Trucks at Work

Giving thanks and giving back

I got an interesting note the other day from the RoadPro Family of Brands about how the impending Thanksgiving holiday – like most of American daily life – is closely connected to the trucking industry.

The turkey, cranberries, potatoes – mashed, sweet and otherwise –pumpkins and green beans are all transported by truck, the company said, not to mention the dinner table, chairs, appliances and comfy sofa into which we’ll sink to watch football on the big-screen TV in the living room – the one that arrived at the big box store by truck as well.

“But it’s a good bet that all the four-wheelers traveling for Thanksgiving this month will grumble about the number of trucks on the highway,” the good folks at RoadPro added. “No doubt, all the truck drivers working over the holiday weekend will feel their ‘love and gratitude.’”

Now, of course, we can turn this into a rant about how American society remains utterly clueless about how the much-maligned truck and truck driver is the linchpin holding our economy and way of life together.

Yet this is where RoadPro took a very different turn.

“Drivers are a humble lot and used to being unsung,” the company said. So instead of dwelling on the lack of appreciation for the trucking industry, the firm asked the hardworking men and women serving on its RoadPro Pro Driver Council what they’re most thankful for this holiday season.

And the answers may just surprise you:

I am grateful for my health. As a cancer survivor, every day is a gift. My family would be next. My son, daughter and grandbaby are a blessing. Third would be my truck; I'm thankful she has given me all these miles. I’m also thankful for the employees who work holidays. We work every day and it’s nice to see a place open where we can get fuel, food and goodies. Maggie Reissen

I'm grateful for a loving and caring family. My wife and two girls have given up so much in order for me to pursue a career that I love. They miss me when I'm gone, but they never complain, and they support me in all I do. I'm grateful to live in a country that, with all of its problems, still allows individuals to pursue their dreams and makes it possible for them to achieve true independence and entrepreneurship. As an owner-operator, there is no greater sense of accomplishment. I'm most grateful for our soldiers. I've had the opportunity to train them and listen to their stories. That will make you grateful that these men and women are willing to put it all on the line for millions of Americans that they have never met and never will.  Thomas Miller

I’m most grateful for my wife. Her patience and understanding have gotten me through some very trying times. Not only did I have to deal with almost dying again, but also losing my job and my hobby. I had to sell my Harley, an activity we enjoyed together. I couldn’t have made these transitions without her strength and companionship. She’s not only my wife; she’s my best friend, and that is so important to me. Robert Stoviak

I begin with my dad and mom who raised me with good morals, values and a good work ethic. Realizing I wouldn't be where I am or who I am if it weren't for their love and support. Thanks, mom and dad! 

I continually remind myself where it all began with my trucking career; who was there by my side, guiding me, supporting me, motivating me. This I am truly grateful for! Grateful for all that life has offered me. Joanne Fatta

After God and Jesus, it would be family, health, friends and being able to provide for my family. Everything else is ‘bonus round’ items: driving, seeing the country, meeting new people, vacations and all the other frills life gives us. Henry Albert

It’s also nice to know that Thanksgiving is also becoming a time of gift-giving, but not the usual over-commercialized way.

Take Ford Motor Co., for example, which recently donated five Transit Connect cargo vans to organizations that provide hunger relief services.

Those various relief groups – located in the Kansas City, Louisville, Miami, Phoenix and Dallas metropolitan areas – will use those vans to pick up food, transport it to their facilities and deliver it to recipients.

With 103.9 cubic feet of cargo space 1,470 lbs. of cargo carrying capacity, Ford thinks those vans should be able to haul more than 1,100 meals per vehicle per trip.

“The first step in creating a better world is helping to fulfill the most basic needs of our neighbors,” noted Janet Lawson, director of the Ford Motor Company Fund. “More than 48 million Americans live in fear of going hungry each day and these vehicles will deliver meals – not just during this season of giving but throughout the year.” 

Ford will deliver those vans Dec. 7 through Dec. 11 (once the graphics are completed) with The Salvation Army of Kansas City getting the first one. That organization last year served 497,590 meals through its corps community centers, social service centers and emergency feeding units – in addition to delivering more than 27,000 meals to homebound individuals, Ford noted.

Also, earlier this year, the OEM worked with The Salvation Army in Washington, D.C., to outfit a larger Transit van to serve as a mobile kitchen for the homeless.

It’s interesting to note, too, that those five Transit Connect vans join a nationwide network of more than 50 mobile food pantries operating on Ford chassis; trucks that have distributed more than 6 million meals in the past five years.

Good stuff for this Thanksgiving holiday. And here’s wishing all of you a happy and safe holiday season as well.

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