Truckstop Operators, Vendors Aid in Relief Efforts


The deadly tornados that ravaged parts of the country earlier this year have devastated communities where NATSO members live and work, and truckstop operators and their industry suppliers have rallied to boost relief efforts.

In Oklahoma, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores donated $150,000 to local chapters of the United Way to help Joplin, Mo., and communities throughout Oklahoma recover and rebuild from the storms. Love’s is based out of Oklahoma, which was among the states hit with tornadoes.

“Our hearts go out to those who were affected by these tornadoes. Love’s has been impacted by tornadoes in our history, so we know what it’s like to rebuild,” said Love’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Love.

Joplin, Mo. was hit with one of the deadliest storms in history. To support efforts there, Love’s made financial contributions to the Heart of Missouri United Way, and has assisted with in-kind donations as well. The Love’s Joplin location donated batteries and flashlights to a local hospital that was directly hit by a tornado, and they donated water to a community shelter.

The Joplin 44 Petro in Joplin, Mo., part of the Iowa 80 Group, was unharmed, but 18 employees did lose their homes as the tornado ripped through the area. Iowa 80 Group locations are taking donations for the Greater Ozark Area Red Cross and has set up a relief fund for employees that lost their homes. “To date we have raised over $3,000 for the Red Cross at our Joplin location alone,” said Healther DeBaille, marketing manager for Iowa 80 Group.

In Tuscaloosa, Ala., which was also hit by powerful tornados, Randall Reilly Publishing has created a fund to aid in the relief effort and is allowing employees to volunteer their time to help.

“Being one of the largest employers in the community, we said we’re going to take care of our own and take care of the community,” said Robert Lake, senior vice president, acquisitions/business development for Randall Reilly Publishing.

Randall Reilly Publishing established a fund for its own donations and for those made by employees, customers and vendors. “We administer that back out to affected employees as the need arises,” Lake said.

However, employees wanted to do more than simply write a check. “We looked at our 350 employees and everybody wanted to do something that was helpful,” Lake said.

That’s why Randall Reilly Publishing is giving its employees one paid day off a week to volunteer. The human resources department sends out a daily e-mail alerting employees to who needs what, such as someone with a chainsaw to cut trees out of a yard or manpower to clear debris.

“We still have a business to run, but if somebody wants to go and volunteer, they can go with the permission of their supervisor,” Lake said.

Lake said the human resources department is very involved in the process and watches the program closely.

“It is as healthy for the individuals that weren’t affected to volunteer as the ones who are receiving the help,” Lake said.

NATSO would love to hear additional stories of how members and industry suppliers are helping their communities and customers. Please send your stories to

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
Highway Business Matters (HBM)
Supplier Focus:
Randall Reilly Publishing
Retailer Featured:
Iowa 80 GroupLove’s Travel Stops and Country Stores

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