FRANKLIN COUNTY (Aug. 18, 2019) — Organizers of the 8th annual Make-A-Wish Truck Convoy expected this year’s event to be a little bigger than last year’s. The popular event has grown every year, after all.
As trucks and other vehicles began rolling in Saturday morning, it soon became apparent that this would be a banner year for participation.
Organizers expected more than 100 vehicles in this year’s convoy when registration began at 8 a.m. Participants lined up, then they kept coming.
Registration forms were going fast, and soon they were gone. Participants were still in line, waiting.
“We figured it out fast,” said Staci Hull, the annual convoy’s event coordinator. Registration continued. By the time the first trucks left the Crider’s Church Road event site, there were 273 vehicles in the convoy.
“I’m still in shock,” Hull said Sunday. “(But) with a very grateful heart and on behalf of our committee I would like to thank everyone that came out yesterday to join us.”
In addition to the sheer size of the convoy, the event raised $30,000 for Make-A-Wish this year. By comparison, last year’s convoy fundraiser saw 128 vehicles participate, raising $23,500. The same event raised $21,000 in 2017.
That $30,000 figure included $4,000 in raffle ticket sales, and $1,500 from a “pop the balloon” game. Other games, shirt sales and vendor fees added to that.
Then there was the generosity of area businesses.
“Myron Martin from Martin’s Elevator in Hagerstown walked up to me and handed me $3,000,” Hull said. “Flying J handed us $1,500.”
Farner’s Racing also raised $4,000 for the Make-A-Wish cause.
Generosity of a Local Community
The local community is very generous when it comes to helping others, Hull said.
“No matter where you were (Saturday), you could feel love,” she said.
Eric Farner, of Farner’s Racing, said his organization was “honored to help in any way we can every year.”
The excitement began early Saturday morning at the Cumberland Valley Antique Engine & Machinery Association grounds on Crider Church Road.
By move out time, it was at a high pitch, both at the event site and along the 32-mile convoy route, where crowds gathered to wait for it to pass. For the third year, the convoy included motorcycles — 17 of them this year. It also included a fire truck from Pleasant Hall Volunteer Fire company.
Participants were enthused as they lined their big rigs, motorcycles and other vehicles up, ready to roll.
It was Thomas Bricker’s first year in the convoy.
“After having a stroke in May of this year, this community showed me and my family support and love,” he posted on social media. “I have set my mind to helping others in need.”
He said the event also gave him an opportunity to spend some “dad time” with his daughter, since she rode with him.
Crowds Lined 32-Mile Make-A-Wish Convoy Route
People who lined the convoy route called the miles-long line of mostly big rigs “amazing.”
Terry Morris Poe called it a “beautiful event.”
“We closed Jammin Car Audio just in time to watch this beautiful event but next year we are closing to join in,” Poe said. The business is located on the convoy route.
Along the route, many waited patiently for what they called “that amazing line” of big rigs, tractors and vehicles.
Kelly Fisher waited at Norlo Park for the convoy to pass, posting on social media when she heard the horns and sirens then saw the headlights. Sherri Arrowood sat along Lincoln Way in Fayetteville waiting for the convoy. Kathy Goetz waited along 997 by the park in Scotland. Lindsey Cara Gavazzi waited by the Chambersburg mall.
Some, like Sandy Rosenberger Ackerman, watch for the envoy year after year. Ackerman not only enjoyed watching the convoy pass, she videoed it for the second year in a row.
Ronald Andrews was glad to see more trucks this year, including a lot of “really pretty ones.”
Almost everybody said they planned to find a place along next year’s route to watch another convoy pass.
“It’s sort of become a tradition,” said one woman, as truckers responded to bystanders cheers with blasts of their horns.