PARK CITY, Kan. — Trucker’s Christmas Group.Org (TCGO), an organization that raises funds to help professional truck drivers and their families in the United States and Canada, will be working with many of trucking’s top and rising musical stars for its 12th annual holiday fundraising campaign.
Trucking musicians, industry leaders for trucking charities, and other advocates such as Bill Weaver, Paul Marhoeffer, Taylor Barker, Mandi Jo Pinhierio, Jason Henley, Tony Justice, Ken Freeman, Keith Sampson and more are working with TCGO to raise awareness and funds for the 2019 fundraising campaign.
“One of our biggest challenges has been getting the word out to drivers and those in the trucking community about our mission to help them and their families,” said Mark Abraham, president of TGCO. “We’re excited to bring greater awareness for TGCO with this partnership of a phenomenal group of men and women who have established traction in the community. This is crucial because 2019 looks to be one of the most challenging years for drivers and their families in years.”
Since 2008, TCGO has been raising funds to help support CDL holders and their families through challenging times during the holiday season. The 2018 season set records for applications and funds distributed to those in need. To date, over 150 families have been helped with over $90,000 raised and distributed.
“We are always hearing stories of drivers and their families who have fallen on hard times,” said Justice, a pioneer for the resurgence of trucking musicians. “This year, with the challenges facing the industry, as well as many companies and owner-operators going under, we hear more and more of these stories. I am proud to be able to do my small part to help my brothers and sisters of the highway — and their families — to have a better and more blessed Christmas.”
Freeman, a longtime driver and rising star trucking musician, said he learned about TGCO in 2018 when Weaver and Barker noticed Freeman’s talent and passion for giving back to the community. Freeman and his wife Susan quickly volunteered and agreed to help organize and coordinate efforts for this partnership with various musicians to raise awareness of TGCO in the trucking community.
“No parent should have to tell their child that Christmas will have to wait this year,” Freeman said. “I firmly believe in TGCO’s mission to make drivers and their families live a little better this season. I know the challenges of being a driver on the road, and I truly believe we all have to do our part to make trucking a better more compassionate workplace.”
While word of TGCO’s efforts each holiday season has quietly spread throughout the music community Weaver and Freeman will lead efforts to sign more artists and industry leaders as part of the partnership with TGCO.
“The trucking industry has been both a blessing and a curse to me over the years,” said Weaver, owner-operator and driver for Henniff Transport. “Like many drivers, I was gone for long periods of time as a single father to support my family. Those early years were rough for me. Trucking enabled me to take care of my family, and over the years it allowed me to follow my passion for music. Family is very important to me, and TCGO is a way I can give back to the trucking community and be a blessing to those who face the same challenges as I have.”
To kickoff TGCO’s announcement about its partnership with musicians and industry leaders, Weaver decided to rerelease his 2018 song “How the Trucker’s Saved Christmas,” a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the Department of Transportation shutting down Santa Claus’ sleigh on Christmas Eve. The story is more real than Weaver knew, because TGCO’s resident Santa Claus and board member Greg Manchester faced his own DOT shut down when he was pulled over for a DOT inspection while attempting to notify 2018’s fundraising campaign award recipients. Manchester described that it felt like he went from tears of joy to working with a real-life Grinch.
Weaver’s release of “How the Trucker’s Saved Christmas” was released on November 4, and will be followed November 18 by a video in partnership with TGCO and Bill Weaver to recognize all drivers who end up on the road during the Christmas season.
“When you’re on the road, offer a kind word and shake a stranger’s hand,” Weaver said. “You may help him through a rough day and you just might make a new friend.”
Manchester said TCGO is proud to be working with so many generous drivers and musicians who have agreed to take time from their own busy schedules to spread the word of TGCO’s mission and its fundraising campaign this year.
The musicians will also encourage people to donate and nominate families in need. Among those include Barker himself, who has been vital in obtaining new items for the TCGO store for this year’s fundraising campaign.
“Trucker’s love to see children smile, whether it’s a fist pump and a smile when they hear that air horn, or the simple joy of getting a Christmas present when they know things are tough at home,” Barker said. “Growing up and living in rural Tennessee, hard times are a fact of life for many families. I believe each driver needs to do what they can to make this work environment a better place for our children.”
Other musicians to support this year’s TGCO fundraising campaign and help grow awareness in the industry include The Stone Creek 4 and country music legend Leon Everett, who credits truck drivers with making his concert tours possible through tireless work hours and effort. Everett also commented that it’s important to remember the quality of life most of us enjoy are a result of those efforts and tireless hours by truck drivers every day.
Many of the participating artists will be adding merchandise and memorabilia to the online TGCO store, and more items will be added throughout the holiday season. Confirmed artists may be added or dropped during the season based on availability.
To learn more about TGCO, its mission, this year’s fundraising campaign visit https://truckerschristmasgroup.org/, or Trucker’s Christmas Group on Facebook.