Truck Convoy for Special Olympics celebrates 21st year in Southern Delaware  

Terry RogersCharity, Culture, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

The Special Olympics Convoy is scheduled for Saturday, September 23, 2023

Nearly 200 truck drivers from across the state and region will converge at the Delaware State Fairgrounds on Saturday, Sept. 23, to take part in a police-escorted 29-mile scenic ride through Kent County. Drivers mingle and enjoy breakfast beginning as early as 8:30 a.m. followed by a short program at 9:30. Trucks depart the Fairgrounds at 10:30 and do not return following the convoy.  

 The Truck Convoy, celebrating its 21st year, is part of a national effort to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics. Here in Delaware, more than 4,200 athletes of all ages participate in a year-round program of sports training, competitions, and health-related activities. In 2021, 186 trucks participated in the event. 

 Delaware’s event is organized by Delaware Law Enforcement, with Walmart and Perdue serving as presenting sponsors. In addition to the Fairgrounds and Delaware Law Enforcement, supporters include the City of Harrington, Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Electric Co-Op, WBOC 16, WRDE and Fox 21 Delmarva.  

“To all the drivers, owners, and companies of all types and sizes who supported this event – THANK YOU SO MUCH!! There is no way to really put this into words, but Special Olympics Delaware has honestly been a “game changer” for our son and our family,” Tim Collins posted on social media after last year’s convoy. “Athletes like our son wouldn’t have these experiences and the SODE support framework without kind folks like you making a difference! We sincerely appreciate you! He loved watching all of you hit the road there at the fairgrounds this morning. It was awesome to see – walking around all of your trucks – and after the ceremony seeing (and hearing!) 35 minutes straight of diesels and air horns rolling out! To all the law enforcement and other event volunteers – thank you as well.”

Even those who participate in the convoy find the event uplifting and moving. After last year’s event Miles Burke commented that he was “glad to be a part of it.”

“FedEx partnering with S&T Trucking was honored to be a part of the day,” Barbara Voyton commented. “It was an amazing day that I was proud to be part of.”

SODE commended those who not only participate in the convoy, but also support the efforts of the athletes who depend on the program throughout the year.

 “As we enter the third decade of this event, we continue to be amazed by the outpouring of support from the trucking community from both near and far,” said Corinne Plummer, director of special events for Special Olympics Delaware. “The amount of money raised is spectacular, but what’s just as important is the opportunity for the truckers to meet our athletes who are at the event serving in volunteer roles and cheering them on as they leave the fairgrounds. The drivers will tell you that meeting the athletes is their biggest thrill and why they continue to support this event year after year.” 

Delaware State Police warn drivers that traffic could be delayed as the convoy makes it’s way throughout the area. The planned route has the convoy heading from the Delaware State Fairgrounds on Chambers Road and turning right on Tower Hill Road. It will then turn right on Farmington Road, turn left on Walt Messick/Vernon Road and right on Whiteleysburg Road. From there, the convoy will turn right on Burnite Mill Road (Route 12), right on Dupont Highway (US 13) and officially end in the vicinity of the main entrance to the fairgrounds on Route 13.

Upon completion, trucks will not return to the fairgrounds for a post‐convoy festival. The route will allow participants to safely continue North or South and enjoy the rest of their day. Organizers advise that the route is subject to change. This route is subject to change. Any modifications to the route will be shared with all event participants.

Residents who live along the convoy route are encouraged to stand or sit outside and wave as the convoy passes. In past years, supporters have lined roads and streets, encouraging the big trucks to sound their air horns or simply wave as they drive by.

  Nationally, the Truck Convoy was founded in 2001 by Norm Schneiderhan, a corporal with the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department. Schneiderhan, whose family is involved with the trucking industry, was inspired by the powerful impact Special Olympics has had on his life through his participation in the Law Enforcement Torch Run.  

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