Alabama Special Olympics convoy raises over $15,000

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A McPherson Oil Products truck rolls through as part of the Alabama convoy for Special Olympics.A McPherson Oil Products truck rolls through as part of the Alabama convoy for Special Olympics.

The Alabama leg of the Special Olympics convoy raised over $15,000 this past Saturday, Sept. 29. Fifty trucks participated in the convoy, which ran from Birmingham to Gadsden along I-459 and I-59.

Debbie Sumrall, the state director of the Alabama Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (ALETR) is with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. She said organizers were hoping to get at least 25 trucks and they were able to surpass that goal.

ALETR is a non-profit organization composed of law enforcement officers raising money and awareness for Special Olympics.

Left to right: McPherson driver Mark Ellsworth, driver/dispatcher Charles Tipton, warehouse manager Allan Naylor, and driver/customer service representative Michael McPherson celebrate the companies involvement in the Alabama convoy for Special Olympics.Left to right: McPherson driver Mark Ellsworth, driver/dispatcher Charles Tipton, warehouse manager Allan Naylor, and driver/customer service representative Michael McPherson celebrate the companies involvement in the Alabama convoy for Special Olympics.

“You keep our country going. You guys giving up your Saturday morning today to Alabama athletes, what you’ve given them is the ability to participate in inclusive sports,” Sumrall said of the participating truckers. “It’s not just in this state. The money we raise helps fund their international participation. We have athletes that are going to Abu Dhabi in 2019 for the world games, so the money we’re raising today will help support an athlete to participate on the international level.

The Special Olympics convoy, known as the World’s Largest Truck Convoy, takes place in several states this time each year. This was Alabama’s first time hosting a convoy for Special Olympics, and Sumrall said they are planning to make it an annual event.

“This is a great partnership between the trucking industry and law enforcement to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Alabama. This is our first year and we could not be happier with how it’s turned out,” Sumrall said.

Drivers who participated in the convoy were treated to a complimentary lunch. Door prizes and awards were given out.

Charles Tipton, a driver, and dispatcher for McPherson Oil Products, was one of the drivers at the event. Tipton said he appreciates that his company is involved in supporting events like the Special Olympics.

“It’s been great. It’s a great cause,” Tipton said.