My wife Mary Jean and I are blessed with eight grandchildren. The youngest is 4 and the oldest is 15. This leads to seven of them playing summer baseball. So, we spend several of our evenings each week with our old people chairs, watching games and eating hot dogs at Shafer Park.
Our oldest, Brody, was playing the second game on the Babe Ruth diamond. It was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. And, like most all games do, it was late getting started. Brody was the leadoff hitter and about the second pitch I started hearing several horns blowing. Spending a few years as a trucker, I knew the sound. We all stood on the side of the road as a kid moving our arm moving up and down just waiting for that bellowing sound.
You could tell it was coming our way headed north on U.S. Route 62 by the sound. I thought they would stop the game as it was almost too overbearing to continue.
Now, almost all of us know at least part of the story of Aralyn Turtley, a young girl that has cancer from Lynchburg. It’s a story that has captured the hearts of us all.
There were several of us in the stands that night and no one knew for sure at first what all the commotion was about. We soon figured it out. You know how sitting at the train crossing you wish you had counted the cars after waiting forever, but halfway through it’s too late? I thought that was not going to happen, so I started counting.
There were five big trucks led by a pink Peterbilt. I thought that was pretty cool. Then more horns roared, and another bunch came through. And then another, and another and another. There was also a group of motorcycles sprinkled in and a Croswell bus. This went on for what seemed like forever with 122 trucks in all. It was a very moving event to see.
Sitting there in the bleachers brought tears to my eyes to see such a thing that I knew very little about. I sat there with a feeling of joy and sadness both intertwined at the same time. Sadness that a child should ever have to deal with such a disease and joy of how the community I live in comes together when a need like this shows its ugly head. It was a wow moment for me.
I just had to find out more, so I called the organizer of this wonderful display of love, Denise Mootz. She informed me it was mostly local truckers and that over $90,000 was raised for this young girl. Now, I am sure it took a lot of work to get to the point we all witnessed that evening, but how amazing that was to me. I had to ask myself the question. Why would truckers take the time to do that? Trucking can be a very good life to have but it is very tiring, demanding, and many times a two steps forward, three steps back kind of occupation. With fuel prices at an all-time high along with repairs and maintenance costs the same, it can be very tough to make it all work.
Here are my thoughts on that question, right or wrong. We live in a world of controversy. Society presents information on multiple topics and forces us to pick a side on each issue. Lines are drawn in the sand, and we fight for our beliefs. It seems everyone has a strong opinion on about any topic.
The wonderful and fantastic thing that struck me about seeing all those truckers driving in unison for this young girl was this: It was not politically motivated, there were no sides to take, and most certainly no judgment calls to make. It was just a bunch of our fellow citizens, banning together for a just and noble cause. How refreshing that was to see. Great job to all those involved. This had to take a lot of time, energy, planning and money pull off.
From the words I heard many years ago from a wise man, Bob Luman,” No matter how bad it gets, there will always be more good than bad.” Well said.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent in Hillsboro.