Pilot Celebrity Pumpers raise funds — and spirits

WBIR anchor Robin Wilhoit pumps gas at the Pilot on Cumberland Avenue.

WBIR anchor Robin Wilhoit pumps gas at the Pilot on Cumberland Avenue.

The annual Pilot Pumpers fundraiser for the United Way last month raised a record $63,478. Here’s the deal: during the three-day promotion at all area Pilot convenience stores, Pilot donates to United Way five cents for every gallon of gas sold and 10 percent of all in-store sales. To drum up interest in the event and attract more customers, more than 70 local celebrities — ranging from politicians to media personalities — pumped gas and gave customers free travel mugs and coffee. It was a blast.

Moxley Carmichael developed this promotion when we first got Pilot as a client back in the early 1990s. We thought this was our 18th year. But in doing the research, we found newspaper articles from 1992, meaning that next year will be the 20th anniversary of the event. Over that time, it has become a signature event of the annual United Way drive.

“It helps remind the community about our annual campaign and the important work United Way does in our community,” said Pam Fansler, East Region president of First Tennessee Bank and the United Way campaign chair this year. “It’s a team effort and my thanks go to the whole team: to Pilot for sponsoring the event, to the many celebrity pumpers who gave of their valuable time, and to all the Pilot customers who participated.”

During the promotion, Moxley Carmichael staffers hit the road to assist the pumpers and to take photos. The Pilot folks also man the battle stations, lending hands to the pumpers and greeting customers. Here are some of the photos from this year’s event. I know you’ll recognize most of these friendly faces. (The United Way campaign is still in full swing, by the way. If you haven’t yet donated, you know what to do!)

State Rep. Joe Armstrong, left, city community relations director Tank Trickland, center, and Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown pumped together at the Pilot on Magnolia Avenue.

State Rep. Joe Armstrong, left, city community relations director Tank Strickland, center, and Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown pumped together at the Pilot on Magnolia Avenue.

Knox County Mayor  Tim Burchett cleans the windshield of UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson at the Pilot near the corner of Northshore Drive and Kingston Pike. When his wife saw this on Twitter, she sent a tweet saying that her own windshield was dirty!

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett cleans the windshield of UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson at the Pilot near the corner of Northshore Drive and Kingston Pike. When his wife saw this on Twitter, she sent a tweet saying that her own windshield was dirty!

WVLT folks, from left: Heather Haley, Mark Packer, Whitney Kent and Shirley Nash Pitts. They were at the Pilot on Northshore, as well. (Shirley was the boss, from all reports!)

WVLT folks, from left: Heather Haley, Mark Packer, Whitney Kent and Shirley Nash Pitts. They were at the Pilot on Northshore, as well. (Shirley was the boss, from all reports!)

WATE's Don Dare, left, and County Commissioner R. Larry Smith pumped together at the Pilot at 400 E. Emory Road on Monday, Oct. 3. Smith pumped all three days of the promotion!

WATE's Don Dare, left, and County Commissioner R. Larry Smith pumped together at the Pilot at 400 E. Emory Road on Monday, Oct. 3. Smith pumped all three days of the promotion!

News Sentinel Publisher Patrick Birmingham, left, greets customer Frank Rothermel at the Pilot at 136 N. Northshore Drive.

News Sentinel Publisher Patrick Birmingham, left, greets customer Frank Rothermel at the Pilot at 136 N. Northshore Drive.

WOKI's Hallerin Hilton Hill pumps for a customer at the Pilot at 136 N. Northshore Drive near his radio station.

WOKI-FM's Hallerin Hilton Hill pumps for a customer at the Pilot at 136 N. Northshore Drive near his radio station.

New UT Athletic Director Dave Hart, left, pumps gas for Laurens Tullock at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

New UT Athletic Director Dave Hart, left, pumps gas for Laurens Tullock at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

County Commissioner Mike Brown and customer Jewel Davis at the PIlot at 4603 Chapman Highway.

County Commissioner Mike Brown and customer Jewel Davis at the PIlot at 4603 Chapman Highway.

Buzz Bee and Jennifer Alexander of B-97.5 fill up a school bus for James Hurst at the Pilot on East Emory Road.

Buzz Bee and Jennifer Alexander of B-97.5 fill up a school bus for James Hurst at the Pilot on East Emory Road.

City Councilman Nick Della Volpe at the Pilot on Asheville Highway. I wish I knew what he was yelling!

City Councilman Nick Della Volpe at the Pilot on Asheville Highway. I wish I knew what he was yelling!

State Rep. Ryan Haynes at the Pilot at 9550 Northshore Drive

State Rep. Ryan Haynes at the Pilot at 9550 Northshore Drive

Alex, left, from Pilot poses with, from left, Moira Kaye, Brittany Bailey, Abby Ham and Anthony Welsch, all of WBIR.

Alex, left, from Pilot poses with, from left, Moira Kaye, Brittany Bailey, Abby Ham and Anthony Welsch, all of WBIR.

Sheriff J.J. Jones, right, was pumping gas for Ivan Harmon at the Pilot on Western Avenue.

Sheriff J.J. Jones, right, was pumping gas for Ivan Harmon at the Pilot on Western Avenue.

WVLT's Lauren Davis was at the Pilot near the corner of Northshore Drive and Kingston Pike.

WVLT's Lauren Davis was at the Pilot near the corner of Northshore Drive and Kingston Pike.

State Rep. Bill Dunn worked the Pilot at 4800 Broadway.

State Rep. Bill Dunn worked the Pilot at 4800 Broadway.

County Commissioner Brad Anders was at 136 N. Northshore Drive.

County Commissioner Brad Anders was at 136 N. Northshore Drive.

News Sentinel's Charlie Daniel with customer Aaron Parker at the Pilot at 5800 Oak Ridge Highway.

News Sentinel's Charlie Daniel with customer Aaron Parker at the Pilot at 5800 Oak Ridge Highway.

Here is County Commissioner Ed Shouse, right, with Bruce Hartmann of E.W. Scripps at the Pilot near the corner of Northshore and Kingston Pike.

Here is County Commissioner Ed Shouse, right, with Bruce Hartmann of E.W. Scripps at the Pilot near the corner of Northshore and Kingston Pike.

WIVK's Jack Ryan pumps gas for customer Annette Miller at the PIlot on John Sevier Highway.

WIVK's Jack Ryan pumps gas for customer Annette Miller at the PIlot on John Sevier Highway.

John Wilkerson, left, and Jimmy Hyams of The Sports Animal manned the Pilot at 9550 Northshore Drive.

John Wilkerson, left, and Jimmy Hyams of The Sports Animal manned the Pilot at 9550 Northshore Drive.

WBIR's Beth Haynes helped out at the Rocky Hill Pilot.

WBIR's Beth Haynes helped out at the Rocky Hill Pilot.

From left, Frank Murphy, Kim Hansard and Marc Anthony of 102.1-FM pose with Mike Shaffer of Pilot at the 206 Walker Springs Road Pilot.

From left, Frank Murphy, Kim Hansard and Marc Anthony of 102.1-FM pose with Mike Shaffer of Pilot at the 206 Walker Springs Road Pilot.

City Councilman Marilyn Roddy and Danny Fleming of Pilot at the Northshore/Kingston Pike Pilot.

City Councilman Marilyn Roddy and Danny Fleming of Pilot at the Northshore/Kingston Pike Pilot.

Vice Mayor Joe Bailey was at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

Vice Mayor Joe Bailey was at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

County Commissioner Jeff Ownby helps customer Mike Fowler at the Northshore/Kingston Pike Pilot.

County Commissioner Jeff Ownby helps customer Mike Fowler at the Northshore/Kingston Pike Pilot.

WBIR anchor John Becker chose the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

WBIR anchor John Becker chose the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

News Sentinel's Mike Griffith chatted with customers at the Cedar Bluff Road Pilot.

News Sentinel's Mike Griffith chatted with customers at the Cedar Bluff Road Pilot.

Pilot Flying J's race car driver Michael Annett mingled and pumped at the Pilot in Rocky Hill.

Pilot Flying J's race car driver Michael Annett mingled and pumped at the Pilot in Rocky Hill.

WBIR's Moira Kaye with customer Myron Clark at 4800 Broadway

WBIR's Moira Kaye with customer Myron Clark at 4800 Broadway

City Councilman Nick Pavlis was at the Pilot at 4603 Chapman Highway.

City Councilman Nick Pavlis was at the Pilot at 4603 Chapman Highway.

Here is WATE meteorologist Matt Hinkin at the Tazewell Pike Pilot.

Here is WATE meteorologist Matt Hinkin at the Tazewell Pike Pilot.

City Councilman Duane Grieve took the very first shift at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

City Councilman Duane Grieve took the very first shift at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

County Commissioner Sam McKenzie took a shift at the Pilot on Magnolia Avenue.

County Commissioner Sam McKenzie took a shift at the Pilot on Magnolia Avenue.

Bob Kesling, left, and Tim Priest of the Vol Network talked sports at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

Bob Kesling, left, and Tim Priest of the Vol Network talked sports at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.

WVLT anchor Alan Williams was down at 4603 Chapman Highway.

WVLT anchor Alan Williams was down at 4603 Chapman Highway.

Allison Bybee, left, and Erin Donovan of WBIR were at 4800 Broadway.

Allison Bybee, left, and Erin Donovan of WBIR were at 4800 Broadway.

Ashley and Brad, the morning crew from B97.5, were at the Rocky Hill Pilot. Ha.

Ashley and Brad, the morning crew from B97.5, were at the Rocky Hill Pilot. I'm sure he's saying something very helpful!

WATE's Ken Weathers was on Oak Ridge Highway.

WATE's Ken Weathers was on Oak Ridge Highway.

At Rocky Hill, WBIR's Russell Biven fills the tank for Bearden resident Ralph Ruth.

At Rocky Hill, WBIR's Russell Biven fills the tank for Bearden resident Ralph Ruth.

WBIR's Steve Butera was on Merchants Road.

WBIR's Steve Butera was on Merchants Road.

Sports guy Steve Phillips of WBIR was on Cumberland Avenue.

Sports guy Steve Phillips of WBIR was on Cumberland Avenue.

Chef Walter Lambert of WVLT talked food (we assume) at the Pilot at Northshore Drive and Kingston Pike.

Chef Walter Lambert of WVLT talked food (we assume) at the Pilot at Northshore Drive and Kingston Pike.

WBIR meteorologist Todd Howell was over on Oak Ridge Highway checking out the good weather between customers.

WBIR meteorologist Todd Howell was over on Oak Ridge Highway checking out the good weather between customers.

What good sports! Even though they weren’t official pumpers, the two mayoral candidates showed up to help and lend moral support.

Here is Madeline Rogero.

Here is Madeline Rogero at the Pilot on Chapman Highway.

And Mark Padgett

And Mark Padgett at the Pilot near Northshore and Kingston Pike.

Thanks, everybody!

If you’d like to see even more pictures from Pilot Pumpers 2011, check out our Flickr set. Click here.

Filed under: Business, Events, Journalism, Knoxville, Media, Politics, UT sports. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pilot Celebrity Pumpers raise funds — and spirits

  1. Pingback: Blue Streak » Newest Vol is a winner!

Leave a Reply