But it turned out there were good spirits – and a whole lotta Whos – that came to the aid of those stunned and stranded drivers. It started in a little town off Interstate 70 called Grain Valley, Missouri, in the offices of OOIDA’s Land Line Magazine and Land Line Now Sirius-XM radio show. Within minutes after word arrived about Arrow’s collapse, the Land Line staff was spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. There was soon a Facebook page dedicated to helping the victims of this calamity.
As Land Line’s senior editor Jami Jones described it in her February column, “Sure, we launched it here from OOIDA and babied it through its infancy, but that’s just a minute piece of the miracle that unfolded. Volunteers first came by the hundreds. Overnight, more than 1,000 had signed on. Ten days later, more than 7,000 people were rooting for these Arrow drivers. A well-organized group of volunteers emerged – some former Arrow employees, truckers, affiliates to the industry, and simply Good Samaritans who had no direct connect to trucking – who labored over the calls for need and matched them with offers to help.
"The success stories of drivers making it home, the tearful messages of thanks made it worth the exhaustion and frustration that many felt in accomplishing what Arrow chose not to do – take care of the truckers. We knew the goodwill of the trucking industry would rise to the need and were not proven wrong. It makes us proud to work for the men and women of the highways.”
The Land Line staff didn’t just launch that page and go home to wrap presents. They stayed online, through Christmas and into the New Year, helping to coordinate efforts to get truckers home and, in at least one instance, to locate a driver who hadn’t checked in with his family.
To recognize this extraordinary effort, the Truck Writers of North America Board of Directors voted to create an “Extra Mile” award to honor Land Line’s commitment to looking after truckers and their families.