Trucking through Tinley
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org October 6, 2012 12:34PM
Updated: December 6, 2012 1:54AM
Steve Bolte drives a truck for a living, hauling liquid soap and other goods for a Rockdale company.
On Saturday, the New Lenox man was driving for his kid brother.
Bolte and dozens of other truck drivers from throughout the Chicago area converged on Tinley Park in hopes of helping Special Olympics Illinois reach its goal of organizing its largest-ever truck convoy. The fundraiser benefits Special Olympics Illinois, and Bolte’s brother, 20-year-old Andrew, competes in Special Olympics events.
“It’s (Special Olympics) near and dear to my heart, but it’s also a great cause,” Steve Bolte, 35, said.
Organizers of the convoy expected as many as 100 trucks, with each driver kicking in a minimum donation of $100. The fundraising event was first held in Illinois in 2005, according to Matt Johnson, with Special Olympics Illinois.
Trucks queued up in the parking lot of First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, just south of Interstate 80 and east of Harlem Avenue. The 22-mile circuit — with a police escort in the lead — took them south on Interstate 57 to the Sauk Trail interchange, then back north to the music venue.
Bolte workers for Carpenter Liquid Transporters, which had five trucks taking part in the fundraiser. He said it was his first time being part of the convoy — his previous employer wouldn’t allow him to sign up.
Gold medals from Special Olympics events Andrew’s taken part in — such as the 800-meter and 3,000-meter races — hung from his neck against an orange hooded sweatshirt.
As more trucks filled the parking lot, Steve, a Lincoln-Way Central graduate, remarked that it resembled “the truck stop at dinner time.”
First Choice Logistics on Chicago’s Far South Side had 10 trucks taking part this year. Last year, the first year the company had participated, it had four drivers at the event, Steve Bruss, the company’s safety manager, said.
House of Trucks in Willowbrook, which sells new and used tractors and trailers, had two trucks in the convoy, Wally Rys, a Homer Glen resident and part owner of the company, said.
“It’s a nice event for Special Olympics,” he said.