Published April 30, 2013

Shelia Shares....
"The Convoy"

Each Mother's Day afternoon is the annual truck convoy in Lancaster County. I've heard about it for years, but since we normally had a lunch commitment, we'd never been able to check it out. One year, with a free afternoon, we decided to find out what the big deal was.

We parked on a bridge overlooking Route 222 and carefully slid down the embankment to a better vantage point under the bridge. We weren't alone on the major highway. People sat in their cars, on lawn chairs along the road or on tailgates of trucks (which some kind gentleman offered for our use).

All types of people came to view the convoy. It was interesting to see the Amish families there with their picnic baskets and coolers making it a real family affair. What an excitement in the air!

The convoy is sponsored by Make A Wish Foundation which grants wishes to children who are terminally ill. Truckers pay a registration fee to participate in the "Make A Wish" truck convoy from Lancaster to Ephrata and back (about 15 miles each way). Trucks participating are required to be spotless. Even with the fee and requirements, there are many more trucks than there are Make A Wish children.

We waited patiently. First in the procession was a police car with its siren going.

Then came the trucks — hundreds of trucks. Horns blew — and blew — and blew. I was surprised that truckers would continue to honk their horns so annoyingly — until I realized that many of the trucks' horns were actually being honked by the Make A Wish children. Some children were far more interested in honking the horns than they were in waving to all the watchers.

Some children looked happy and healthy. Perhaps their treatments were progressing well. Others were bald probably as a result of the chemotherapy. Some looked weak — some too weak to wave.

One of the saddest sights was the trucks with a sign on the front, "In memory of ...." Those were the trucks where last year's child didn't make it this year. Often in those trucks was an adult who could have been a grieving parent. It would take a pretty hard person not to tear up at the sight.

I didn't start counting with the first truck, but even so I counted over 350 trucks. The convoy ended with ambulances and emergency vehicles, all with sirens and horns blaring. It was an unforgettable sight and one that reminded me of all our many blessings.

If you are in Lancaster County (PA) over Mother's Day be sure to take in the big Make A Wish Truck Convoy. It is a sight you won't soon forget. Your heart will be touched.

- Shelia

PS:  Here's the official site with more info about the convoy.  Here's a video from last year.  And a longer roadside view here.

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