Ready to Ride

J.J. Grevenberg is all smiles as he climbs into the Wal-Mart Heart Group semitrailer cab Saturday morning. The 5-year-old, who has been diagnosed with stage four high-risk ganglioneuroblastoma, rode shotgun from St. Clair High School to the Union Wal-Mart where a special reception was conducted in his honor.

J.J. Grevenberg was part of a special convoy on Saturday morning that traveled from his hometown of St. Clair to Union.

In fact, he was the star attraction.

The 5-year-old kindergartner rode shotgun in a Wal-Mart Heart convoy semitrailer. In front of him were police cars from St. Clair, Washington, Pacific and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as well as emergency vehicles from the St. Clair Ambulance District and the St. Clair, Union and Sullivan fire prevention districts. Behind him were five Wal-Mart semis from St. James and one from Kentucky.

The journey started at St. Clair High School shortly after 9 a.m. When they arrived at the Union Wal-Mart at about 9:45 a.m., a reception was conducted in his honor.

The event was sponsored by the Wal-Mart Heart Group.

The idea behind the event is for Wal-Mart Heart to give the “honorary driver” a truck ride pulling a special trailer with photographs of previous honorary drivers on it. Grevenberg’s picture also was placed on the side of the lead semi.

At the Union Wal-Mart, Grevenberg received special treats during his reception. St. Clair Mayor Ron Blum also read a proclamation in the youngster’s honor.

“J.J. is a young man with a difficult challenge,” Blum said. “His attitude and courage inspired me. No matter how difficult our lives are, there is always someone else who has a bigger challenge. ... J.J. is a wonderful young man.”

The heart team drivers raise money through cookout and silent auctions with donated items. The funds are used to make a special day for children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

The goal is to take a child and his or her family’s mind off their condition and lift their spirits for a few hours.

Grevenberg has been diagnosed with stage four high-risk ganglioneuroblastoma. The rare cancer is a tumor that grows nerve tissue.

The St. James Wal-Mart Distribution Centers has 11 drivers who volunteer their time for these events and are a part of the Wal-Mart Heart Group.

Earlier this year, Grevenberg was named an honorary firefighter at the St. Clair Fire Prevention District.

He also was an honorary crownbearer for the SCHS Courtwarming festivities in February as well as the honorary captain for both the boys and girls basketball teams that same day.