Our Going the Extra Mile segment is dedicated to the originator of Truckers Against Trafficking, Lyn Thompson! Lyn volunteers on an almost constant basis with TAT. Her passion for TAT is unparalleled. We got to interview Lyn and learn more about her background and how she came up with the concept for TAT and the role she plays now. We couldn't do it without her, and we most definitely hope you will take the time to learn more about this amazing woman!
TAT: Hi Lyn, let's start out with some light questions first. What’s your favorite food?
Lyn: Too many to choose just one, but I do love jamoca ice cream, hot fudge, prime rib and really good chili relleños.
TAT: What are your hobbies?
Lyn: I read a lot, ride horses, walk the dogs and play word games on my iPad.
TAT: What is your favorite band/type of music?
Lyn: 50s and 60s music … and John Denver
TAT: What is your favorite sports team?
Lyn: Green Bay Packers, since I’ve rooted for them since high school; the Seattle Seahawks, since I lived there and even knew a couple people who played for the team; and the Oklahoma City Thunder, since I live in Oklahoma now (and they used to be the Seattle Supersonics)
TAT: What is your connection to the trucking?
Lyn: When I was growing up, my parents owned a small motel in El Paso, Texas, and truckers were part of our regular customer base. In fact, the first TAT I knew was Texas Auto Transport. Sometimes, there would be 8-10 TAT trucks parked behind the motel. My parents offered a continental breakfast in our living room every morning to guests. Those truckers would come in, have breakfast, play with my sister and me and chat. They became good family friends. When I came up with the idea for TAT, those were the memories I drew on … they made me believe that if members of the trucking industry only knew what human trafficking was all about, they would jump at the chance to play a critical role in catching the perpetrators and recovering the victims. I believed they are everyday heroes.
TAT: How do you support or promote TAT?
Lyn: When my daughters and I started TAT, we had absolutely no money and knew no one in the trucking industry, except for one man in my Sunday School class. I used my money to fund TAT … the first wallet cards, posters, brochures, and the first salary ever paid at TAT staff member. Additionally, in the beginning, when we’d get requests for materials, my husband made almost daily runs to the post office to do mailings for me. From TAT’s inception, I’ve used and donated my public relations skills, expertise and time to provide a number of services for TAT, including a lot of writing, so no money would have to be spent for that, and I’ve made, and continue to make, many presentations for TAT. And wherever I go – including when I’m on an airplane, volunteering at an organization or just chatting with people – whenever there is opportunity, I tell people about TAT and the incredible work the trucking industry is doing to stop human trafficking.
TAT: Why do you feel it is important to support/promote TAT?
Lyn: TAT is a unique organization. Engaging the private sector in the fight against human trafficking by educating, equipping and empowering industry members was a bit out-of-the-box when we began in 2009. We had plenty of people tell us it wouldn’t work. But, believing God was leading us, we moved forward, and the results have been amazing, even to us. Most people don’t have a great understanding of human trafficking to begin with – they mix it up with smuggling – and then even fewer realize that an entire industry has taken a leadership role in fighting it. That’s worth talking about. We’ve always felt that just as we started from scratch, others could do the same thing, using our model to engage other critical industries to put knowledgeable eyes and ears in tons of locations traffickers tend to exploit and where victims are available for recovery.
TAT: Have you always been involved in social justice issues or is this new to you?
Lyn: For 13 years of my life, I swam competitively and trained six hours a day, seven days a week, all year. Then I married an attorney in the Marine Corps, had four little girls and traveled a lot, moving 13 times in 11 years. Fourteen years into the marriage, my husband was killed; I got cancer a couple years later; and I had four little girls to rear by myself, along with a farm to care for and a full-time job. So I didn’t have a lot of time to be involved in social justice issues in the first half of my life, other than caring for individuals in need that I heard about or came across, giving to causes I cared deeply about and instilling in my children that God cares deeply about justice and caring for the needy, abused, vulnerable and oppressed. But, I’ve always had a justice bent. Some of my personal heroes and heroines during the past several hundred years fought hard against human trafficking and slavery around the world. When I read a book detailing how human trafficking was happening here in the United States, I knew I had to get involved to stop it, and now was the time.
TAT: What is something new you have learned in this last year regarding human trafficking?
Lyn: Empowerment leads to greater efficacy. In 2015, I’ve been blessed to watch law enforcement and trucking companies or organizations, who take a personal interest in fighting this crime, expand exponentially on basic tools and ideas they’ve been given to take the battle to new heights and levels and become increasingly more effective.
TAT: Complete this sentence:
Lyn: I want to live in a world where….people understand their lives are a gift from God and there is accountability to Him for what we do with that gift and how we use it. I want to live in a world where people act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.