Rhode Island truckers participate in convoy for Special Olympics

May 24, 2022

Ryan Witkowski


Truckers took to highways of Rhode Island on Sunday to help raise money for a great cause, Special Olympics.

The third annual Torch Run Truck Convoy for Special Olympics Rhode Island took place on May 22. Around 45 trucks from over 30 companies participated in the fundraising event. A number of Special Olympics athletes were on hand selling raffle tickets, greeting truckers and cheering them on as the convoy rolled out.

According to the organization’s website, the annual event is a “national one-day celebration
of the trucking industry, its allied partners, and law enforcement all working together to
help raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics and their amazing athletes.”

The event was co-hosted by Special Olympics Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Trucking Association and multiple state enforcement agencies. The convoy began at the International Game Technology headquarters parking lot in West Greenwich, R.I. Led by an escort of 20 police motorcycles, the convoy drove up I-95 to Route 146 through Providence and returned to West Greenwich vie Route 95.

According to Tracy Garabedian, senior director of special events for Special Olympics Rhode Island, the money generated by the convoy benefits the organization’s year-round programs of sports training and athletic competitions, particularly the upcoming Summer Games at the University of Rhode Island. This year marks the return of the Summer Games, which have been cancelled the past two years due to COVID-19.

“The convoy is important to our fundraising efforts because there are still fundraisers we are not doing because of COVID,” Garabedian told Land Line. “We are still not hosting any large scale, indoor events such as our gala. So that leaves some holes in our budget that need to be filled, and this event was a big help with that.”

Garabedian said the revenue generated from this year’s event, around $13,000, is double what they raised with last year’s convoy. That type of success has led to the growth of the event each year.

“We hope to continue to grow each year by maybe adding a classic car show, vendors, and other family-friendly activities,” she said.

Chris Maxwell, president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, said events such as this are an opportunity to put truckers and the industry into the spotlight.

“Today was a perfect day to showcase our industry’s pride and professionalism in support of a great cause,” Maxwell told ABC6.  “I am grateful to all who participated and made this year’s event a success.” LL