Trucker’s Parade Against Cancer – A Banner in Motion

   Written by on September 28, 2017 at 11:06 am

pre-paradeThe Truckers Parade Against Cancer is just a little over two weeks away and the TPAC team of volunteers are in motion getting things ready for the big day on October 14. There is a great deal of leg work that goes on behind the scenes weeks and months in advance, but the final two weeks is where there is an all-out push to pull things together. No one knows this better than the handful of core volunteers who coordinate printing, laminating, and organizing the banners that will be attached to front of every truck in the parade.

Looking at the finished product, one wouldn’t even consider the amount of time spent in creating it.  After all, it’s the name on it that’s important. However, to the banner makers, one banner has more much more information attached to it. By the time the individual banner is made, it’s corresponding information has been reviewed and sorted numerous times. Veteran banner-maker, Emily Lawhorne, explained the process from beginning to end. “When we receive the paper work [from the participating driver or company] each trucking company, driver, banner information, and who the banner is donated by goes into an Excel Spreadsheet, and put in alphabetical order.” Evenings and weekends are spent in front of the computer manipulating the data and printing banners. Each banner is printed on single sheets of paper that are hand taped together and then run through a laminating machine. Any excess laminate is cut away and the banner is hung for its initial sorting. The banner crew all work full-time jobs and put their personal lives on hold during the final weeks of preparation.  Many nights are spent having “cutting parties” to get the banners cleaned up and in the correct size.

“For many years we have been able to re-use several banners and we haven’t been concerned about reprinting them,” explained Lawhorne, “but last year’s rain from Hurricane Matthew totally destroyed all of our banners. They held up great for the parade and we were pleased with how well they stayed in place during the heavy rain; but we had a mess afterwards. Nothing could be salvaged.” That took the banner crew back to square one.  “We’ve been encouraging the drivers and trucking companies to get their paperwork in early because we are printing everything new this year,” stated Sheila Jones, founder of the parade. She also stated that it’s important for the paperwork to have the truck driver’s name listed to help sort multiple trucks from the same company.

“We’ve used the same process since the first parade. Over the years, we’ve learned how to tweak the computer program to accept longer entries,” stated Lawhorne. The banner crew will be working on banners straight through to the wee hours of the morning on the day of the parade. “That’s when we will put every banner in alphabetical order according to the trucking companies and give them a corresponding number so the parade ground crew can cross reference and find the right banner for the right truck.”

The banner crew’s work doesn’t end there. Most of them will be on the front line first thing Saturday morning with the ground crew (the volunteers who are responsible for attaching the correct banner to the right truck). When the last banner is put in place, the banner crew will feel their job is done. At least, until next year.

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