Monday, December 24, 2007

"Slam" Duncan's Children's Charities [ www.slamskids.org ]

I had been an Over-The-Road truck driver for ten years, commencing on July 4th, 1996-the day after I graduated from the C-1 Professional Drivers School, Indianapolis, In. [In 2006 my career took a temporary detour when "the missus" thought I should spend more time at home]. Early in those years, I invested in an XM Radio unit, one of the first ones on the market. That turned out to be ONE OF THE BEST investments of my trucking career. I felt that the XM offerings were best for me; one who'd rather listen to talk radio than music; old time radio shows, having grown up with them in the early '50s. XM's trucker specific offering-aptly named "The Open Road", quickly became one of my favorites !!! They seemed to offer EVERYTHING !!! The biggest and the best of the radio industry's trucking personalities; Dave Nemo, Dale "The Truckin' Bozo" Sommers and Bill Mack-"The Satellite Cowboy". In the normal [read: non-truckers, civilians] workday, Dave Nemo was up first from 5AM-10AM, eastern. Dave, himself actually worked 5 days a week and had others that stood in on the weekends. One of the stand-ins on both the Saturday and Sunday shows was a guy named "Slam" Duncan. My first thought was "what tahell is a "Slam" Duncan ??" I was used to Dave's way of doing things, straight forward "whatever-benefited-the-trucker" kind of show. But "Slam" is one of those guys that just kinda grows on the listener. Things evolved to the point that I found myself wishing alternately that it was either Sunday or that "Slam" had taken over as the primary personality on the show...... I don't recall what the topic was, but something piqued my interested and I called into the show on a Sunday and spoke to "Slam", both on and off the air. This began to happen almost on a weekly basis; We talked about almost anything; this guy is well versed on nearly any topic one can think of !!! As the evolution of some friendships go, happenstance found me in the Nashville, Tn., area on a Saturday night with nowhere to be until my delivery appointment Monday morning. After speaking with "Slam" on the air, we had lunch together afterward; he even came to the truck and picked me up !!! Sometime during an early stage of our friendship we exchanged cellphone numbers and he would call the truck at midnight or after, on his way home from work. His "real [fulltime]" job was the evening DJ at WSIX, Nashville. If I were awake and answered, we'd "talk him home" and sometimes thru the fastfood drive-thru or the local Walmart. These conversations were could be as short as 15 minutes [I lost my signal] or as long as a couple of hours [he was both hungry and in a shopping mood]. OK, so.............. WHAT's THE POINT ?!?! While doing "country radio" in the Roanoke, Va., market, "Slam" saw a great need for the underpriviledged and deserving children of the Roanoke Valley. The kids of the area were in dire need of bicycles !!! Some families were unable to provide them and still put food on the table !!! To showcase this need and to raise donations of bikes and/or funds to buy them and in conjunction with the Marine Corps' "Toys for Tots" campaign-"Slam" and a Marine Seargeant were hoisted by crane [in a camper] to some 93 feet into the air. Their campaign was called "93 Bikes for 93 Kids". This initial campaign netted the children 624 bikes through the overwhelming generosity of the local community !!! The next year and thereafter, the fundraiser was called "Bikes or Bust" and over the course of 4 years raised a total of 6,524 donated bicycles. As these things evolve, the bike drive became larger than one person could manage and "Slam" Duncan's Children's Charities was born. Again through evolution, the charity either partially or fully funds the following: The Gary E. Cooper Memorial Scholarship The Roanoke Theraputic Riding Program "Take a Kid to King's Dominion" "Campout for Kids" "Summer Splash with 'Slam' " "Take a Kid Fishing" "Help Us..... Help Kids" [an annual carshow in October in conjunction with the Roanoke Valley Volkswagen Club- http://www.rvvwc.com/ ] "Angels Helping Angels" [During the 2007 Christmas Season, the charity funded the purchase, wrapping and delivery of 85 gifts to those most deserving !!!] I gotta tellya...... This guy has a heart AS BIG AS ALL OUTDOORS !!! While "Slam" was on XM Radio, his charity developed a somewhat national following among the trucking community. "Slam" found out what those of us in this closeknit group have always known....... The truckers are some of the most generous folks on the planet !!! They've donated cash, the cost of the development of the website [ http://www.slamskids.org/ ], and generous bids on various items "Slam" has auctioned off for the charity. Another neat thing.... beyond all the help that's provided to "Slam's Kids" is that the charity has virtually NO OPERATING EXPENSES, so well over 98% of all donations BENEFIT THE KIDS!!! I have to say that ANOTHER POINT would be: that the whole planet should become acquainted with this guy........ a MOST GENEROUS HUMAN BEING !!! Til Nex'Time....

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