Make-A-Wish
Make A Wish Truck

Five Good Things: Granting wishes and continuing Ukraine support

March 3, 2023
In this week's blog of good trucking news: Continued support for the Ukrainian people, fundraising for Make-A-Wish, and coaching the next generation on trucking's cybersecurity challenges.

Winter snow thaws as we roll into March, and nothing can stop trucking as it supports children, refugees, and its own workers in this week's blog on Five Good Things in trucking.

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Daimler continues Ukraine support with $1 million donation

Daimler Truck AG has donated one million euros (1,059,050 dollars) to the people of Ukraine. The sum will be split equally between the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the German Red Cross e.V., and the World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations.

In 2022 the company and its employees had already donated money, goods, and vehicles for aid convoys with a total value of over 2.3 million euros, according to a press release. Volunteer drivers have brought more than 200 truck convoys with around 3,700 tons of relief supplies to Ukraine.

Martin Daum, Daimler Truck AG’s CEO, said, "The war in Ukraine has been going on for a year now and is bringing enormous suffering to countless people. It is a great need for us as Daimler Truck to make a further contribution here to make the situation on the ground a little more bearable."

In addition to supporting the Ukrainian population and continuing to provide trucks and transport capacities, Daimler Truck is also currently coordinating relief efforts for people in the earthquake zone in the Turkish-Syrian border region.

See also: Five Good Things: Trucking responds with earthquake relief

Engine oil company matches Make-A-Wish donations

Diesel engine lubricant brand Hot Shot’s Secret is pledging up to $5,000 of matched donations to the Make-A-Wish chapter that serves Philadelphia, Delaware, and the Susquehanna Valley. Money can be raised on Hot Shot Secret’s donation page.

Make-A-Wish grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The Mother’s Day Truck Convoy financially supports 75% of wishes granted in communities located in the Susquehanna Valley—the region bordering the Susquehanna River in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

This year’s goal for the Make-A-Wish chapter is to raise $700,000 through donations and the Mother’s Day Truck Convoy and Carnival that will occur at the Manheim, Pennsylvania, Auto Auction on May 14, 2023.

In addition to being a community celebration that draws thousands of families and community members to the event with games, entertainment, food trucks, and more, independent drivers and trucking companies raise funds to help reach the goals set by this chapter with their Mother’s Day convoy. Last year close to 500 drivers and companies participated. Hot Shot’s Secret came in second in the amount of money raised.

Hot Shot’s Secret brand manager Josh Steinmetz said, “We enthusiastically support this great cause and as of today, our team is in the lead for fundraising. We hope that even if you cannot participate in the event, you may be inclined to add funds to help make sure these children have a truly meaningful and memorable experience.”

NMFTA sponsors CyberTruck Challenge for university students, potential industry workers

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) will once again be the lead sponsor for CyberTruck Challenge—a five-day gathering in which college students from the U.S. and Canada learn about cybersecurity challenges in less-than-truckload (LTL) trucking, and about related career opportunities in the industry.

The 2023 CyberTruck Challenge will occur June 12-16 at the Macomb Community College Sports and Expo Center in Warren, Michigan. It is the sixth time the event has been held since its inception in 2017 (with 2020 skipped because of the coronavirus pandemic).

“Cybersecurity in LTL trucking is such a central part of NMFTA’s mission,” said NMFTA Executive Director Debbie Sparks. “In the six years we have supported CyberTruck Challenge, we have clearly seen the positive impact it’s had on the industry and its ability to stand up to threats in the digital space. We are very pleased to continue that support.”

A total of 47 students from 21 universities attended CyberTruck Challenge in 2022.

Students throughout North America are invited to attend the event, which includes hands-on instruction on various aspects of heavy-vehicle cybersecurity, as well as opportunities to start up a truck and get the feel for it. While technical skills are a plus, CyberTruck Challenge is mainly looking for enthusiasm from students for the event and its mission, NMFTA stated in its press release.

“For the newer student, success is when they get genuinely excited about doing this type of work, and from there, they go back to school, stay focused and ask to come back,” said Colorado State University’s Associate Professor Jeremy Daily and the lead organizer of the event. “They realize how much more they want to learn, and they go seek that out. They come back the following year with marked improvement in their skill set and the industry notices.”

Daily said students with a background in cybersecurity or trucking might come away with even more advanced ambitions.

“In this tier, someone who is job searching or has experience in a graduate program realizes the skills they’ve been acquiring over the last few years actually have relevance,” Daily said. “And they pursue a career in cybersecurity for transportation. The ultimate success is when our industry sponsors hire the CyberTruck alumni. And we’re very excited to say that has happened.”

As lead sponsor, NMFTA ensures that student lodging, meals, and airfare are covered. NMFTA also works to bring together trucking companies to participate and become acquainted with the participating students.

Women in Trucking Association honors veteran driver following her mother's legacy

The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has selected Ashley Leiva as its March 2023 Member of the Month. Leiva is the co-owner of Noemi Trucking in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Shortly after graduating high school, Leiva enlisted in the Army. During her 15 years in the military, she was a sergeant first class and worked as a culinary management non-commissioned officer, hauling equipment, food, and personnel to training and danger areas. She trained in many parts of the world, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia, and served two tours in Iraq.

Leiva’s mother, who she said has been her lifelong inspiration, was a professional driver for more than 20 years. Leiva took over her mother’s trucking company, formerly Leiva Trucking, after her mother’s death in 2021. She obtained her CDL to continue their mother’s legacy of hauling crude oil. Leiva and her brother have co-owned what is now Noemi Trucking, named in honor of their mother, for two years.

“The unique part of my job is not everyone can do what we do,” Leiva said. “Hauling crude oil is definitely a tough job, and it requires a lot of training and knowledge of your truck and trailer.”

In 2022, Leiva received the annual “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award during a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The award is part of an overall effort to inspire the hiring of more service members into the trucking industry and to recognize their contributions to the workforce. Additionally, this award included a Kenworth T680 Next Generation.

“I’m still in shock that I received such a prestigious award,” said Leiva, “I am so grateful, blessed, honored, and humbled.”

Leiva said she is thankful for the support from her family, community, and her mentor, Lynette Cervantes, the director at Del Mar College, where she obtained her CDL.

“As women, we are taught at a young age to be nurturers, but times have changed,” said Leiva. “We are strong, smart, adaptive, and intuitive. My daughter just turned six, and I hope one day I make her as proud as I am to be my mother’s daughter. My mom always told me to take the job that no one wants, and you will always be on top of the list to get the call first!”

Werner recognizes its safest drivers

Werner Enterprises (No. 13 on the FleetOwner 500: For-hire) recognized all professional drivers in attendance at its annual Holiday Gala who have achieved one million or more accident-free miles. A special retirement tribute was given to Charley Endorf, who is the only driver so far in Werner's history to accomplish more than 5 million accident-free miles. Professional drivers and office associates were also recognized in five award categories highlighting a variety of efforts. These included efforts in safety, sustainability, volunteerism, teamwork, and innovation.
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Scott Keith

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