Stevens’ Professional Van Operator James VanHaaren III will participate in the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics on Saturday, Sept. 18 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
VanHaaren, who lives in Essexville, Mich., and will be representing Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, will join hundreds of other truck drivers from throughout Michigan in a huge fundraiser and awareness campaign about Special Olympics. The Michigan convoy is among 13 in 12 states and two in Canada that will take place on Saturday. Three convoys – two in the U.S. and one in Canada – already have occurred this year. Seven more convoys are scheduled in the coming weeks.
Last year, events across the country raised $606,000 for Special Olympics for sports training and competitions for children and adults who have intellectual disabilities.
The Michigan convoy begins at the Spartan Stores headquarters, near Grand Rapids, Mich., and includes moving vans, semi-trucks, fire trucks, dump trucks, flat-bed trucks, box trucks and tow trucks.
The World’s Largest Truck Convoy started in 2001 as the result of an idea Cpl. Norm Schnierderhan of the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff’s Department. Mr. Schneiderhan had participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run which benefits Special Olympics.
The history of Special Olympics goes back to June 1962 when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a summer day camp for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The camp had its roots in backyard of Ms. Shriver’s Maryland home. Six years later, the first international Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago. The first winter international winter games were held in Colorado in 1977.
When Ms. Shriver passed away in August 2009, nearly 3 million athletes in more than 180 countries around the world were involved in Special Olympics.