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Truckers met with free lunch, cheers from Tucson community members
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Truckers met with free lunch, cheers from Tucson community members

From the April's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: 1,200+ Pima County cases, stay-home order extended series

Commercial truckers from around the U.S. left Tucson’s Triple T Truck Stop with smiling faces Thursday after receiving free lunch from community members who banded together to support them.

Truckers were greeted with signs saying “We Love Truckers” and “You keep us moving” as volunteers cheered them on for their work.

The idea for the event was put together two weeks ago by Michael Quinn, Kent Bauman and another neighbor who all attend Alive Church in Tucson and decided they could lend a hand during the coronavirus pandemic.

What was initially an idea to provide around 50 sandwiches to truckers turned into an operation where $3,000 has been raised and hundreds of truckers have the opportunity for a free lunch.

“I said I’d like to help these medical workers, who are nothing short of heroes with what they’re doing, but there’s a lot of people helping them, and we can help them, too,” Quinn said, “but what about our nation’s truckers that are keeping the supply chain going and keeping food in our supermarkets and medical supplies in our hospitals?”

Bauman, who owns an automobile transport trucking firm, knew firsthand what truckers can go through while on the job.

“There’s still parts of the economy that are still trying to run, and we’re really, very dependent on trucks, everything people buy, everything we use moves on a truck, maybe even two or three trucks to get from the factory or the farm in to retail,” Bauman said. “We just appreciate the sacrifices these guys have been making.”

They reached out to Kurt Dandoy, president of operations at Triple T Truck Stop, to discuss how they could support the mission to support truckers.

For Triple T, the proposition to supply bagged lunches filled with a sandwich, chips, a Rice Krispies Treat and a soda was an easy decision.

“These drivers have a different world. Every night you and I go home to our families and we worry about this pandemic that’s going around today, but they don’t get the opportunity to do that,” Dandoy said. “I talk to drivers all the time and they told us about their concerns about home, but they’ve got to be on the road.”

The worries for truckers extended to Gov. Doug Ducey, who issued an executive order to permit food trucks at eight Arizona Department of Transportation interstate rest areas.

Dandoy, a 38-year veteran in the industry, said without the essential work by truckers, it could become a “bigger problem than we can ever imagine.”

“We’re proud to be allowed to be part of this great plan they put together, and we’re happy they chose Triple T to host their event,” said Dandoy.

“The credit goes to the church and the organization out there for showing their appreciation to the drivers. It’s something that should be done long-term anyways.”

The Arizona Department of Public Safety and ADOT also lent their help by changing signs to signal free lunch was at the particular exit.

The organization is prepped to offer more sandwiches Friday afternoon with plans to be out at Triple T again next week and as long as funds continue.

During Thursday’s event, truckers, like John Jones, left feeling appreciated.

“I think it’s pretty cool. It makes us feel important, it makes us feel appreciated, and I hope people are recognizing now how important we are and essential we are to their daily life and habits,” said Jones, who travels around Arizona hauling a variety of supplies.

“I’ve been around Arizona and I haven’t seen anybody doing it. It is a refreshing thing to see smiling faces and feeling the support, the love and the care from regular, common folks.”

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1.

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