Women in Trucking Association
The announcement was made during the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel event, hosted by WIT at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The event honors female commercial drivers for their efforts and successes in the trucking industry.

Five Good Things: Honoring veterans and award winners

March 29, 2024
Brown Dog Carriers and Wreaths Across America are planning to honor veterans, while the TCA, WIT, and Lytx name new award winners.

It’s early in 2024 still, but the trucking industry is already naming 2024 industry award winners and planning to honor veterans later this year. Check out the award winners and remembrance plans in this week’s Five Good Things.

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Brown Dog Carriers to host The Wall That Heals in Biddeford, Maine, this July

Maine-based transportation and logistics company Brown Dog Carriers recently announced at Truckload 2024, the Truckload Carriers Association’s annual Convention, that it will host The Wall That Heals, a three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a mobile Education Center, from July 18 through July 21.

The replica, open 24 hours a day and free to the public, will be located at Biddeford Middle School, 25 Tiger Way, Biddeford. The Wall That Heals honors the more than three million Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, and it bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

“Southern Maine was honored to have The Wall That Heals in the area last September, and I was determined to have it return so that more people could be educated about this important time in our nation’s history,” said Graig Morin, president of Brown Dog Carriers. “We are honored to be able to partner with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and welcome back The Wall to Maine this summer. The goal of all those involved is to bring together community members, local VSOs, and youth programs to honor and remember all those who served in Vietnam.”

USAA sponsors the 2024 national The Wall That Heals tour. The exhibit can travel nationwide through a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association, the trucking industry, and Blue Beacon. Local sponsors include the Brown Dog Carriers, the City of Biddeford, Biddeford Schools, and the national nonprofit Wreaths Across America.

“The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is pleased to bring The Wall That Heals mobile exhibit to Biddeford to allow local veterans and their family members a chance to experience The Wall,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF. “Hosting The Wall That Heals provides an opportunity to honor and remember all those who served and sacrificed in the Vietnam War and educate visitors on the continuing impact of the Vietnam War on America.”

The Wall That Heals is transported from community to community in a 53-foot trailer. When parked, the trailer opens with exhibits built into its sides, allowing it to serve as a mobile Education Center telling the story of the Vietnam War, The Wall, and the divisive era in American history.

Three professional drivers recognized as 2023 TCA Highway Angels of the Year

Professional truck drivers Tony Blunnie of Knight Transportation, Dawna Jacobsen of Erb Transport, and Terry Reavis of Maverick Transportation have been named the 2023 TCA Highway Angels of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association. This is the first year that TCA has recognized more than one Highway Angel of the Year, and these professional drivers were announced and celebrated at a luncheon awards program held at TCA’s annual convention in Nashville. TCA Highway Angel sponsors EpicVue and Northland Insurance introduced the TCA Highway Angels of the Year, and standing ovations followed each driver.

Here are TCA 2023 Highway Angels of the Year’s stories:

Tony Blunnie turned a dire situation into a tale of heroism on February 15, 2023. While training a driver on Interstate 20 in Jackson, Mississippi, Anthony witnessed a devastating crash that left a van in flames and its female driver in peril. Without hesitation, he instructed his trainee to pull over before grabbing his fire extinguisher, leaping into action, battling the fire, and breaking the van windows to extract her from the wreck before the vehicle was engulfed.

Dawna Jacobsen’s heroic story happened in December 2022, when Dawna was driving along Highway 11 in Northern Ontario and came across a harrowing scene. A group of friends had been attempting to cross the highway on snowmobiles, but one hadn’t made it in time to avoid being struck by an oncoming vehicle. Upon witnessing the snowmobile accident, she maneuvered her truck to shield the boy and signal to other drivers to avoid the scene, protecting him from further injury.

Terry Reavis came across a catastrophic collision on February 19, 2023, on I-95 in Brunswick, Georgia, when he witnessed a pickup truck drive backward across three lanes of traffic and get t-boned by an SUV. Reavis was one of the first on the scene and didn’t hesitate to assist, rescuing three children and aiding an injured woman until help arrived. His 27 years of experience and training as a first responder enabled him to manage one of the worst accidents he’s ever seen, ensuring no lives were lost.

Each driver will receive a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flatscreen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to more than 100 channels of DIRECTV programming, including premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and the NFL Sunday Ticket.

Wreaths Across America relaunches its virtual convoy

At the Mid-America Trucking Show, Wreaths Across America relaunched its virtual convoy program, Truckloads of Remembrance, for 2024.

With the participation of 36 state trucking associations in its inaugural year, the 2023 virtual convoy facilitated the sponsorship of 7,129 veterans’ wreaths, which is nearly two full trailer loads, for placement on National Wreaths Across America Day. WAA looks forward to the growth of the state association program in 2024 and will continue to raise awareness and support the mission across the states. 

This year, WAA aims to expand this initiative and invite all national transportation associations and other industry nonprofits to join the effort in honoring servicemembers with sponsored veterans’ wreaths to be placed by volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery on National Wreaths Across America Day, Saturday, December 14, 2024.

Through Truckloads of Remembrance, WAA seeks to fill a virtual tractor-trailer load of sponsored veterans’ wreaths from each of the 50 states. Hometown heroes from every state are buried at Arlington, with more than 260,000 eligible markers for veterans’ wreaths to be placed. This is more than 260,000 servicemembers whose names will be said out loud and remembered as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.

Each association or nonprofit registers through WAA as a Payback Sponsorship Group. For each $17 veteran’s wreath sponsorship made through this group, $5 will be returned to the nonprofit for their programs. Since 2007, Wreaths Across America has given back $25 million to various charities, veteran service organizations, youth groups, and industry associations through its Sponsorship Group Program.

“By registering as a payback group, each organization can raise funds for their local programs while supporting the yearlong mission and honoring local heroes who were not laid to rest locally,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of WAA. “I have long said that it would be disingenuous of us as an organization whose mission is to remember, honor, and teach if we do not support those giving back in their communities throughout the year.”

See also: Cool, custom, chrome: MATS 2024 PKY Truck Beauty contestants

Women In Trucking Association announces 2024 Drivers of the Year

The Women In Trucking Association has announced three drivers as the winners of the fifth annual Driver of the Year award sponsored by Walmart.  

The 2024 Drivers of the Year are: 

The announcement was made during the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel event hosted by WIT at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The event honors female commercial drivers for their efforts and successes in the trucking industry.  

“All of these deserving drivers are members of the WIT Image Team,” said Jennifer Hedrick, WIT president and CEO. “They represent the WIT mission and participate in ride-along events for legislators, regulators, and industry leaders to provide a deeper understanding of the obstacles they face on the road. They also speak to the media and other industry professionals at public events and industry trade shows.”

Carmen Anderson, a company driver at America’s Service Line, has 2.5 million safe-driving miles. In 2015, she won the South Dakota Truck Driving championship and competed in nationals in St. Louis. Two years later, she was selected for the Wisconsin Road Team. In August 2019, she was named the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association Driver of the Month. She also won the WMCA 2019 Driver of the Year, the first woman to be named the sole recipient of the award. Anderson is a lifetime member of WIT and a lifetime member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. She also serves on the organizing committee for the South Dakota Special Olympics. She was named one of the WIT Top Women to Watch in Transportation in 2021. She is trained to recognize and prevent human trafficking through her involvement with Truckers Against Trafficking and has appeared on TV news to speak on the topic.

Deb LaBree became a professional truck driver in 2006. She is an independent owner-operator of Castle Transport and has been leased to Landstar since June 2014. She is well known for mentoring other business capacity owners within Landstar and has received the Bronze and Silver Star of Quality awards from Landstar for customer service and mentorship.  

For her entire career, LaBree has been a team driver with her husband, Del. She has received the safety award every year since she began driving and was named the NASTC Driver of the Year in 2020. LaBree has been instrumental in growing and managing the WIT Facebook group, which has more than 11,000 active members. She was also the July 2020 WIT Member of the Month and is a past WIT board member.  

LaBree has shared her experience as a guest on SiriusXM’s Dave Nemo Show and Women In Trucking Show. Other media appearances include NBC, Today with Megyn Kelley, Wall Street Journal, and various industry publication interviews. She also volunteers to participate as a research subject for various college projects. 

Jodi Edwards has been a professional driver with J.B. Hunt Transport for more than 25 years, during which she has driven more than 2 million miles collision-free. Throughout her career, Edwards has exemplified a passion for safety and professionalism and is an encouraging advocate for women entering the transportation industry. Among her many accomplishments, she has been named Driver of the Year for her region and has received multiple safe driving awards at J.B. Hunt. Edwards has been a Smith System certified instructor for more than 10 years and has been a driver trainer at J.B. Hunt for more than 20 years, where she continues to share her wisdom and experience while driving with J.B. Hunt’s intermodal division. 

Edwards has been recognized nationally for her professional achievements, being interviewed for industry publications as well as sharing her thoughts live on the Sirius XM radio show “Road Dog Trucking.” She is a cherished member of the J.B. Hunt family and an important voice and ally for women throughout the transportation industry.

 

Lytx awards top drivers and coaches for commitment to road safety

Lytx, a provider of video telematics, recently recognized the winners of the 2024 Driver and Coach of the Year awards and their positive influence on roadway safety. Each winner successfully implemented the Lytx Driver Safety Program, which combines machine vision and artificial intelligence technology with customizable coaching tools and reporting, to advance their fleet safety skills.

“One of the biggest highlights of our year is hearing the amazing stories and appreciating all of the incredible work that our driving and coaching professionals are performing,” said Jeff Martin, Lytx’s VP of global sales strategy. “Knowing that our state-of-the-art safety tools, combined with these exceptional individual skillsets, are making a positive impact on today’s roadways is deeply gratifying. This effort is at the core of our company’s mission and vision.”

The 2024 honorees were nominated by their peers and managers who identified them for demonstrating exceptional work in the fields of services/utilities, transit/motor coach, for-hire trucking, private truck fleet/distribution, and waste/construction. After reviewing a record number of nominations, Lytx selected the top three drivers and top three coaches from each of the five categories.

The first-place driver winners are:

The first-place coach winners are:

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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