Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Run for the border

As Jasmine Jordan completed her 846th mile across Texas and took steps into Texarkana, AR, 200 town residents braved 30-degree temperatures and threats of snow to greet her.

“I’ve been mayor for 11 years, but this is the first time I’ve ever welcomed someone to town during a snowstorm,” said Mayor Horace Shipp.

Thursday was “Jasmine Jordan Day” in Texarkana – a very public and personal demonstration that’s followed months of many lonely miles among the 1,500 miles the 17-year-old athlete has run so far.

Jasmine, who also goes by “Jazzy,” is running from coast to coast to raise awareness of truckers who lack medical insurance, as well as to raise money for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund.

Jasmine is the daughter of OOIDA members Lee and Paulette Jordan of Minnesota, who run their own trucking business and escort company.

“We’ve got 12 to 15 positive signs,” Mayor Shipp said. “We agreed to do whatever we could. We’ve got to get our city out to show support.

Texarkana, a city of 30,000, pulled out all the stops for the Jordans.

Escorted by Texarkana firefighter Craig Hicks, Jazzy was awestruck by the turnout.

Following a police escort into town, the Mayor gave Jazzy a key to the city before a crowd of onlookers. Baton twirlers and Miss Texarkana were present for the ceremony. She was given Arkansas Razorback gear, and was taught how to “Call on the Hogs” with the traditional “Woo Pig Sooie” cheer.

“Was it incredible …” said Lee Jordan, who paused to find the right words. “I was a pro wrestler for 20 years – and in 20 years I have never had a microphone put in my face and been speechless. I was then.”

Signs with messages like “Welcome to Arkansas,” and “Thank you for running!” were held by people in the crowd.

Policemen and firefighters ran with Jazzy through a trail along the city’s historic district, the first few miles she’s been out of her dad’s sight since they began in California on Labor Day weekend.

“Jazzy was somewhat out of my sights, and that was a little odd,” Lee said. “But I wasn’t worried.”

For news stories, photos and slideshows of Jazzy’s recent running, visit