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Paris convoy hauls in $75,000 for Special Olympics

Posted: September 17, 2018 by Jim Park

Convoy volunteers, families and friends welcome the trucks back to the Paris Fairgrounds following the running of the 14th Convoy for Special Olympics.

PARIS, Ont. — Even the sweltering late-summer heat couldn’t mute the enthusiasm of the crowd gathered in Paris, Ont., for the 14th running of the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. A total of 72 trucks made the trip from the Paris Fairgrounds out to Putnam, Ont., and back again Saturday morning. Before the convoy departed, the trucks were lined up two deep around the 1 km oval track, spilling out into the parking lot at the south end of the fairgrounds. It took more than 15 minutes just to get all the trucks out the gate.

A year’s worth or preparation, fundraising and pledge gathering came to an end two hours later when the trucks pulled back into the compound, horns blaring and lights flashing, bringing with them $75,000 in pledges and donations.

This year’s lead truck honors went to Scott Verbruggen and his team with $7000 in pledges. Second place honours went to Kent Dowling of AMJ Campbell Van Lines with $5,650. Melissa Mayer-Hall brought in 3,935 in pledges to take third place. The Top 12 drivers brought in a total of $31,440.07.

Glenn MacDonell, president and CEO of Special Olympics Ontario was on hand this year to present a special recognition to Paris convoy organizer, Tammy Blackwell. Blackwell was welcomed into the Top 50 Most Influential club, honouring those who have made outstanding contributions to the Special Olympics program.

Incidentally, 2018 is also the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics. The spark that became today’s Special Olympics movement ignited at the first 1968 International Summer Games in Chicago.

The 14-year-to-date tally for the Paris Convoy now stands at an astonishing $930,000.

Next year, the 15th year the convoy has run in Paris Ontario, will be special indeed. Organizers have their sights set on flipping the lifetime tally over the million-dollar mark. Organizers are hoping to get at least 131 trucks to participate, which will turn the total Convoy mileage to 80,000 over 15 years. With the 14-year tally standing at 930,000, reaching the $1 million milestone is tantalizingly within reach. If you have ever considered participating in Special Olympics Convoy even, next year is the year to make it happen.

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