Friday, May 21, 2010

The final stretch

Jasmine Jordan is less than 400 miles from entering Times Square in New York City – her goal in what will be a 10-month journey.

That’s about 594,000 strides, and roughly two pairs of pink Saucony running shoes – quite a distance for most people.

17-year-old Jasmine, however, has proved she’s cut from rare cloth.

Jasmine, who also goes by Jazzy, is running from California to New York to raise awareness of truckers who lack medical insurance. She is also raising money for the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund.

Her parents, OOIDA Members Lee and Paulette Jordan, have put their own trucking careers partially on hold since last September to help Jazzy accomplish her dream.

Lee Jordan said Friday, May 21, that the family expects to be wrapping up the trip in mid-June.

“We’re coming down to the end here,” Lee said. “We’re encouraging truckers and everyone to donate to the St. Christopher Fund.”

OOIDA is donating $10,000 to the St. Christopher Fund, made in Jazzy’s name. Be sure to check Land Line Magazine’s Web news for Friday’s story.

Besides raising awareness for SCF, the Jordans have gotten to meet many OOIDA members, and helpful members of law enforcement and emergency response agencies who have supported and encouraged the runner.

Sgt. Stan Ricks of the Nash County, NC, Sheriff’s Department, personally escorted Lee and Jazzy for several days last week, including at least two days on his own time.

Ricks even ran with Jazzy for several miles, Lee said.

“He could hardly go to work the next day because he hurt so bad,” Lee said. “He said, ‘Your 17-year-old whooped my butt without even throwing a punch.’ But what a great, great guy he is. We were very blessed to come across him.”

But the trip has had its share of harsh realities as well.

The Jordan family has made many personal sacrifices along the way, including recently losing Lee’s truck when another car slammed into it as they were preparing to have Jazzy run in North Carolina.

Paulette, who was headed to Texas at the time, said it was difficult for her to not turn around and head East to check on her daughter.

“That was very tough,” Paulette said.

Two weeks later, Lee and Jazzy are still sore from the accident, though Jazzy has continued to run 15 to 20 miles most days.

On Friday, Lee was gathering his generator, fifth wheel hitch and other equipment to put on his replacement truck, courtesy of Jordan Enterprises. Paulette came over from Pennsylvania with a Jordan Enterprises employee to deliver the new truck Lee will use to complete Jazzy’s run.

“It’s only a couple of days, but I’m sure glad to be able to see her,” Paulette said. “I will be very glad when she is done and is home with me.”

But e-mails and letters of support from truckers spur the family on.

One such trucker is OOIDA Member Ed Drum of Mentor, OH, who lost 120 pounds after being inspired by Jazzy. His story and others spur the Jordans on, Lee said.

“Jazzy is his hero,” Lee said on Friday. “He even got permission from his company to go out of route to bring Jazzy some water and fruit, and share his story with her. Stuff like that – it’s good for her to hear, and good for me to hear for inspiration. The word is spreading.”