Perdue truckers and associates joined community volunteers to renew a 37-year Operation Teddy Bear tradition to deliver a little holiday cheer to residents of the Holy Center, a State of Maryland residential facility for people with mental and physical disabilities. The event aligns with the company’s Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors® outreach focused on improving quality of life and building strong communities.
Operation Teddy Bear enables Holly Center residents to take a ride in a big rig with one of Perdue’s professional truck drivers. The caravan of trucks, adorned with holiday decorations, navigates residents on an 11-mile loop in Wicomico County, beginning and ending at the Holy Center.
“Operation Teddy Bear really serves to kick off the holiday season for Perdue and its drivers,” said Chairman Jim Perdue. “Events like this really showcase the heart and soul of our drivers, and illustrate a commitment to giving back, including those members of the community who volunteer their time each year to help make this event possible.”
Operation Teddy Bear was inspired by the 1976 song “Teddy Bear” recorded by country music artist the late Red Sovine. The song tells the story of a CB radio conversation between a trucker and a housebound disabled boy who desperately wants a ride in a rig after his father, a trucker, has been killed.
At the end of the song the trucker goes to pick up the boy to give him a ride and finds the boy’s street clogged with rigs and drivers who heard the conversation over the radio.
After hearing Sovine’s song, two Perdue associates were inspired to launch the Operation Teddy Bear program at Perdue to help the residents of the Holly Center. Since the program’s inception, Perdue associates and truck drivers have been volunteering every year to provide rides residents.
“There’s nothing better than seeing the smiling faces of the residents during their rides,” said Hal Belote, who looks forward to the event each year.