The "Everyday Heroes" Kenworth T680. Photo: Kenworth

The "Everyday Heroes" Kenworth T680. Photo: Kenworth

The “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 was auctioned off for charity to Phoenix-based J&L Transportation, netting 89,000 for the Truckers Against Trafficking non-profit group.

Truckers Against Trafficking’s mission is to stop human trafficking by educating, mobilizing and empowering truck drivers and rest stop employees. The $89,000 donation is the largest in the non-profit’s history. The Everyday Heroes truck auction was spearheaded by the Inland Kenworth dealership.

“This culminated an 8-month project that had a tremendous finish,” said Don Blake, Inland Kenworth’s new truck sales manager in the Phoenix area. “Our sponsors came together to donate and discount their pricing in order for us to build the Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680. I was on pins and needles as the auction and bidding took place, and was so happy that the truck was going to a local company that demonstrated its commitment to such a worthy cause.”

The Kenworth T680, fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission, joins 35 other trucks in the J&L Transportation fleet. The truck will be placed in J&L’s dedicated fleet and used in Arizona, California, and Nevada.

“Though I have not encountered human trafficking, it does exist in our world,” said Mike Jimenez, owner of J&L Transportation. “It’s been my experience that when our industry gets behind a cause, it is a worthwhile cause. When Don expressed his interest, along with Inland Kenworth and all the other supporters and sponsors intent on doing this project, I knew J&L should be a part of the answer to end such heartbreaking events.”

According to Kendis Paris, TAT’s executive director, human trafficking is an industry estimated to be worth $32 billion in the United States alone, and $150 billion globally. To further its education, TAT has the Freedom Driver’s Project – a mobile exhibit, which educates members of the trucking industry. The project was at Inland Kenworth in Phoenix on June 19, and at Utility Trailers next door, on June 20. Nearly 200 people were trained. At the national level, the group also hosts speaking engagements across the country and hosts coalition “builds.”

“These builds consist of bringing federal, state and local law enforcement together with industry stakeholders for a half-day training in order for them to create a localized response to human trafficking,” explained Paris. “We all have to come together and work at ending this problem.”