Appreciating Our Drivers
A simple "thank you" will never be enough.
I mean, what really can be said to the women and men who spend hours, days, weeks, and months away from their families while keeping America's gears grinding in a forward motion?
This has been Driver Appreciation Week. A week where we, as the transportation industry, aim to recognize the collective trucking and driving community as a way of saying thank you for the jobs they perform on our behalf.
Yet, I'm sure most folks out there working on the roads in some commercial driving fashion probably don't always feel as valued as they should. Shame on those of us who take them and their profession for granted. If it were not for our road warriors, most of our home goods would never make it within our own four walls.
Without truckers we wouldn't get the food, clothes, or medicines we need. We, as a society, would be left trying to fend for ourselves just to find ways to feed and clothe our families. Or the nurses, doctors, and medical professionals we trust would be left without vital medicines and medical equipment necessary for us general population folks to maintain a healthy way of life.
"Thank you" is certainly not enough.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial truck driving community demonstrated how it's risen to the occasion time and again. "I think the pandemic helped people realize the heroes they are." Says John Elliott, CEO of Load One. "When I was a kid, drivers were considered the knights of the highway. I believe the respect level is now higher than what it was, but that's something we as an industry need to capitalize on."
John takes it a step further to discuss how drivers are also on the front lines of disaster relief emergencies. "When you look at things like natural disasters, you see all the cars exiting and the highways are clogged, but it's the trucks that are heading into the disaster." Elliott adds that it's the drivers who are "bringing the emergency relief supplies, equipment, generators, water, all the emergency medical equipment that's needed." He summarizes by recognizing that, "trucking does an amazing job for this country in ways that people don't always realize."
It's not just recognizing what drivers do to keep this country moving, but also what these folks are bringing to the transportation industry in the name of gender equality and acceptance. The trucker's voice has never spoken more loudly.
Ellen Voie, founder of Women In Trucking, states that her organization was created to "help encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry." Voie also implores ALL drivers to be better informed as they venture into the world of trucking. "Our Professional Driver Hub, on our website, is for anybody, any driver, male or female. It's all free information!" Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. And that power resides in the truck driving community!
So, as an industry that is constantly moving forward, literally and figuratively, the notion that knowledge and recognition are abundant and readily available only bodes well for the future of our truck driving forces.
There are myriad reasons why society should be spending more than just one week a year on recognizing our Knights of the Highway. If you see a driver out there on the road, give 'em the old one-arm fist pump and let them know you're thankful for what they're doing for you. If you're someone thinking about getting into the trucking industry, know that now is as good a time as any because you will be serving an industry that needs YOU to step into the role of highway hero.
And if you are a driver, if you're one of the folks out there braving the traffic, the weather, and the conditions of the roadways, our thanks to you is barely enough to express the gratitude you so greatly deserve.
With appreciation and admiration to our drivers,