Pilot’s founder and chairman, Jim Haslam, right, greets Pilot Celebrity Pumper Dave Hart, the University of Tennessee Athletics Director, at the Pilot on Cumberland Avenue.
In just three days last month, “Pilot Celebrity Pumpers” raised a record-breaking $86,200 for the United Way of Greater Knoxville, which surpassed the previous record by $21,250. The record was $64,950 set in 2012. Over two decades, the special event that Moxley Carmichael developed for Pilot Corporation (at the time) has raised more than one million dollars for the United Way. Pilot Celebrity Pumpers continues to be the charity’s single-largest special event fundraiser, helping United Way assist those most in need in our community.
On a Monday through Wednesday in October, local celebrities, including elected officials, media personalities and UT sports figures, pumped gas and greeted customers to raise funds for the United Way of Greater Knoxville’s 2013 campaign. During the three-day event, Pilot donated five cents of every gallon of gas sold and 10 cents of every dollar spent in-store to United Way.
“We appreciate every customer who stopped by the stores and helped Pilot help Knoxville in such a big way,” said Pilot Founder and Chairman of the Board Jim Haslam. “Breaking last year’s record shows how committed the community and Pilot are to helping the United Way. We also applaud the celebrity pumpers who volunteered time out of their busy schedules to support this worthy cause.”
Celebrity pumpers distributed coupons for a free beverage during the event. Additionally, one lucky customer from each Pilot location won a $100 Pilot gas card.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero also chose the Pilot on Cumberland Avenue to pull her pumping shift.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett were among the celebrity pumpers, along with a host of Knoxville City Council and Knox County Commission members and media personalities. Well-known sports figures Holly Warlick, Lady Vols basketball head coach; Michael Annett, NASCAR driver for Pilot racing; and Dave Hart, University of Tennessee athletics director, also participated.
“Pilot Celebrity Pumpers has become a signature event for United Way,” said 2013 United Way Chairman Bob Kesling. “It reminds the community about our annual campaign and the important work United Way does in the greater Knoxville area.
“It’s a team effort and my thanks goes to the whole team: to Pilot for sponsoring this event, to the many celebrity pumpers that gave of their valuable time and to all the Pilot customers who participated.”
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot operates 40 convenience stores in Tennessee. Pilot Flying J also operates a chain of more than 650 retail locations and, as such, is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America.
United Way of Greater Knoxville is a local, independent organization dedicated to improving lives by building a better community. In partnership with 46 agencies, local business, community leaders and ordinary citizens, United Way tackles issues that matter most. By working together, United Way provides a safety net of services addressing Knoxville’s most basic needs while working toward lasting change. For more information, please visit http://www.unitedwayknox.org.
County Commissioner Ed Shouse, left; state Sen. Becky Massey; Jim Haslam; and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, right, had some laughs at the Pilot on Northshore Drive near Kingston Pike.
Patrick Birmingham, president and publisher of the News Sentinel, takes a turn at the pumps at the Pilot on Cedar Bluff Road.
Recognize these sweet ladies? Moira Kaye, left, and Abby Ham of WBIR-TV, Channel 10, were working at the Pilot on Broadway at Adair.
Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones was hard at work at the Pilot on Western Avenue near Knoxville College.
Slugger of Tennessee Smokies Baseball was at the Walker Springs Road Pilot.
WATE-TV, Channel 6, anchors Tearsa Smith and Bo Williams greeted customers on Campbell Station Road.
The weather looked good for WATE’s Ken Weathers at the Pilot on Oak Ridge Highway.
Whitney Kent of WVLT, Channel 8, kept them in stitches at the Pilot on Northshore near Kingston Pike.
Lady Vols Head Coach Holly Warlick was very busy at the Pilot on the Cumberland Avenue Strip.
The “Voice of the Vols,” Bob Kesling, also chose the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.
Lashonda Reeves of Knoxville posed with Tank Strickland of the city of Knoxville and state Rep. Joe Armstrong at the Pilot on Magnolia Avenue.
Farragut Mayor Ralph McGill manned the Pilot on Campbell Station Road.
Folks were happy to see WBIR-TV, Channel 10, anchors Robin Wilhoit and John Becker at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.
Wivik the Frog, from WIVK-FM, with his handler, Cody, was on Northshore Drive. It’s fun to have a frog pump your gas!
Steve Phillips of WVLZ-AM was at the Northshore Pilot. You may recognize him as the former sports director of WBIR-TV.
Chef Walter Lambert of WVLT Volunteer TV also was at the Northshore Pilot.
Lawyer and broadcaster Tim Priest of the Vol Network was talking football with customers at the Cumberland Avenue Pilot.
Knoxville Fire Chief Stan Sharp, left, with Pilot Regional Manager Mike Kitts at Pilot on Magnolia Avenue early one morning.
County Commissioner Sam McKenzie at the Magnolia Avenue Pilot.
WBIR-TV’s Russell Biven chose the Pilot in Rocky Hill as his spot.
Here are Rich Bailey, Kim Hansard and Marc Anthony of WWST-FM (102.1) at the Pilot on Middlebrook Pike.
Rick Russo of WVLT-TV with Officer Dene French on Middlebrook Pike.
County Commissioner R. Larry Smith took two shifts: one on Emory Road in Powell and one on Maynardville Highway in Halls!
Knoxville Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis, who represents South Knoxville, was at the Pilot on Chapman Highway.
County Commissioner Mike Brown, also from South Knoxville, was at the Pilot on Alcoa Highway. Shortly after Pilot Pumpers, Commissioner Brown had hip replacement surgery. He is recovering nicely, he says.
Pilot’s race car driver Michael Annett was pumping gas and greeting fans at the Pilot on Northshore Drive at Pellissippi Parkway.
City Councilmen Mark Campen, left, and Nick Della Volpe worked together at the Pilot on Broadway at Adair.
Jimmy Hyams of WNML-FM (99.1) was in Rocky Hill.
County Commissioner Jeff Ownby at Northshore Drive near Kingston Pike.
City Councilman Finbarr Saunders was waiting for customers to arrive early one morning at the Pilot on Sutherland Avenue.
City Councilman Duane Grieve, right, waited on customer J. J. Rutledge on Cumberland Avenue.
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch was a friendly face in the parking lot of the Pilot on Western Avenue.
City Councilman — and former mayor — Dan Brown manned the pumps on Magnolia Avenue.
News Sentinel cartoonist Charlie Daniel and Sheriff’s Deputy Jimmy LaFollette at the Pilot on Oak Ridge Highway.
WBIR’s Beth Haynes was in Rocky Hill.
WVLT-TV anchor Alan Williams, left, with Russell Sanders of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s Senior Citizens Awareness Network. They were on Chapman Highway.
WBIR-TV’s weather guy Todd Howell was on Oak Ridge Highway.
Here’s my friend Dan Andrews from the Knoxville Focus helping out customers at the Pilot on Campbell Station Road.
Well, you get the idea! These photos are of fewer than half the great folks who volunteered for this annual project. Thanks so much to all of them — and to the Pilot customers who made this a record breaking year for the event.
The people served by United Way are the real beneficiaries of this event. Thanks to all the Pumpers, the media reps who covered it and pumped, and the people of East Tennessee who stopped by and made the event a success.
ditto Alan’s comments, and thanks to Moxley Carmichael!
Fabulous initiative by Pilot that greatly benefits the community! And fabulous pumpers, too! Thanks for showing us so many of the people who take time to contribute to this worthy cause!
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