hope’s round two at St. Jude; Close brush with 60 below

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Truckers for Hope t-shirtI got a call last week from operator Chris Dowdy with an update on the success of his first, April “Truckers for Hope” visit to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., which I wrote about ahead of the event at this link. Of chief interest for this space, Dowdy’s scheduled October 28 for his next outreach visit to St. Jude, and he’s looking to beef up the hospital’s toy closet with donations from truckers around the nation.  

If you can donate hats or toys, message Dowdy through the Truckers for Hope Facebook page or email [email protected]. Items St. Jude advises drivers to avoid, according to Dowdy, are as follows: Food, stuffed animals or items with fabric, clay products, chokeables, latex items, candles, knives, toy guns or water guns, or unsafe materials.

The April event, Dowdy says, went off great, with around 20 children visiting with him and the truck, a 2012 Mack Pinnacle he brought along from his company — he’s running local now in and around Memphis with Wooten Transports hauling bulk commodities. “I felt like the trucking version of George Strait,” he says, with “a few of the parents wanting to take my picture with their child. They were all excited to get up there [in the truck] with the different knobs and gauges. One boy was asking what every little thing was. Seeing the smiles on their faces blowing that air horn…. it’s something I wasn’t prepared for.”

He’s hoping for it to “become a monster of an event,” he says. “I’ll keep doing it every year, twice a year, as long as I can.” 

For his own children — two boys, Dowdy says — “my only wish for them is to keep this going on when I die.”

For donations this year, hats of any kind are much appreciated, he says. The young cancer patients at St. Jude often “lose their hair,” Dowdy says, and with it “their self-esteem. They get the hats back on, they get their self-esteem back.” 

Remembering old man winter — and the importance of winter preparedness
Josh Odalkowski’s truck gelled up in North Minnesota last winter at 60 below. His carrier was apparently unprepared for a raft of such problems around the upper Midwest when it happened, and ultimately his own call to the Minnesota State Police saved his life four hours into it.

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Keith “Palerider” Lawson, whom regular readers may well remember from Tex Crowley’s profile of the owner-operator I wrote about this spring, featured Oldakowski’s story in a vid on his own Youtube channel. It’s a powerful story on several levels — listen in via the video below. Oldakowski himself reiterates the importance of the winter fuel blend strong on No. 1 ULSD if running into below-zero temps, a precaution he failed to take in this instance.  

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