This month, I would like to tell you about a group of people I recently became aware of that are doing some wonderful things for those in need. The Pure Country Livestock Association (PCLA) is a 100% non-profit organization that helps various people and children’s charities in and around trucking. Started in 2013, founder Jeremy Jansen saw the need and had the desire to give to others who had been hit by hard times in the trucking industry. Members, sponsors and supporters come largely from within the trucking industry, but anyone outside the industry is welcome, as well.
The first PCLA benefit event was held for Jeremy’s dad, Michael. At the time, he had a stack of medical bills piling up after being diagnosed with amyloidosis – a rare disease that creates abnormal protein deposits in the tissues of the body. It occurs without a known cause, and is very serious, causing organ damage. Michael was diagnosed just before the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2014, and two years later, before the 2016 MATS event, he passed away.
About 25 people showed up for that first benefit event. Jeremy got to see firsthand just how much a small group could really do. Everyone stepped-up and donated big-time. It made a huge difference, and really helped his dad a lot back then. After this, Jeremy started rethinking things and decided to make it more than just a group of friends on Facebook – he wanted it to grow and to be able to help more people.
In the beginning, everyone that joined was in the livestock part of the trucking industry, but since its inception, it’s always been about giving the most possible. The Board members all donate their time and office supplies to run this true non-profit organization. Board members, as well as the other members, go out and collect donations for auctions and raffles. When they have a benefit event, 100% of the money raised goes directly to the charity. Jeremy told me that he was taught to “do big things with what you have.” Even on such a tight budget, the PCLA members always come through and things fall in place.
The founder and President of PCLA is Jeremy Jansen; vice president is Earl Hostetter; the Secretary-Treasurer is Sharon Waters; Public Relations is Ingrid Brown; the Board Member Public Relations person is Robby Peterson; the Southern Supervisors are Brad and Julie Montgomery; the Board Member Video Management person is Chris Thomas; and the rest of the Board Members are Derek Lehew, John Warren and Kerry Robinson. All together, the staff and volunteers represent over 300 years in the trucking industry, and 90% of them are now owner operators.
In 2016, sponsors, supporters and members helped to raise over $100,000 for several trucking families. Also, about $3,000 was raised for Autism Speaks, St. Jude and the Children’s Miracle Network. Finishing off the year in true PCLA style, they divided and conquered by donating gifts, toys and other items to three children’s hospitals – Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital in Hershey, PA; Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, TN; and Unity Point St. Luke’s in Sioux City, IA. The members, supporters and sponsors all helped by delivering the donated gifts to each hospital to celebrate the Holidays.
There is a Child Development Team that meets with the board of the hospital and tells them what they want to do and why. The group focuses on the smaller hospitals, which don’t have the big donors, like many of the larger hospitals. If you know of a hospital that could benefit from this kind of help, please call the PCLA and suggest it. If you are interested in donating or helping with this kind of event, please call, as well. This coming Christmas, there will be events held at the three hospitals previously mentioned, and, hopefully, they will add the Iowa City Children’s Hospital and Sioux Falls Children’s Hospital to the list, as well.
Ingrid Brown was instrumental in getting donations for the children’s hospitals benefits. Fitzgerald Peterbilt in Glade Springs, VA was also a strong supporter of these events, having a raffle at their open house for the dealership, to raise funds. Hogebilt also donated fenders. Ingrid told me about being at Walmart and buying three cart-loads of blankets. While there, two women asked what she was going to do with all those blankets. When she told them what they were for, one lady donated $20 and the other $40. The money went right toward that bill. There were enough blankets that every child in the hospital got one, which they could later take home.
Accounts were set up at Target, Walmart and Toys R Us, and all that was donated went directly to the hospital. Donations included things like tablets for teens, socks, games, sippy cups, pacifiers, onesies, and gift cards for gas (for people who must travel when their child is in a hospital not near their home). Some drivers even donated their Petro/TA points, which were used to get things like the tablets. The need is so great, and if you are the one with a child in that situation, I’m sure that any and all of the help is so much appreciated.
For the Christmas event in Sioux City, Jeremy told me that the drivers and their wives went to Walmart and shopped until they spent the $3,000 they had raised for this event. They even bought a bicycle, which is used to teach safety, since so many kids come in to the hospitals after having a bicycle injury. Then, they convoyed three bobtails to the hospital with all the gifts. Everyone attending got a tour of the NICU and the rooms that are sponsored by the local businesses. Hopefully, one day, PCLA will be able to raise the $10,000 needed to have a room designed with a trucking theme. This is a one-time fee, and the room remains how it is designed for the business that donates it.
There was also a fund-raiser last year at the LargeCar Magazine show for Autism, and one of the ways they raised money at this event was by having people “arrested” and then posting a bond amount required to get that person out. Board Member Derek Lehew and Steve Ford of LargeCar Magazine were both “arrested” and put in “jail” (a cattle trailer). The PCLA Secretary-Treasurer Sharon Waters set the bond, and people donated money to get the “bond” paid to get them out. All the proceeds went
directly to Autism Speaks!
Another way this neat organization raises money is to sell coloring books. The coloring books were illustrated by Steve Carr, a young man who loved drawing trucks, who sadly suffered a fatal heart attack in his early 20s. It’s with his father’s permission that his son’s drawings are in these coloring books, and all the proceeds from the sale of these books goes directly to St. Jude. Sharon’s husband Jeff makes puzzles by hand to sell, and other merchandise includes shirts, hats, sweatshirts, stickers, coozies and license plates.
Last year in May, a benefit event was held for Stephen Betts after he was trampled by some calves while loading alone one night – he sustained serious face and neck fractures. This is one example of how people who receive help give back to others. Later that year, in August, Stephen participated in a benefit for Luke Lodermeier, who was coming home to be with his wife as their third child was born, when he was involved in a fatal accident on Highway 20 near Iowa Falls when he struck a trailer that was on its side after the driver lost control on a curve. Stephen attended Luke’s benefit, helping give back to those who helped him when he needed it. This is what the PCLA people mean when they say, “Welcome to the Brotherhood!”
Some upcoming events for the PCLA include the Keystone Diesel Nationals (at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, PA on July 22), the Western Maryland Truck Show (in Grantsville, MD on August 25-27), and the LCM Southern Classic (at the LeeHi Travel Plaza in Lexington, VA on October 14). To check out this awesome organization, visit www.pclabrotherhood.com or visit their Facebook page (Pure Country Livestock Association). They are also starting to network with St. Christopher’s Fund, and have also begun to work with Truckers Final Mile, an organization that helps to get drivers who pass away while out on the road back home (surprisingly, this is not a very simple process).
If you want to find out more about this organization or its upcoming events, feel free to call Jeremy at 712-229-5462 or Sharon at 610-823-1335 to learn more about becoming a member, sponsoring or donating. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Trucking has always been a “brotherhood” of sorts, and this non-profit group is taking it up another notch – please help them in any way you want or can. We are all in this together, so I urge you to become a part of the PCLA brotherhood!