VOL 5, 2016 ISSUE

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Holland Headlines

Holland Celebrates the Season with Community Service All Year

Holland Helps Brighten Holidays for Children in Need


L/R: Retired Holland Professional Driver Mike
Koeller (St. Louis) and Holland Linehaul Professional
Driver, 2-million-miler, Roy Gillespie (St. Louis)

On December 2-3, 2016 Team Holland came together with family and friends and the people of St. Louis to help deliver some much-needed holiday cheer to local children in need.

Over the course of two long days, more than 100,000 donated toys and new clothes worth more than $760,000 were unloaded, organized and distributed to local police and fire departments as well as organizations like the Urban League, Better Family Life, Moms on a Mission--in total some 40 different organizations. These first responders will distribute the gifts to those in their local communities to help build stronger bonds between first responders and the communities they serve.

The toy drive was spearheaded by Holland 2-million-miler, Roy Gillespie, and retired Holland professional driver Mike Koeller (a Minister at the Leap of Faith Church in Maryland Heights). Though the distribution event took a full two days, the duo actually started working on this drive last December!

Over the course of the year, Roy and Mike secured donations, coordinated with first responders, and enlisted the support of a variety of other organizations to make the drive a reality.

In the end, major manufacturers from around the country (such as Disney, Hasbro, Mattel, Toys ‘R Us) donated enough toys to fill more than ELEVEN 53-foot Holland tractor trailers! Holland professional drivers from across our service footprint then volunteered their free time to ship the toys to St. Louis. Holland provided free shipping, handling and storage of the donations.

“This is a needed effort,” said Lawrence Wooten, St. Louis County Police Commissioner and Bishop in the Church of God in Christ. “People are hurting. So many lives are at stake. Parents are crying because they don’t have anything to give their kids. This effort is all about loving and caring. It’s a miracle unfolding right before our eyes.”

Whether it’s helping relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, flooding in Louisiana, tornado-devastated Joplin, MO many thousands of families and their children are the beneficiary of Roy and Mike’s talents. “Trucking--that's logistics, moving stuff, warehousing, picking things up and moving them in another direction. It’s essential in any effort to get supplies to the people who need them,” said Roy Gillespie. “We just want smiles on kids’ faces at Christmas.”

Roy is known as a master organizer. He is the Human Rights Commissioner for the Teamsters International Union and Joint Council 13. He is “loaned” by Joint Council 13 to the American Red Cross and others like the U.S. Army as a Teamster logistics expert responding to crises to help with essential logistical needs.

This project is a continuation of our #HollandPride initiative--an effort to give back to the communities we call home.

Many thanks to Roy, Mike and all those who came together to make this toy drive a success. We wish you all a very Happy Holidays from Holland! Discover more.

Convoy For A Special Cause


L/R: Holland professional drivers Eddie Opitz, Sean Abernethy, Gary Sonenberg,
Richard Pazdzioch, Mike Husby, Tim Spillman, and Raymond Craig

Seeing a string of over 80 semi-trucks stretched out single file down an Illinois interstate accompanied by law enforcement officers would have many professional drivers scratching their heads and wondering what was happening. The trucks weren’t there for security to escort a famous individual or protect an exorbitantly luxurious shipment.

Those 86 trucks were there as part of the Illinois section of the annual World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics.

The event, held in states across the country, is a unique partnership between law enforcement and truckers to raise funds for and awareness of Special Olympics. A total of three convoys were participated in Illinois this year. The first contingent included seven Holland tractor trailers operated by Holland professional drivers who donated their time to the cause.

“This was our second year to participate in the local convoy,” said Zoran Nikolic, Holland’s Area 3 Safety Manager. “Our professional drivers were proud to participate, support Special Olympics and show off the Holland name. We thank the professional drivers for the donation of their time, and Holland for its tractors and trailers as well as its Gold Sponsorship donation of $2,500 which made it possible to include seven of our trucks in the convoy.” Read more.

Holland Helps Penrickton Center for Blind Children

Jack Johnson, son of Brent Johnson, the Assistant Terminal Manager at the Holland Detroit Terminal, was a student at the Penrickton Center for Blind Children, located near the terminal. Brent says he doesn’t know how his family would have made it without Penrickton.

Each year, Penrickton holds the Ride for a Reason, a motorcycle ride that has raised over $1 million since it began sixteen years ago. Brent and some friends did some fundraising to purchase two pallets of bottled water for the event, then got approval to have the bottled water delivered free via Holland to thirsty participants on the actual day of the event.

“It’s all because of people like the Holland volunteers that we are able operate our center,” says Patty Oberzut, the Center’s Assistant Director. “Everything for the event was donated or done by volunteers, so every dollar goes to support the Center. We’re so grateful to Holland and all our sponsors and donors.”

Parents don’t pay a dime for the services provided to the children enrolled there, who are both blind and multi-disabled. The $70,000 raised this year pushed the 16-year event total to over $1 million raised. That’s a big boost for the center, which is entirely funded by donations. It has operated for 64 years with no State, Federal or United Way funds.


L/R: Jack Johnson’s daughter, Jack’s son Brent
with Jack, Assistant Terminal Manager, Holland
Detroit Terminal

The ride typically attracts over 2,000 riders--including several long-time Holland participants. Rain reduced the bikes to about 1,000 this year but it was still an impressive sight.

Penrickton students and their families gathered on the lawn of the center to wave and cheer as the unbroken chain of motorcycles and their police escort thundered past.

“Without Penrickton, it would have cost me thousands of dollars every month to care for Jack,” Brent says. “If it weren’t for them, I don’t know how we would have done it. We all help where we can and this was a natural cause for me to support. I know lots of other Holland employees have causes that are special to them, and they do what they can to help in their own ways. We can each change lives through our involvement.”

Holland, Proud Participant in the Atlanta Convoy of Care

Holland was proud to participate in the #ConvoyOfCare with the Georgia Motor Trucking Association, WSB-TV Channel 2 News, and law enforcement from all across Georgia for a very special cause--helping the flood ravaged victims in Baton Rouge communities. Donations were collected at the Atlanta Civic Center. Items were donated by the people of Atlanta, GA and surrounding communities.

"I'm overwhelmed today with the outcome of what we've done," said Clarence Cox with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Cox got the idea of the Convoy of Care started by making a few phone calls. "I had no idea it would turn out like this and I certainly knew our citizens would show up, but I had no idea they would show up like they did," he said.


Holland professional driver, Herschel Evans, brings
donations to Baton Rouge, LA with a police escort

“It started with a conference call from one of our Baton Rouge members of NOBLE,” said Cox. “We were told that the situation in Baton Rouge felt worse than Hurricane Katrina. It was obvious to me that we needed to put a plan in action to serve some of the very communities we are sworn to protect. We also have several members who are affected by the devastating floods including Baton Rouge Constable Reggie Brown. Because of the partnerships and affiliation of Terry Norris of the GA Sheriffs’ Assoc. and Frank Rotondo of the GA Assoc. of Chiefs of Police, I thought that now would be a great time to demonstrate to the members of our communities how law enforcement really intends to bridge the gap that people perceive exists between law enforcement and the community.”


The unloading crew at Live Oak United Methodist Church, in surrounding
Baton Rouge, LA area

Holland professional driver, Road Team Captain and safety champion from Atlanta, GA-- Herschel Evans--drove the Holland truck/trailer in the Convoy of Care filled with critical supplies for the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Holland was the lead truck in the convoy. Each truck was loaded with approx. 20 TONS of flood relief supplies. Thousands of items. That's a total of over 100 TONS of supplies.

"It's a great thing to help others, and it's really the highest calling we have as human beings," said Dunwoody police chief Bill Grogan.

A Flood of Goodwill for Baton Rouge


Holland Linehaul Professional Drivers Gene Bills and Eddie Baker,
Memphis, TN

Southeastern Louisiana received 31 inches of rain in just 24 hours this past summer. Four trillion gallons of rainfall caused flooding that destroyed roughly 40,000 homes and just as many businesses. But some light has managed to break through the storm clouds.

Holland professional drivers Gene Bills and Eddie Baker (Memphis, TN) delivered a 53-foot trailer brimming with donations to the residents of Baton Rouge. This was the fifth Baton Rouge donations delivery. All donations came from the people and businesses of St. Louis, Holland customers and local Teamster groups.

Our involvement in this project was led by Holland 2-million-miler and Teamsters Joint Council 13 Human Rights and Diversity Commissioner, Roy Gillespie. Giving is Roy's second full-time job, and his involvement with this relief effort was merely the latest in a long line of charitable works.

“I wish there was no hunger, no disease, no one suffering in the world,” said Roy. “But that just isn't the case. There are people out there who need help and I'm happy to give it. Together, 'We are Holland' and helping people is part of what we do.”

Roy transported the donations from his home terminal of St. Louis to Memphis. From there, Gene and Eddie made the 385-mile trip out of Holland's footprint to Baton Rouge. With one of our new Trucking Moves America trailers in tow, the duo arrived in Baton Rouge early Saturday morning to make the delivery.

“When thinking about Mr. Baker and Mr. Bills the first thing that comes to mind is 'I am Holland',” said Jeremy Wilson, Holland Memphis Terminal Manager.

“To me, they embody that statement. They are all about servicing the customer effectively and efficiently. They are respected by their peers and lead by example.”

“Mr. Baker twice this year has had the opportunity to get a new tractor and chose to give someone else the opportunity.”

Like Roy, Gene Bills is a Teamster and dedicated philanthropist. Every year for the past six years, Gene has traveled with his church to Juarez, Mexico, where they build houses for families in need.

He also works with a group called Bible Study on the Move which has created a nationwide emergency support network for professional truck drivers and their families.

“When I go down to Juarez, I ask myself, 'why was I blessed to be born there and not here,'” said Gene. “The Lord's been good to me. Holland's been good to me, and I can use those blessings for greed or I can use them to help others. To me, it's simply the right thing to do.”

Eddie Baker and Gene have worked together on several projects at the Holland Memphis terminal.

One of their annual projects is the Holland Family Reunion, in which they bring together active and retired Holland professional drivers for a huge potluck dinner at their local church.

Eddie Baker, Gene Bills and Roy Gillespie represent Holland, and humanity, with kindness, humility and compassion. We are incredibly proud of and thankful for their services both on the road and off.

We would also like to thank Holland city professional driver Todd Holt (St. Louis), who drove the trailer to the collection site and helped transfer the donations to a larger trailer when more arrived than expected.

Special thanks are also in order for KMOX radio station in St. Louis, for publicizing the donation drive, and Lowe's of Maplewood, Missouri for hosting it.

All of the St. Louis donations were delivered to the Local 198 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Hall in Baton Rouge.

The Local distributed the goods to the community, and set up temporary housing for affected residents. The Local has been tireless in their efforts to help members and non-members alike in Baton Rouge, and they deserve a very special thanks for their work.

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