The 17th Annual
Northeast Professional Truck
A professional truck driving skills competition to benefit the Kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Welcome to the 17th annual Northeast Professional Truck Drivers' Charity Challenge!
2015 Charity Challenge
September 13, 2015
The 17th annual Charity Challenge was a huge success! 93 drivers and families converged on Sherman Square at Devens, Massachusetts last Sunday. The course featured 11 problems for the 8 classes of trucks and a separate course of 6 problems for step van. Last year’s event exceeded all our expectations with a net contribution to St Jude of $32,200, the largest ever for this group.
The 2015 Charity Challenge went above and beyond that. Our final figures are 93 competing drivers,7 drivers contributing but not driving and 48 companies involved by contributing money, equipment and/or merchandise. The gross receipts for the event are $47,141. That means after all expenses are paid the Charity Challenge will send just over $35,000 to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. An amazing accomplishment by EVERYONE involved. That brings the gross receipts for this event since 1997 to $574,740 with a net contribution to St Jude of $360,400 after expenses.
Kenny Meyer (YRC, NY), John Hoffman (Sysco Boston, MA), Lowell Crouse (Yellow Freight – ret, MA), JB Brown (Dominos, CT), Kip Lyman (Air Products-ret, NY), Ozzie Bartlett (Bozzutos, CT) raised just over $17,000 of the $27,000 raised by the drivers. Unbelievable!! Kenny and Terry Meyer were the high fundraisers at $4,100.
The Team Trophy was won by FedEx and they will hold the trophy for the next year. The Grand Champion for 2015 was Mark McLean of FedEx, NY. No small feat in this group!
See the Special Award Sheet for all the class winners and special trophy winners.
Under a threat of rain all weekend an army of volunteers showed up on Saturday to prepare the site. Bob Darling, Jim Hosey, Tim Carlin, Doug Francey, Ed Bacon, Brian Singelais, George Orchard, Rich Desmarais, Dave Steele, Billy Darling, Jim Dolliver, Don Herzog. Getting things set up under the tent, Denis Litalien, Debbie Litalien, Rob Fernald, Bob & Scott Lyman, Laurie Desmarais, Tara Orchard and the Milyaros, Mike Esther and David making the trips for the food.
Jim Dolliver our longtime announcer was part of the Leatherneck Honors Society that included Ray Moreno and George Barr that again brought in the colors to start the day. The National Anthem was sung beautifully by Amelia Lewis and Charlie Fleurant gave the invocation. Jim was assisted in the announcers booth by Britany Singelais and Roland Bolduc. Doug Francey’s many hours on the phone paid off with all the equipment needed for the weekend. Bob Darling and Jim Hosey worked out the course months ago to be able to fit all the different size trucks into one competition course. Ed Bacon spent hours over the last couple of weeks trimming the tall weeds on the course since there is very little traffic through the lots during the year. The registration and raffle area were staffed by all the regulars: Debbie Litalien, Mikey and Linda Rafeal, Tara Orchard, Laurie Desmarais, Ginny DeVault. Warren Lewis put together the written test and he and Claudette Lewis administered and corrected the test.
The NY group again handled all the food. Bob and Scott Lyman were on site Sunday before 5am getting the coffee ready and preparing for breakfast. Pete and Cynthia Mesick, Nancy Harris and Jamie Meier worked the food tables. I did see Betty MacIver helping out with her broken leg!
Brian Singelais was in charge of the judges and did a job that requires a lot of running around. Karen Tierney handled the driver staging area and I know Kathy Van Tassell was there to help too. The flow of equipment was steady and consistent thanks to Doug Francey, Rich Sweeney and Bubba Ross. Wally Crean kept the flow going at the start line.
Getting the right judges to their stations in the morning is organized chaos. 20 plus drivers and volunteers have to be ready when the first truck starts to roll. This success of this event is directly related to the drivers helping to judge the problems, move equipment, help with the Non CDL course, food, raffle and on and on and on.
The kids were busy all day with face painting, t-shirt decorating, Fran Flynn the Magician and Mick Cusimano the caricature artist. Candy Darling could not make it this year because of surgery on the 9th but her three daughters stepped in in took care of business. Thank you to Nina, Beverly and Mary Darling and Devon. The bike competition and bike raffle is always a hit. Thanks to the Orchards and the Desmarais. Randy DeVault again brought the MMTA mobile office down from Augusta, ME. What a pleasure to have this unit for the office. Debbie Schenk and Sandy and Don Herzog counted and verified all the driver contributions, and believe me this takes many hours! After that is done Jenn Hamilton (St Jude) re-verifies the total and when Don and Jenn agree then it’s in the books.
Denis Litalien works many hours with Roger Bastarache at R&W Engraving to ensure that all the trophies and plaques are correct in companies and spelling. A major project made to look seamless when I know it is anything but. Roger and Denis worked on the new gold belt buckle for the class winners this year. It looks great!
Nicholas Schenk spends many hours during the spring and summer getting the web site ready and the on-line registration up to speed. When we have a good handle on the companies involved, he starts on the Program Book. We wait until the last minute to get as many drivers as possible in the book before sending off to the printer on Tuesday before the event. On the day of the event Nick has all of the driver info sheets printed for the announcer and the running order ready for the equipment, driver staging and announcer. Entering in scores for 11 problems for 93 drivers takes time, as does the fundraising totals for each. Everything is ready for the Award Ceremony about 45 minutes after the last driver finishes.
Many thanks to our vendor companies for their professionalism and attention to detail: Trophies – R&W Engraving, Biddeford ME, Big Top Party Rentals, Tewksbury MA, Bob Cooper and crew, you’re the best, Ratta Corp for the portable bathrooms, Thanks John for the set up again. Deland Gibson Insurance in Wellesley MA – thanks to my longtime friend Paul Attridge and to Kathy Redmond for working to have Hanover underwrite our policy. Mike Jenoski at DMI Printing / Goodway Group is the printer for the Program Book. Always on time, always looks good and Mike and the staff are a pleasure to work with. Fran Flynn Magician Extraordinaire – you have been here from the beginning and we hope many more events to come. Thanks to Mick Cusimano or caricature artist from Somerville MA. Golf cart rented from and delivered by New England Golf Cars, Methuen MA. All of the drivers that arrive on Saturday night enjoy the diner and hospitality by Elaine Gailey at the Devens Grill. Elaine and staff also set up the breakfast buffet under the food tent. All the food for the event was donated by Market Basket, Shaws/Star Market, Walmart Distribution, ME and Fantini Bakery.
Our St Jude contacts are the best! Jenn Hamilton is our event representative and Nicole Bonica handles the contacts and billing. They both do the background work that no one sees, but without it the Charity Challenge doesn’t happen.
Thank you to our three new companies this year: John Baer is the new Operations Manager at TransCorr and he brought them on board as well as eight drivers and use of equipment. Dan Lacroix brought in Regency Transportation, sponsored his drivers and brought equipment. Welcome to Kathy Nekitopoulos and A-C Motor Express of Springfield, MA.
When everyone does a small piece, the pieces add up to a great event. The Charity Challenge has been successful all these years because of YOU. The support we have had since 1997 is incredible from the drivers, volunteers and companies. It is our social time once a year to catch up with friends and acquaintances and to make new ones. The CC is a “word of mouth” event. Please pass this email along to anyone that you think may want to get involved. All this and raise a bunch of money for St Jude. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Special thanks to Dave Steele, Wayne Thornhill and George Orchard for the generosity of FedEx, Cumberland Farms and Walmart. And thanks Steve Powers for helping again on Sunday and for everything else. I hope I didn’t miss anyone. It was not intentional.
Fred Schenk, Bob Darling and the Charity Challenge Committee
The annual Northeast Professional Truck Drivers Charity Challenge is sponsored by the following organizations from across the Northeast region of the country. Their efforts continue to make this a successful event each year.
Massachusetts Professional Truck Drivers Association
Maine Professional Drivers Association
Champions Council of New York
Connecticut Professional Drivers Association
New Hampshire Professional Drivers Association
Northeast Professional Truck Drivers Charity Challenge
167 D Street, Lowell MA 01851-4345