– Virginia’s Electric Cooperatives Honor Charlotte County Resident for work with Truckers’ Parade Against Cancer –
CREWE, Va – Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) member Sheila Jones has received the 2015 Good Samaritan Award, a statewide honor bestowed by Virginia’s electric cooperatives, for her exemplary efforts in organizing the Truckers’ Parade Against Cancer (TPAC) fundraising event in Charlotte County.
Jones, who founded the annual event 15 years ago, accepted her award at a Jan. 26th luncheon in Richmond during the quarterly meeting of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC).
Developed to honor those whose actions are selfless and life-changing, the VMDAEC’s Good Samaritan Award recognizes individuals holding the “gold standard” of philanthropic community service. Following the loss of her mother to cancer in 1997, Sheila joined her local American Cancer Society Relay for Life team, taking part in numerous fundraising events. Looking for a way to bring in more dollars to help fight the disease, she and her husband Darrin, an 18-wheel truck driver, developed the idea of holding a major event involving trucks and tractor-trailers. With help from several family members, including Darrin’s uncle at the Virginia Truck Center and Sheila’s father at Dodd’s Farm Supply, the Truckers Parade Against Cancer made its debut in the fall of 2000, raising over $10,000 the first year.
Growing steadily over the past decade-and-a-half, Charlotte County’s TPAC event raised almost $75,000 in 2014 alone, and has inspired similar events in Nelson County and the Town of Galax. New fundraising activities on the day of the parade are introduced each year, while a dedicated fan base of thousands line the streets to cheer on the convoy of trucks as they pass through the towns of Phenix, Charlotte Court House, Keysville and Drakes Branch. Funds are pledged and raised through generous community individuals, as well as partnerships with local companies and organizations. The TPAC Team now ranks among the top Relay for Life teams in Virginia, as well as the entire South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society.
Jeff Edwards, president & CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, honored Jones in the ceremony for her demonstration of ‘Concern for Community’ – one of the seven Cooperative Principles shared by co-ops around the world. “Selflessness is increasingly harder to come by these days, and that is why it’s so vitally important that we identify, encourage and support those community organizations that share our same values,” said Edwards.
Edwards continued, “This recognition is long overdue, and we applaud Shelia Jones and the entire TPAC Team for not simply raising record amounts of money, but for raising an equally vital resource – community awareness. Through your hard work, you give survivors hope, and you honor those we have lost.”
Fellow TPAC organizer Cheryl Vassar added, “Sheila works all year long to make sure this one day is a success. TPAC members meet and discuss new ideas to make the next event that much better than the last. Since its inception, this effort has raised more than a half-million dollars in the fight against cancer.”
“Participation in this event has exploded over the years,” said Susan Jones, fellow TPAC volunteer and reporter for the Southside Messenger. “What started as a small get-together has grown into an all-day event, with 147 trucks this past October.”
In honoring Jones with the Good Samaritan Award, Larry Howdyshell, chairman of the VMDAEC Awards Committee noted, “because of Sheila’s hard work raising money for cancer research, more people than ever are claiming the title ‘survivor.’”
Also in attendance to honor Jones with remarks was Juanita Thompson, Senior Representative for Community Engagement for the South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society.
Established in 2010, nominations for the Good Samaritan Award are solicited from the members of the 13 electric cooperatives that serve Virginia. For more information about the Trucker’s Parade Against Cancer, held every October in Charlotte County, please go to: www.truckersparade.com
Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) is a not-for-profit member-owned energy provider that serves over 54,000 homes, farms and businesses in portions of 18 counties in central and southside Virginia. Headquartered in Crewe, SEC has district offices in Altavista, Crewe, Dinwiddie and Powhatan.
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