MATTOON -- Planning has begun for a June 29, 2019, truck convoy at the Coles County Fairgrounds that will serve as a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Illinois.
The Coles County Truck Convoy's organizers, Sid and Joy Eggers of Mattoon, have set a goal of getting at least 100 semitrailer and other large trucks to join the convoy, and they are seeking sponsors and volunteers for this new event.
Joy Eggers said she and her husband, who is a truck driver, recently moved back to Mattoon from Pennsylvania, where they had volunteered with the annual Franklin County Truck Convoy fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. The Make-A-Wish program grants the wishes of children with critical illnesses to help bring hope and joy to them and their families.
"This is my husband's passion," Joy Eggers said of driving in Make-A-Wish convoys.
Eggers said her husband wanted to continue this volunteering when they moved back to Mattoon, but they were surprised to find that there were no annual convoy fundraisers for Make-A-Wish in Illinois. Consequently, Eggers said they contacted the Make-A-Wish Illinois office in Chicago and got permission to organize a Coles County convoy.
Ashley White, gift officer-community programs with Make-A-Wish Illinois, wrote in her introductory letter for the convoy that they hope the commitment made by the Eggers will inspire others to make financial commitments to Make-A-Wish in support of their efforts.
"It is only through the generosity of others that we are able to create magic for special children," White said, adding that the convoy's proceeds will help bring smiles and happiness to the lives of these children.
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Registration for the convoy is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. June 29 at the fairgrounds in Charleston, with a registration fee of $50 per truck for Make-A-Wish Illinois. Eggers said participating drivers will be assigned numbers and given banners.
Eggers said the convoy will leave the fairgrounds at about 10:30 a.m. and travel through Charleston on its way to downtown Mattoon and then back to the fairgrounds, a drive of approximately 25 miles. She estimated that it will take an hour and a half to two hours for all of the trucks to complete this drive. She added that breakfast and lunch concessions will be available for the drivers.
Spectators will be invited to watch the convoy at its travels through Coles County, Eggers said. In addition, she said food vendors, children's activities and raffles will be offered throughout the day at the fairgrounds. Eggers said the event will conclude by 5 p.m. with an awards presentation.
The convoy board is comprised of the Eggers, Joe Trueblood, Cathy Allen, Doug Peterson, Scott Justice, Angela Justice and Gina Lockhart. Eggers said they are seeking sponsors for the convoy and trucks to take part in the drive. She said they are also seeking volunteers to help plan the convoy and to assist with staffing the event.
"We will be there to keep everything flowing," Eggers said.
More information is available by calling Eggers at 217-254-1331, emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting the Coles County Truck Convoy page on Facebook.