Driver Appreciation

American Trucking Association 2014 Driver Appreciation Logo
American Trucking Association 2014 Driver Appreciation Logo

The week of September 14th through the 20th is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Many people will be writing articles on the importance of trucking and driver to our economy. While this is true I have decided to take a different approach to show my appreciation to my fellow drivers.

Those who have driven truck will tell you it is a challenging occupation. One that is filled with a variety of hazards and challenges. Ranging from navigating traffic, and narrow roadways, to in increased health risks drivers face from a sedentary lifestyle and limited food options.

Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen 365Trucking.com
Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen 365Trucking.com

Yet anyone who has driven for any length of time can tell you stories of drivers who helped them through a rough spot, or have influenced them in their careers. I have decided to focus on those who have helped me.

The first couple years of driving tend to be hardest. Between the starting wages, being away from home for long periods, and just trying to learn the tricks of the trade. It is challenging and intimidating for many, those who persevere tend to find it rewarding. During this time on two separate occasions fellow drivers who saw I was having a bad day invited me to join them for a meal than paid for it. One thing that you miss on the road is companionship. From having face to face contact with friends and family almost daily. To going to days or weeks at a time with out seeing a familiar face. Can and is a challenge for many over the road drivers. These two drivers saw I was having a bad day and decided to take the time to talk to me, then to pay for my meal. It made the distance from home seem less far, and reminded me I am not alone.

On another occasion. My wife was in the hospital for health reasons. I was at a truck stop and needed to call home to check on things, and the pay phone was not working. Another driver loaned me the use of his cell phone for a few minutes. That act of kindness and not accepting anything in return, brightened both mine and my wife’s day.

Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen 365Trucking.com
Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen 365Trucking.com

Throughout the years. I have been blessed on other occasions by drivers and others. However these 3 events forever stand out in my mind. I do not know their names, but I do remember their kindness and do my best to return the favor whenever I am able.

Next is a large group of drivers these are ones who have had a tremendous influence in my life especially in recent months. They have taken an interest in my projects and goals and several have selfless given their time to mentor me.

First I would like to thank Jim Allen of 365trucking.com. He has been a tremendous help to me in learning how to deal with social media for my Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well a providing many of the trucking images that grace my site. He also excels at providing reality checks and making sure I have thought things through.

Next is Linda Caffee a Team Run Smart Pro and Trucking Solutions Group Member (TSG). She is my partner in crime for cooking on the truck. Linda has been an encouragement to me both in my recipe and cookbook projects, as well as helping to motivate me to stay healthy on the road. Linda also introduced me to TSG.

TSG is chaired by Rick Ash, and Linda Caffee they have played a role in my projects but also in encouraging me to expand and push my limits. As well as working to keep me grounded and reminding me that one must take care of one’s self.

Rick Ash along with Henry Albert have been more than generous with their time. Mentoring me not only in trucking best practices, but in some of the finer points of balancing a trucking lifestyle with personal projects and goals. (It is not as easy as one may think, just ask Henry.)

Jeff Clark also a Team Run Smart Pro and TSG member, and has shown me one can always make time for healthy activity. Despite all he does, as well as an injury this summer. He still found time to run and train for marathons if not daily then at least weekly. In addition he is another one who is good at giving me reality checks, as well as writing tips.

Jimmy Nevarez and Tom at MATS 2014
Jimmy Nevarez and Tom at MATS 2014

Lastly is another Team Run Smart Pro Jimmy Nevarez. Jimmy recently has graciously agreed to help me figure out the business side of blogging. Despite time zone differences, a busy work schedule and family life. Jimmy has been generous with his time, knowledge, and advice.

There are several others who need mentioned. Les Willis, Allen Smith, Tony Justice, Dock Hindman. Each in their own way has encouraged me and been an inspiration. I am sure I have missed others who have been important to me in my career as a driver. For those who I have missed let me apologize.

Let me thank everyone for your time compassion and caring. You epitomize what professional drivers should be. Enjoy this week after all it is your week and should be savored. You are great ambassadors for trucking, and you are truly appreciated for all you do. Not just for me personally but for the industry as a whole.

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