People lined Route 5S from Fort Plain to Fonda Sunday, waving to and cheering on Convoy for a Cause’s several-hundred participants. The convoy, an annual fundraiser, brought in money for “Alyssa Strong” this year, a local charity near and dear to the area’s heart.
Richard Kennedy, Convoy for a Cause co-chairman and Fonda Fairgrounds president, explained that the event — which sees a wide range of attendees traveling from various counties to participate — was created seven years ago “out of necessity.”
Kennedy pointed out that while both sports cars and motorcycles have rallies, there’s no similar event for trucks.
“The idea of doing an event just for truckers was born,” from that realization, said Kennedy, noting that the convoy annually brings in funding for a local charity, having previously raised money for the Jackson Fund, several local children, the Leatherstocking Flight Program and WGY Christmas Wish.
This year, the convoy brought in money to assist with Fort Plain resident Alyssa Parrino’s ongoing Acute Myeloid Leukemia treatment.
Alyssa thankfully noted that as she’s scheduled to begin treatments for a second bone marrow transplant next week — the process involving significant costs not covered by insurance, including an expensive stay in Manhattan — the convoy “is definitely going to be so helpful — incredibly helpful.”
“I live in an amazing community,” said Parrino, continuing of the fact that so many people came out to support her Sunday, “It’s amazing, but it’s definitely overwhelming.”
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Parrino on behalf of her family to all of her supporters, “and to Rich [Kennedy] for nominating me,” as this year’s fundraising recipient, “and for making this happen, even with COVID-19 being an issue.”
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has participated in every Convoy for a Cause, leading the lineup, controlling traffic and being heavily involved in safety planning. Sunday, the Fort Plain and Canajoharie police departments, along with Fultonville Fire Police, assisted the sheriff’s office with traffic control.
“It should be one smooth ride all the way from here to the fairgrounds,” said Sheriff Jeffery Smith, pointing out that Sunday’s starting point west of the Village of Fort Plain was new, the ever-growing event previously kicking off at the Beech-Nut plant in Amsterdam.
“We’re exited,” said Smith of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, adding prior to the pre-convoy driver’s meeting Sunday afternoon, “So far, so good.Everything has gone off without a hitch.”
Sunday’s Convoy For a Cause featured an array of participants, including almost every Montgomery and Fulton County fire department, police and EMS agencies, officials, candidates, title winners and many businesses, including trucking companies from as far as Albany County.
“We’re proud to do it,” said Smith of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s participation, stating of Parrino and Convoy for a Cause, “You couldn’t ask for a better person,” to assist, “or a better organization to help her and her family out during this difficult time.”
The sunny weather was perfect for a convoy Sunday, the overall mood prior to departure being entirely positive, with attendees spending time with Alyssa and explaining why it’s an honor to help raise money for her and the Parrino family.
Miss Montgomery County 2020 Victoria Opalka and Miss Fulton County’s Outstanding Teen 2020 Alexis Dutcher both wore yellow shirts in honor of Childhood Cancer Month Sunday, Opalka stating, “This is such a great opportunity, and we’re excited to be here. I’m glad this community could come together — especially at this time with everything going on — to support such a great cause.”
Agreed Dutcher, “It’s really nice to be supporting a cause for locals,” adding of the event’s many positive facets, “It’s very beneficial, and we get to connect with children and the community.”
“Helping someone else is fun!” Fort Plain VFW Post 3275 Queen Kayleigh Sanders joyfully commented.
Said 20th Congressional District Candidate Liz Joy of herself and her husband, “We’re just glad to participate and it’s wonderful to see so many people coming together to support somebody’s life and healing.”
“It’s a really good feeling — especially in a time where there’s so much negativity in the world — to have something so positive take place on such a gorgeous day,” said Kennedy of the opportunity to raise money for the Parrino family, wishing Alyssa, “the best of luck.”
Kennedy issued appreciation to all involved with Convoy for a Cause, explaining that the event’s many sponsors have been indispensable, along with supporters — some of whom have participated in the convoy every year since the very first, others participating for the first time Sunday.
Convoy for a Cause successfully concluded at the Fonda Fairgrounds Sunday afternoon, where a free, weekend-long Food Truck Festival was being held.