Some time ago trucker/singer-songwriter Tony Justice received a curious email through his music website. It was from a teacher aid at Tinora Elementary School in Defiance, Ohio, about a student there named Joey who, like Tony when he was young, Justice says, had been experiencing some difficulty concentrating on his work in class.
Teachers had tried a little bit of everything to help the young man, when Joey asked them if he might “listen to some music while doing his work,” Justice says. “They were like, ‘Hey, why not?'”
Come to find out, young Joey happened to be a big fan of Justice’s “Brothers of the Highway” record and its title track, recorded as most of you will well remember in a Justice duet with Aaron Tippin on the title track, chronicled in this past post.
When Joey listened to music, teachers found, “he does his work, and stays focused,” Justice says. “As they’ve continued to let him do this, he’s really been vocal about how much he loves trucking.”
The teacher’s aid was asking Justice if he might send some CDs to the boy, thinking it might help him further. Justice, meanwhile, in conversation with Misty, his wife, made clear that “I was that kid in school sitting around drawing pictures of big trucks. It all struck a chord with me. That’s when Misty said, ‘We just have to go up there.'”
Thinking in part of the example set by the birthday party that was thrown for trucking’s biggest fan in Wisconsin, young Dakota Cadd, by a big group of truckers last summer, Justice reached out to his network via the Trucker Nation advocacy group he helped found. Soon enough he’d struck a partnership with a local fleet in Defiance, Ohio, where Tinora Elementary is located, and planned a surprise appearance at the school for what’s being now called “Joey’s Ride.”
Justice will first appear at the school this coming Friday morning to “play a few songs,” after which Justice will treat Joey to a run in the lead truck in a convoy that will gather at nearby Keller Logistics’ lot at 2486 Elliott Rd. in Defiance. Teachers, Justice says, plan to let the entire school out to watch the rigs as they pass by, guided by police escort through town.
Local officials, Justice says, “can only handle about 20 to 30 trucks.” When I talked with him about this a week or two ago, Justice had already lined about about 20 trucks, leaving the remainder to folks who reached out to Trucker Nation directly. Today, it looks like they’re at capacity as far as the convoy goes, but the organization has put out the following notice and also welcomes the community of drivers in the local area and others to attend the brief acoustic concert Justice is giving at the school, as well as presentation of a check for an as-yet-undetermined total made up of donations to the school from appreciative truckers. Click through the image below to download the informational flyer if you’re in the area.