President Joe Biden’s inauguration speech this week preached the spirit of unity, with the hope that 2021 will foster more togetherness instead of division. Trucking continues to come together with a joined mission – to support each other and its community. Here are five good things that happened in trucking this week.
St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund reaches over $1M raised for truckers in 2020
2020 was a hard year for many, many reasons. But for St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, it was a year that ended in triumph. Through its many fundraisers, the non-profit raised over $1 million to support truckers and their families, helping 322 drivers in need with $394,145 in payments on behalf of beneficiaries and over $11,200 towards drivers’ health and wellness.
Since its inception in 2008, the fund has helped 3,129 drivers and families and spent over $3,438,691 on behalf of those in need. Of that, $110,000 was spent on health and wellness programs.
In 2020, the fund started its Rigs Without Cigs program to help support drivers wanting to quit smoking. Since its launch, the fund has registered 108 truckers, one-in-two driver have quit smoking all together and one-in-three drivers have cut back usage.
Carrier Transicold helps Arkansas Foodbank
Carrier Transicold has donated an X4 7500 refrigeration unit to accompany a 53-ft. long trailer to help the Arkansas Foodbank respond to the current unprecedented demand for assistance addressing those struggling with food insecurity throughout the state.
“This gift allowed us to put our second trailer back into service, effectively doubling our refrigerated distribution capacity to serve the more than 400 partner agencies in our 33-county service area,” said Eric Shelby, chief operations officer, Arkansas Foodbank. “This has enabled us to keep pace with the increasing demand for nutritious fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products in a state that, prior to the pandemic, was already ranked second in child hunger by Feeding America and second in food insecurity according to the USDA.”
Addressing food insecurity is part of Carrier’s Healthy, Safe, Sustainable Cold Chain program. Since 2017, Carrier Transicold has contributed $600,000 in support of Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks. According to Feeding America, every dollar contributed provides for at least 10 meals, equating to 6 million meals donated through Carrier Transicold’s program with Feeding America. Carrier’s contributions have funded 32 truck and trailer refrigeration units for food banks serving 18 states, with more to come.
“The team at MHC Carrier Transicold in Little Rock was pleased to be able to equip [the] Arkansas Foodbank trailer with our highest capacity unit to provide reliable refrigeration for the safe transportation of wholesome nutritious food to people in need throughout the state, especially now when it is needed most,” said Robbie Stubbs, general manager of MHC Carrier Transicold.
Swift Transportation unveiled its fight against trafficking
Swift Transportation unveiled their wrapped truck honoring Truckers Against Trafficking.
The new 2021 wrapped Freightliner Cascadia will be a living representation of Swift's partnership with the non-profit organization Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). The wrap displays Swift's and TAT logos and reads "Everyday Heroes Needed." It also provides a number to call to report suspicious activity.
Swift drivers are selected to drive the wrapped trucks based on their personal ties to the truck's theme.
"We are grateful for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) and the important work they do. Our partnership with TAT has been part of our company for many years, and we are proud to say that we have provided TAT training for thousands of professional drivers,” Swift Transportation's Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Quast stated. “We stand united with TAT and others who fight against the evil of human trafficking."
Swift Transportation has partnered with Truckers Against Trafficking to help educate drivers on how to become everyday heroes by recognizing and reporting trafficking. New drivers at Swift learn about TAT during the Driver Qualification program and can take additional training on the subject if they wish to do so.
"We are thrilled and grateful to see Swift create this beautiful tractor wrap in an effort to raise awareness about how the trucking industry can combat human trafficking,” said Kendis Paris, TAT executive director. It's just one more way trucking continues to lead the way across all modes of transportation in the fight against this heinous crime."
Melton Truck Lanes doubles tarping pay for drivers
Melton Truck Lines, a Tulsa, Okla.-based trucking company, has committed to doubling the amount it pays drivers for tarping loads. The increase will take effect on Feb. 2.
The decision to hike tarping pay from $50 to $100 a load came after Melton conducted a driver survey, which found an increase in tarp pay would be the most meaningful pay increase, according to the company that employs over 1,350 drivers. The increased tarping compensation translates to an additional $10,000 or more annually for all drivers, new or experienced, said a statement from the company.
“Tarping is the most strenuous part of our job, and we want our drivers to be rewarded for it,” said Vice President of Safety and Human Resources Lisa Mason. “This tarp pay increase is in response to the many surveys we’ve seen through WorkHound and driver conversations saying a tarp pay increase would be the most meaningful pay increase. There is not another carrier out there that rewards their drivers with this amount of money for tarping, and it’s because of our driver’s efforts that allow this significant change to happen.”
Trucking joins a big rig memorial for 5-year-old boy
Liam Salmon of Anderson, Calif. wasn't in his father's big rig on Sunday Jan. 17, but the 5-year-old, who died on December 31st, was there in spirit via the mini John Deere tractor mounted near the fifth wheel. Liam loved John Deere tractors.
Before his passing, the boy's body was robbed of speech and movement by Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable and incurable cancer on the brain stem. Liam was diagnosed about a year ago, according to KRCR.
"It's been a long year battle, knowing what he had, trying to make every day happy for him, even though through the pain he was going through, the radiation treatments and the chemotherapy, he would smile,” said Liam's father, Howard Salmon. “The nurses would all flock around him and he would take it just to be happy. And that little boy fought for everything he had. He's well missed."
While talking to KRCR, the Salmon family invited the public to join their son's last ride in Howard's truck. During the interview, FedEx driver Jordan Meaders showed up with something he had wanted to give Liam, but never got the chance to.
"I made a promise, and I didn't keep it. But you guys have your own FedEx truck now," Meaders said as he handed a toy-sized truck to the young boy’s father.
“That little boy fought for everything he had. He's well missed,” added Salmon.