Truckers from Ohio County, KY Hit the Road for Autism Awareness
Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, I was broadcasting live at Marvin's Fireworks in Rockport, Indiana. I noticed a huge truck in the parking lot. It caught my eye for two reasons. #1- It looked brand spanking new. As it turns out, it was. #2- It was clear the owner of the truck had a mission and a story to tell. As it turns out, he does.
I was standing next to the cash register when the Mike and Haylea Vanderver rolled their cart up to it to pay for their fireworks. Their son pointed at me and asked me my name. I said, "My name is Chad." He then gave me a big, unexpected hug. Two of them, actually. I asked him his name and, after some prompting from his mom, he said, "Isaiah." That name sounded instantly familiar. Oh, yeah! That was the name on the truck outside.
Haylea explained to me that Isaiah has autism and Mike started telling me about his brand new truck and how the two were related. We walked outside so I could really take a look at the truck and the Vandervers could share their story with me.
And what a story it is. Isaiah was diagnosed with autism when he was 2-and-1/2-years-old. According to the Vandervers, there just aren't a lot of resources in Ohio County for children with autism, so Haylea left her job at Home Depot to stay at home and care for Isaiah. Mike worked at Home Depot as well, but eventually left to begin his own trucking company. And, now, that trucking company is more than just a business. It's a mission.
Mike just got back from Phoenix, Arizona, where he collected his brand new truck, the one I saw proudly parked at Marvin's over the weekend. That Vanderver Transport Services truck is a tribute to Isaiah and a shining symbol of autism awareness.
By the way, both Mike and Haylea are truckers and they plan on using their truck to spread their mission as they drive across the country. Mike pulls for Arizona-based Swift and is going to donate 1 cent for every mile he drives in the new truck to National Autism Awareness.
As you can see, the message of the truck is simple and clear- Love. Hope. Accept.
There's no doubt that this truck is going to get a lot of attention every time it hits the road. It's definitely going to bring attention to Isaiah and all the kids who are just like him. And, after all, that's precisely the goal- to spread love, hope and awareness. And the Vanderver family is committed to doing just that.
Here's the entire family. That's Abigail with Mike. She woke up just in time for the family photo.
Speaking of that family, there's about to be another member of the clan. Mike and Haylea and expecting their third child.