Recognizing America’s Road Warriors: Nominate your Trucking Inspiration
Every industry has their pioneers, heroes, and legends that inspire us, trucking is no exception. Every day the men and women of the trucking industry go above and beyond what should be expected to perform their jobs. The vast majority of drivers would just tell you it is nothing out of the ordinary they are just doing their jobs. Whether they stop to lend aid to a stranded motorist, provide aid and comfort and the scene of a tragic accident, or notify the police of a suspicious incident that could be human trafficking; these are the things that most drivers consider part of the job.
Other drivers have served as trailblazers making it possible for other drivers to be in the industry today. Drivers such as the “Carolina Monkey Gouger” who had to go then-Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole to get a medical waiver to be allowed to drive truck. Gouger had been driving a truck for years when with changes in licensing he was told without a waiver due to his prosthetic arm his career was over. He presented his case over and over to retain his ability to drive finally being heard and having it granted by Dole.
“Bitzy” Gomez who was a single mom and truck driver back in the 70’s. She had to go to court to fight for the right to be able to work driving truck an keep custody of her kids. As it was felt that a female could not be a responsible parent and a truck driver, that trucking was not a fit occupation for a woman. She also led the fight for women to be accepted in the industry. Bitzy sacrificed a great deal to be able to provide for her daughters, she is virtually unknown today, but without her efforts, it is questionable how open driving would be to women today.
More recent is Clinton Blackburn who stopped to render aid for a police officer being attacked by a prisoner he was transporting. Many believe that he saved the officer’s life by stopping to help when no one else would. Or Darrell Cloyd who stopped at the scene of an accident to help a young woman escape from her burning vehicle while others stood by watching and videotaping. He helped her to safety and provided comfort to her while waiting for Emergency Services, praying for her. Unfortunately, the young lady later succumbed to her injuries. The family has expressed their gratitude to him for providing comfort and aid when no one else would.
These stories and more can be found in the history of trucking. Truck drivers are the unsung heroes and Highway Angels that provide comfort and aid to strangers in their darkest of hours. Each year Pilot Flying J takes time to help recognize some of these drivers with their annual Road Warrior program. Through December 31st, the Road Warrior program will recognize the “heroes on the road” by encouraging online story submissions, spotlighting professional drivers’ hard work, perseverance, and passion for the trucking industry. The winner will be recognized with a $10,000 prize, with the second place receiving 5,000 and third place 2,500.
“Anyone with a professional driver in their life knows the job is not for the faint of heart. It takes smarts, selflessness and a special kind of work ethic to transport the country and make our ways of life possible.” “The Road Warrior program is designed to raise awareness for the tireless and critical work of professional drivers and thank them for a job well done,” according to Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J.
Last year’s winner Jacqueline Rocha a long haul driver who joined the professional driving community just after turning 21, was named the 2016 Road Warrior winner. Rocha was recognized by Pilot Flying J for being an advocate of the industry, encouraging millennials and females to consider careers in trucking. She is a great example of what this contest represents.
This is a great opportunity to recognize the drivers who we feel have contributed to the industry. Whether it is through their professionalism in how they represent the industry, community service, an act of kindness, or heroism on the road. All too often drivers are criticised for things they have little or no control over. Here is a great opportunity to recognize the drivers who work hard daily to present our industry in a positive light. Who do you want to nominate as your Road Warrior???