'The Truck'– Part 2
by Bob Rule, KPIN Radio - 101.1 FM
September 19, 2005
The story started out after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and former Pinedale resident Bill Johnson, vice president of a trucking company in Kemmerer, announced he would drive a semi-truck through much of Western Wyoming, picking up food, bottled water, clothing, bedding, and other needed supplies. Well, when he made it up through the Star Valley, through Jackson, and then arrived in Pinedale, his truck was full! He had to round up “Truck #2” to pick up most of the Pinedale load (some of it is still sitting at the Pinedale Food Basket), and “Truck #3” had to do the pickup in Riverton.
Johnson was joined by two of Diemer True’s trucks, which had picked up supplies in Casper, and the five trucks met in Cheyenne.
So … off they drove to the Gulf area.
Well, there was just one problem they hadn’t counted on: Even though they had made advance arrangements at a destination location to unload the supplies, and made sure that the supplies were really needed and wanted, when they arrived, it turned out that lots of other communities across the United States had the same idea, and there was no place to unload the truck. Everywhere Johnson drove, he was told that they had way too much materials to deal with, and the local folks couldn’t take any more supplies.
For a moment, it looked like Johnson might be returning to Wyoming with a full load. But, he continued to search for a location needing his cargo.
Ronnie Harrington, who has been working in the Jonah Field just south of Pinedale, had returned home to Laurel, Mississippi, to check on his family and his home. His family was fine, but his home and all of his possessions were completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Harrington told Bob Rule at Radio Station KPIN in Pinedale that the damage was beyond comprehension… total and complete destruction of everything he once owned. Then, Harrington began to choke up as he told Rule the rest of the story:
With people all around him in need of the most basic of supplies, here comes a large semi-truck with a banner, saying it contained relief supplies from “SUBLETTE COUNTY, WYOMING”! Harrington said, “I was probably the only person in Laurel, Mississippi who had any idea at all as to where Sublette County, Wyoming was!” He said the truck was a welcome site to everyone in his Mississippi community, and it certainly came to a location where the supplies were needed.
Rule asked Harrington, “Of everything in the truck, what was appreciated the most?” His answer was quick and to the point: “The water!” Harrington said that drinking water was in short supply, and the bottled water on the truck was the single most welcomed item that was sent.
Supply items for the hurricane victims are still piled up at the Pinedale Food Basket, but at this point in time, KPIN Radio is unaware of any firm plans for their delivery.
BTI Trucking helps local Katrina efforts (9/4/05)
Wyoming helps Katrina victims (9/7/05)
Update on 'The Truck' (9/8/05)