Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine will join representatives from trucking and Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) for a 10 a.m. press conference Tuesday on the National Mall to highlight National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and to debut a one-of-a-kind Kenworth truck.

The specially-built “Everyday Heroes” truck, a 2019 Kenworth T680 valued at $162,000, will be auctioned off at Ritchie Bros. Auction in Phoenix later this year to help raise awareness and fund efforts against human trafficking.

All proceeds will go directly to TAT, an organization that has been working with the trucking industry for a decade to raise up a mobile army of transportation professionals to aid law enforcement in the battle against human trafficking.

To date, more than 680,000 trucking professionals have been trained with TAT’s industry-specific training materials. These men and women have made several thousand calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, resulting in more than 1,100 victims of human trafficking being identified and 612 likely cases generated.

Don Blake, new truck sales manager at Inland-Kenworth-Phoenix, leads the “Everyday Heroes” truck effort and will be keynote speaker at the conference.

“This started out as an idea in 2017 that got rolling, and the first truck we built and auctioned was a great success,” Blake said. “Now, the sponsors we’ve worked with again are so supportive. It shows our industry’s true colors to pull together to raise money for a great cause. I’m especially appreciative to Kenworth. When I reached out to see if they would be a sponsor again, they were more than happy to help.”

Also scheduled to speak at the press conference are UPS Driver and TAT Ambassador John McKown and TAT Executive Director Kendis Paris, who is also a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking. TAT’s unique, 48-foot, mobile exhibit, the Freedom Drivers Project, will be on hand and available for tours.

The 2017 “Everyday Heroes” truck was purchased at auction by J&L Transportation for $140,000, and TAT received an $83,000 donation, at that time the largest one-time gift in the organization’s history. Additionally, it received $111,000 in in-kind donations.

The 2019 Kenworth T680 is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp PACCAR MX-13 engine, and PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission.

Following the press conference, the truck will be displayed at the 2019 annual meeting of the Technology and Maintenance Council in Atlanta (March 18-21), the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., (March 28-30) and at Ritchie Bros. for the May 17 auction.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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