Kenworth’s project to auction off a brand new T680 to benefit Truckers Against Trafficking is one that’s been nearly two years in the making, says Don Blake, new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth.
Blake met Truckers Against Trafficking Executive Director Kendis Paris at that time and became aware of the human trafficking problem that exists in the trucking industry. TAT fights to combat trafficking by educating the trucking industry on how human traffickers exploit the industry to move these victims, and by educating drivers to spot and report possible cases of trafficking found in North America.
In early 2016, Blake and Utility Trailer Sales Company Owner George Cravens decided on a charity auction to raise money for the organization. Blake started by reaching out to his truck maker, Kenworth, who immediately supported the idea.
“They were all in,” he says. “They asked ‘What do we do next?’”
From there Blake started contacting suppliers to request component and monetary donations to build the truck. Again, he says the industry was incredibly generous. The truck currently has 19 sponsors.
“I remember the first one I asked, they said ‘yes’ so quickly I wondered if I should have asked for more,” he says.
By the time the truck finally hit the production line, Blake says it felt like half the industry was behind it.
When Paris heard, she was incredibly grateful, but not surprised. She says the trucking industry has proven, again and again, its generosity and willingness to support programs and people in need.
“We are continually blown away by how many TAT champions are out there,” she says. “From the professional drivers, to particular truck stop partners, to CEOs of companies, to shippers and manufacturers, so many people work very hard to get this information into the right hands. And now look at Don and George, who just heard me speak once and have done this incredible thing with the help of our amazing sponsors. We are thrilled about this truck auction and can’t wait to work with the carrier who steps up and buys it.”
Dubbed the ‘Everyday Heroes’ truck, the Kenworth T680 set to be auctioned features a 76-inch sleeper, a 485-horsepower Paccar MX-13 and an Eaton-Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated manual transmission.
The truck was on display at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting last week in Nashville, Tenn., and will hit the road this spring with stops at Ritchie Bros.’ auctions in March (Las Vegas) and April (Phoenix) before finally being sold on June 20 at an auction in Phoenix. The ‘Everyday Heroes’ tractor holds a retail value of $157,000.
“We spec’d the truck with all the best products each vendor had to offer,” Blake says. “I hope it will go for more than $180,000. This is truly a show truck and whomever wins it will garner a lot of attention from it.”