For the second year, Randall-Reilly’s Digital Services and Recruiting Media departments have joined forces with Trucking Santas to help others. In fact, “to help others” is the pure and simple mission statement of Trucking Santas, a community project by members of the trucking industry to share kindness and support with those less fortunate. Dozens of families and patients have been adopted for Christmas under the strong, organizing eye of Heather Pontruff, a true trucking advocate.
Heather partnered our offices with Becca and Mack Allison, a wonderful couple who are veterans of both the military and the trucking life. Both of them are on the road in their own trucks, and they still found the time to spearhead a cookie party for Three Hots and A Cot, a veterans’ shelter in Birmingham, AL. The Allisons baked dozens of cookies in six or seven different varieties for a sweet feast to spread. A few of us from Randall-Reilly trickled in with more cookies and cider to share, all of it serving as sugary offerings of gratitude to these vets who have already sacrificed so much for us.
I separated from the party to deliver bedding and towels to the office about 10 miles away. It turns out that Director J.D. Simpson’s office is actually his personal home sandwiched between a couple of neighboring houses that are also serving as veterans’ homes for the organization. J.D. invited my brother and me into his dining room for an introductory chat. He’s an imposing figure, but he’s a man who wears his heart on his sleeve with one of the kindest faces you’ll ever see. He shared stories of how he started Three Hots and A Cot, of some of the impressive characters he calls friends, and tried to slide in that he himself used to be a truck driver. But he talked, and the more he talked about his desire to help every veteran, his purpose to assist them in any way he can, the heavier the tears on my eyelids grew. Rarely are you handed the opportunity to meet someone so genuine and passionate about what they do, but when you are, hold tight to it.
We talked about upcoming plans to stay in touch and continue our involvement to help the shelter, but selfishly, I can’t wait to absorb more of J.D. and his family’s love and enthusiasm. As it usually happens any time you find yourself trying to bless someone, you find that they are blessing you more, and, in good old Southern fashion, it is a blessing of your heart.