Truckers Team Up, Celebrate Wisconsin Boy
Need a feel-good story today? American truck drivers, as well as some from Australia and New Zealand, teamed together to show their support for 16-year-old Dakota Cadd from Milton, Wisconsin.
The Boy Who Loves Trucks
Dakota’s favorite activity is to sit in his wheelchair at his family home on Highway 26, all so he can wave at truckers for hours as they drive by. His favorite part of this activity is when truckers blow their horns. Dakota has Dandy-Walker Malformation, which affects brain development, physical movement and coordination. He has an inoperable cyst in his brain and suffers many seizures daily. He had to have a major surgery this past spring, which kept him cooped up inside away from where he typically waves at drivers as they go by. However, that didn’t matter to the drivers.
Dakota received shirts and hats from several companies, all showing their appreciation for him and his enthusiasm.
“He’s got his guys that regularly come and honk for him. He had a really major surgery this Spring on both legs and he had casts on both legs for weeks,” said his mother, Peggy Cadd. “He couldn’t get outside but his truckers would still honk when they went past. I really think that helped him want to get back out there.”
Peggy said Dakota has loved trucks since he was little.
“If it’s not raining, he’s out there and has got his arms going. He’ll give the truckers a thumbs up if they honk for him or he’ll say ‘bummer’ if they don’t honk for him,” Peggy said.
The Truck Driver Who Organized It All
Jeremy Wallenkamp, a retired truck driver, lives about four miles away from Dakota. He got the idea to have a small cookout for him and bring out a few trucks. Wallenkamp posted to Facebook requesting trucking hats, shirts, and other items for Dakota. He only expected to hear back from a few local trucking companies, but the post went viral among online trucking groups. Dakota has since been flooded with support from the trucking industry. Truckers have been visiting Dakota and giving him gifts, and he’s received support online from “truckies” in Australia and New Zealand.
To celebrate Dakota’s upcoming birthday, Wallenkamp put together the “18 Wheels For Bubba,” scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18. Wallenkamp hopes to see 150 trucks and as many as 1,000 truck drivers participate in the event. He says he has even heard from the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association, which will send a representative to the event to present Dakota with an honorary membership.
“It’s overwhelming. I’ve never seen the trucking industry come together the way it has for this event,” Wallenkamp said.
Truck driver Jeff Seichter gave Dakota a handheld CB radio so that he can talk to the truckers driving by, and when they honk their horns he tells them “Thank you!”
“It’s really renewed some of my faith in humanity. I’ve cried every single day. When I think it can’t get any bigger, someone else sends him another gift… It’s been amazing,” Peggy said.
When and Where to Support “Bubba”
The “18 Wheels For Bubba” event is set for Saturday at Schilberg Park in Milton. Trucks may start arriving at 6 a.m. and the cut off will be 11 a.m., because the event will start at noon. Trailers cannot be parked at the park but trucks are welcome. Wallenkamp has arranged for a private, secure space for drivers to drop their trailer so they can bobtail to the park.
Milton is located in south central Wisconsin just off I-90 north of Rockford, Illinois and southwest of Milwaukee.
“I just want (Dakota) to smile. I just want to show him the support from our industry that he deserves. He loves trucks. There’s a lot of great people in the trucking industry. We just want to be there and support him and stand next to him,” Wallenkamp said.
Special thanks to Truckers News for this heartwarming story. Read the original here.