By: Heidi O.
Make A Wish Foundation Truck Convoy • June 13, 2015 • Neillsville, WI
On Saturday, June 13, 2015, I was honored to participate in a heartfelt and heartwarming experience, the Make a Wish Foundation Convoy organized and put on by the Montgomery family. I also had the honor of meeting some of the family members and speaking with the woman behind it all, Punk Montgomery.
Punk is a very modest and down to earth woman who also has a very big heart. I am honored to say I have met her and to be able to share the story behind the Neillsville Make A Wish Foundation convoy.
Punk’s husband, Bill, attended a convoy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and was so fired up, he came home and told Punk, “Honey, we can do that!” and this is how they got started organizing the Neillsville Make A Wish Convoy. Punk and Bill, along with their family of 5 kids, mom, dad and brothers and sisters have been organizing this event now for 18 years. They also have some individuals who chip in and volunteer their time to help.
In the 18 years they have been doing this, the Make A Wish (MAW) Foundation has been able to help 43 children in the Wisconsin area with wishes of Disney Experience vacations, a Hawaii trip, and many other wishes the children have had.
The Montgomery family spends many hours prior to and even after the convoy organizing and continuing to make this event a huge success. All the proceeds from the convoy and raised during the year at other events such as one Punk’s daughter, Brittney, organizes called “Mega Movie Night” go to the Wisconsin Make a Wish Foundation.
The Neillsville MAW Convoy has had many participants over the years with the lowest turnout being around 62 and a record high this year of 105 (There were 66 semis and 39 personal vehicles)! There have been many different types of vehicles from, of course, the semis, to a Hippie Bus, an Ice Cream truck, an Ambulance, and motorcycles. Anyone and everyone is encouraged and invited to attend!
This convoy starts at the Fairgrounds in Neillsville, WI and travels to Marshfield, where they take a small break and take a picture of the participants together, and then heads out and goes through a small town called Granton, and then heads back through downtown Neillsville and returns back to the Fairgrounds. Once the convoy is back at the Fairgrounds, there is a Silent Auction held along with food sales and a lot of camaraderie between all the drivers. It is a day where EVERYONE comes together for a great cause.
The semis lay on those horns and encourage each other to make it heard throughout the towns and along the roads they travel. As I was riding I observed MANY people who came out (even on a rainy Saturday morning) to support the convoy and wave at the trucks and vehicles passing them by! Seeing all those people waving and supporting such a great cause was very heartfelt!
While at the event, I was also honored to get to meet Clark County’s Fairest of the Fair, Kelsey and an upcoming candidate for Miss Neillsville, Kristen. They were at the convoy volunteering their time and helping out in any way they could.
In interviewing Punk, the thing she couldn’t stress the most is, “If it weren’t for the supporters and the sponsors, there wouldn’t be anything!” She does not want any recognition for what she is doing as she says, “It’s not all me. Without the help, we would have nothing.”
Well, I know what she said, but I would like to throw one last HUGE, ‘THANK YOU’ to Punk Montgomery and the entire Montgomery family for organizing and hosting this event each and every year in Neillsville, WI. Without you and your family, there wouldn’t be a Make a Wish convoy in Neillsville, WI, and for this I am sure ALL the participants and sponsors alike would help me in saying that you and your family are doing a GREAT JOB!!!
If anyone is in the area next year, the convoy is normally held the 2nd weekend in June and they allow anyone and everyone to participate for a small fee of $10 per vehicle! You are more than welcome to donate more if you would like. In speaking of donations, in 2014, they raised over $17,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation, which was a record year for them!
Thank you again to EVERYONE who took part in and sponsored the Neillsville Make A Wish Foundation Convoy over the last 18 years and again this year. I can’t wait to be a part of something so heartwarming again!!