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Five Good Things: In the spirit of the holidays

Dec. 9, 2022
The buildup to the holidays is reaching a fever pitch, and many in the trucking industry are vigorously participating in helping people during this special time of year. We salute you for helping out our colleagues, friends, and neighbors all year.

More than a week after Giving Tuesday on Nov. 29, the giving by the trucking industry continues coming into the heart of the holiday season. The displays of charity by the freight-hauling community blossom this time of year and did this week, but they stay in bloom all year long, as Five Good Things shows us. The industry is answering the call and making the season brighter for people who might not have much. Here's to those celebrating the spirit of the season.

CFI delivers for Wreaths Across America

Truckload carrier CFI has joined with other trucking companies to support Wreaths Across America’s annual mission to recognize Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Joplin, Missouri-based CFI has supported the annual wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., and other military burial sites across the U.S. for more than a decade. CFI was again recognized as an Honor Fleet member in 2022 and was one of several trucking companies chosen to make deliveries to Arlington, where about 400,000 of the nation’s fallen heroes are buried.

CFI’s delivery to D.C. will be made by professional driver Don Welch, who has driven for CFI for 33 years and has logged more than 3.6 million safe-driving miles. In addition to Arlington, CFI drivers—all of whom are veterans—are delivering wreaths to sites in Kansas, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia.

Welch is a U.S. Army veteran and did tours in Germany and Panama. For the delivery to Arlington, he is piloting one of seven unique CFI “True to the Troops” tractor-trailers, which feature special large format graphical wraps that cover the entire vehicle and depict military imagery, honoring members of each branch and their service. The Arlington deliveries are slated for Saturday, Dec. 17. Attendees can register and volunteer starting at 8 a.m. that day to lay the wreaths at graves of the fallen.

“We consider it an honor and a privilege to support Wreaths Across America and further its mission to remember our fallen U.S. Veterans, honor those who serve, and teach our children the value of our freedoms,” said Greg Orr, president of CFI. “Our professional drivers making these deliveries take this mission personally as they reflect on their service as well as their important role in transporting this unique measure of America’s respect for our military.”

Wreaths Across America is joined by thousands of schools, scouts, civic, and religious groups across the country who do fundraising for wreath sponsorships and help ensure that the organization reaches its goal of placing a wreath on each hero’s grave.

Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is an organization partner of Wreaths Across America.

J.B. Hunt awards $55,000 to elementary classrooms

J.B. Hunt Transport Services recently awarded $55,000 in total to 55 classrooms throughout the country during the 10th straight year of its Adopt-a-Class program.

The program is an annual company initiative providing classrooms with resources to obtain supplies and additional classroom essentials. J.B. Hunt’s Adopt-a-Class was founded in 2013 and is a program that allows drivers to have a direct impact on giving to the community. Each year, J.B. Hunt drivers nominate their child or grandchild’s classroom—kindergarten through fifth grade—for a chance to receive a school supply donation by submitting an essay. Once the recipients are notified, drivers often visit the classrooms to congratulate the teacher and students.

William Quintana, a J.B. Hunt Dedicated Contract Services driver, had the honor of delivering to his daughter’s classroom this year at Monitor Elementary School in Springdale, Arkansas.

“Contributing to the class is really important because you don't know how much supplies they get,” Quintana said. “So, contributing to them, it makes me feel happy knowing they're going to have more things to do during the school year. It gives them more opportunities to do more science work or other activities that they could have missed out on.”

During his visit to Monitor Elementary, Quintana delivered a gift box to the classroom, and the students lit up with excitement. The delivery included a gift card for classroom supplies and J.B. Hunt Adopt-a-Class shirts, hats, foam trucks, and activity books. The students were able to learn about Quintana’s career as a J.B. Hunt driver and take a tour of his company truck.

Angela Moore, a third-grade teacher at Monitor Elementary, said the funds will be valuable to her students’ learning experience. “My kids are getting an opportunity to have those hands-on activities that are so important to them,” Moore added. “Instead of being on a screen, they are doing things hands-on, that are building their brain, and just helping them with decision making and problem-solving skills.”

Since the inception of the program, 255 classrooms across the country have been selected for Adopt-a-Class, bringing J.B. Hunt’s total classroom donations to more than $200,000. It resulted from a previous pen-pal-like program the company hosted in which drivers would send postcards to classrooms describing the places they would visit while traveling for their jobs. J.B. Hunt is No. 5 on the FleetOwner 500: Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022 list.

Chante Gordon, an elementary teacher in North Riverside, Illinois, shared how excited her students were to be selected as a recipient of J.B. Hunt’s Adopt-a-Class program.

“I cannot thank J.B. Hunt enough for the generous donation and making today so special for my students. They were thrilled to have their own gift bags to open, ask their questions, learn about what a truck driver does, and especially seeing the truck and honking the horn,” Gordon explained. “So many students told me this was the “best day ever!” and are excited to help make decisions about what we will purchase for our classroom. It was truly such a special day and one we will remember!”

ABF Freight driver named as a TCA Highway Angel

ABF Freight driver Mike Lempka was named a Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angel for helping to pull a man out of his car after he crashed through a fence and hit a flagpole while experiencing a medical emergency.

Lempka, who is from Adams, Nebraska, and a co-worker were walking to their trucks on Jan. 25 at about 9:30 a.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska, to start their day when they heard a loud crashing noise and saw the car crash through the fence and hit the flagpole. “So, we ran over there and this guy is in his vehicle,” Lempka said. “He’s clearly having an episode—he’s shaking.”

As Lempka was about to call 911 for help, a Lincoln police officer drove up. He had seen the car crash because the driver had been in front of him in traffic. The officer tried to talk to the driver, but the man was unresponsive, according to an account provided by TCA.

Lempka helped the officer pull the man out of his vehicle, so the officer could administer CPR to the driver. Lempka is a volunteer with the Adams Rescue Squad and drives an ambulance, and is certified in first aid and CPR. He stood by to assist the officer and wait for the ambulance to arrive. The Lincoln officer contacted Lempka later to tell him the driver had survived and had a pacemaker implanted.

“This was his lucky day,” Lempka added. “It just felt like somebody needed help—it seemed like the right thing to do.”

Since the program’s inception in 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job. The program’s presenting sponsor is EpicVue and its supporting sponsor is DriverFacts. Fort Smith, Arkansas-based ABF Freight is the less-than-truckload freight-carrying subsidiary of ArcBest Corp., which is No. 27 on the FleetOwner 500: Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022 list.

IMC teams walk, drive in Collierville Christmas Parade

Employees of Collierville, Tennessee-based intermodal logistics company IMC Cos. showed up in force to participate in the 45th annual Collierville Christmas parade on Dec. 2.

Thousands of spectators attended, and IMC professional driver Kolos Varga and his wife, Natalia, drove a decorated company truck in the parade. The Vargas are Collierville residents, and it was their second year driving in the parade. IMC’s theme for the parade was, “Together we light the way for Christmas.” The truck was strategically placed in from of the float of none other than Santa Claus.

The IMC mechanics, marketing, and national accounts teams all had a hand in designing and decorating the truck as Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. IMC team members also walked in the parade.

Third XPO Soles4Souls shoe drive runs through Dec. 31

Less-than-truckload freight transportation provider XPO Logistics is kicking off its third-annual Soles4Souls shoe drive, which runs through Dec. 31, XPO said in a release.

XPO (No. 9 on the FleetOwner 500: Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022 list) has designated 142 of its largest U.S. sites to serve as collection points for new or gently used shoes donated by employees and the public. The company will transport the shoes to Soles4Souls for distribution and has pledged a cash donation for each pair of shoes collected.

“We launched our shoe drive on Giving Tuesday to call attention to the importance of collective acts of kindness,” said LaQuenta Jacobs, XPO’s chief diversity officer and Soles4Souls board member. “Soles4Souls has set a goal of providing shoes to a million and a half homeless children in the United States. Our employees want to make their impact as large as possible.”

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