Paris Truck Convoy raises $75,000

by Sonia Straface

PARIS, Ont. – In its 14th edition, the Paris Truck Convoy for Special Olympics raised a whopping $75,000.

Dan Einwechter and an athlete getting ready for the convoy

The event, that saw 72 big rigs roll down Highway 401 on September 15, is one of the longest standing fundraisers of its kind in southern Ontario. Funds raised for the event go directly to Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics to help special athletes have uniforms, as well as the equipment and facilities necessary for their sport of choice.

“The numbers of trucks participating are down from last year, but pledges are up,” said Tammy Blackwell, event coordinator. “Our top three drivers represented $16,600…I don’t know how they do it.”

To date, the convoy has raised more than $900,000 for Special Olympics.

This year’s convoy was highlighted by the fact that the Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th birthday.

“This convoy just goes to show that it’s a terrific event, but an even better community,” Glenn MacDonell, CEO of Special Olympics Ontario said. “The industry sees itself as a champion for our athelets and what more can we ask but that? We have truckers from all over the country here, and what we notice from these drivers is sure, they’re here doing the convoy here in Paris today but many very well join other convoys across Canada and the U.S. after this.”

There was one very special driver this year that stood out among the others, according to Blackwell.

Dan Einwechter, owner of Challenger Motor Freight was one of the 72 drivers in the convoy this year. It’s something he said he’s wanted to do for a long time.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of this, but just never had the time,” he said. “And finally this year it worked out.”

Like all the other convoy drivers, Einwechter had an athlete join him in his truck.

“He is absolutely one of the busiest guys we know,” Blackwell said of Einwechter. “We had our fingers crossed that he would participate…We are so happy to have Challenger  as one of our sponsors…they’re really amped up their participation this year and have 13 units participating today.”

While Blackwell said she was thrilled about the great turnout and success of the convoy this year, her and other organizations are looking toward next year’s convoy – the 15th annual – to be its greatest ever.

“The challenger in year 15 we want to break the $1 million ceiling that we’ve been heading towards,” she said.  “As well in year 15 we want to break 131 trucks which will represent, 116 as our high, plus one for every year the convoy’s been around. We are working on that. We want our drivers to feel good about what they’ve done. I can’t say enough about trucking industry, we couldn’t do any of this without them.”

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