The “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 recently returned to the Kenworth Chillicothe (Ohio) plant, where it was built, for a two-day event to raise awareness among public officials and plant employees about the crime of human trafficking and the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) national program to help combat it.
More than 25 dignitaries and guests, including Jamie Barker, Southeast District director for U.S. Senator Rob Portman; Pike County (Ohio) Sheriff Charles Reader; and Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney, attended the event. A representative from the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, state representatives, judges, sheriffs, police officers, and child advocate professionals were also in attendance. The event was covered by the ABC and NBC television affiliates in Columbus, and the local Chillicothe Gazette.
Visitors watched a TAT training video that focused on the stories of two Ohio human trafficking survivors, who have gone on to experience enriching lives and careers. “The two women were saved by people who saw suspicious activity and were courageous enough to pick up the phone and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-3737-888). It really goes to show how one call can save someone’s life,” said Rod Spencer, Kenworth Chillicothe plant manager.
Human trafficking is a $32 billion industry in the United States alone, and the national hotline receives calls from all 50 states, according to Helen Van Dam, TAT’s director of the Freedom Drivers Project, a mobile display featuring artifacts and video from human trafficking survivors. The guests toured the Freedom Drivers Project and received a close up look at the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680. A plant tour also was available.
“I don’t think many people knew how big of a problem human trafficking is in the United States,” said Spencer. “Even though we aren’t driving trucks, we still use the roads. The more people that have an understanding on how to identify suspicious activity that could involve human trafficking, and how to report it, the better. Our employees are proud of the Kenworth T680 that they built here, and how this special truck is raising awareness and money for the TAT program.”
The second day of the TAT event was exclusively for Kenworth Chillicothe employees, and saw 140 employees tour the Drivers Freedom Project trailer, watch an informational video, and learn about the efforts of Truckers Against Trafficking.
“This event at Kenworth Chillicothe expanded the already strong connection we have with TAT,” said Spencer. “We all now have a better understanding about the program and why fighting human trafficking is so important. It’s very rewarding to know that the proceeds from the Kenworth T680 auction will help support TAT’s hard work in fighting for such a worthy cause.”
The Kenworth T680 Everyday Heroes truck is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, and features the PACCAR Powertrain with a PACCAR MX-13 485-hp engine, PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR tandem rear axles. The truck will be auctioned on May 17 at Ritchie Bros. in Phoenix. Proceeds from the sale of the T680, which has a retail value of $162,000, will go directly to TAT, a 501(c)3 non-profit devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.
Don Blake, new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth – Phoenix, is spearheading the industry fundraising effort for the special truck in conjunction with Truckers Against Trafficking.
Providing industry support for the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 are:
Platinum Level: Kenworth Truck Company, Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Bros; Gold Level: PACCAR Engine, SEG Automotive, and Swift Charities; Silver Level: Bendix, Bridgestone, Eaton, FlowBelow, Horton, Jost, Meritor, PACCAR Financial, PACCAR Parts, Trimble, Utility Trailer Sales of Arizona, and WABCO; and Bronze Level: Alcoa, Arizona Rock Product Association, Arizona Trucking Association, Beaver Stripes and Molding, Chevron, ConMet, Davco, East Penn, Ex-Guard®, National Seats, PrePass / Help Inc, Sheppard, and Tectran.
The Kenworth T680 will be exhibited at the TMC Annual Meeting in Atlanta (March 18-21) and the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville (March 28-30) before it is auctioned.
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Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth's Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.
NOTE: To view a televised report – Group working to educate truck drivers about how to spot human trafficking – by ABC affiliate Channel 6 in Columbus, Ohio, of the Truckers Against Trafficking event at the Kenworth Chillicothe plant, visit the following link (https://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/educating-chillicothe-truck-drivers-about-how-to-spot-human-trafficking).