2008 Make-A-Wish Convoy

         Horns started blowing a little after 1pm on Sunday, May 11, blasting across the parking lot at Burle Business Park. By 1:20 or so, it was a cacophony that continued with such tireless joy, you knew there were children - or at least some very enthusiastic and kid-friendly truck drivers - at the trigger.

         The 19th annual Mother's Day truck convoy, which raises funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, was held in conjunction with a festival at Burle Business Park on New Holland Avenue, which was the start and end point for the convoy.

         "People really came out to support us," event organizer Randy Etzweiler said. "It was just an awesome day."

         Hundreds of trucks in all shapes, sizes, and colors - from flatbeds to firetrucks, dump trucks, and carriers - lined up in rows on the lot, each with a blue-on-white Make-A-Wish banner under the grill.  Etzweiler said there were 381 trucks in the convoy this year, down from 2007 - when diesel fuel prices were cheaper. 

         Even with a slight reduction in participation, Etzweiler said, "early indications are we're going to be right around the $300,000 mark." That was the goal for the fundraiser, which brings the total raised over the 19-year life of the event to more than $3 million, he said. This summer, he added, the local Make-A-Wish chapter expects to grant the 1,000th wish.

         When the order came to move out at 1:30pm, the convoy began with military precision, falling into place and heading slowly but steadily onto Route 30 for the 22-mile drive to Ephrata and back. It took more than an hour for everyone to exit the lot. Etzweiler, who used to drive in the event before taking over as organizer, waved to each truck as it passed.  "I switched arms a lot, so now there're both tired," he said.

         Some trucks bore a banner announcing a Make-A-Wish child was aboard. Etzweiler said 111 kids from the program got to ride along this year. The banners seemed to draw more feeling from the crowd as they passed; well-wishers cheered louder and stretched up their hands to wave harder. "It's so sad to think of all the sick children this represents.  As a mother, it's a little gut-wrenching", said one local mother. "It makes me thankful for my family, and it reminds me how blessed I am."

Amish boys wave to passing trucks from a guard rail along Route 222.
A crowd of people waves to the convoy from the Landis Valley Road overpass in Manheim Township.
The convoy of 381 trucks drove from Lancaster to Ephrata and back on Sunday afternoon to raise money to grant wishes for sick children.
Mary Torres, along with her mother, Suzanne, wave to family members from the passenger seat of a truck.

Sauder Eggs driver, Danny Echegoyen, drives one of the

Sauder trucks in the convoy.

Sauder Eggs driver, Corey Wenrich, drives one of the

Sauder trucks in the convoy.