Drivers sign up for giveaways at Randall’s Truck Driver Appreciation Day event.
Hundreds of truckers took a break at the Petro Stopping Center on Interstate 20/59 near Bessemer, Ala., in August for good food and great prizes at a Truck Driver Appreciation event sponsored by Truckers News and Overdrive magazines and eTrucker.com.
Many were like Luis Maldorado, a Schneider National driver from Dallas who says he’s a loyal reader of Overdrive. “This is great,” he says. “I usually miss my company’s appreciation day because I’m on the road.”
While Maldorado enjoyed the food and the music, Quality Carriers driver Robert McAda walked away with several prizes, including a KoolMate Electric Igloo Cooler, donated by Southeast Logistics. The trucker from Lake Jackson, Texas, says, “This cooler is great. Now I can save some money.”
In addition to the hamburgers, hot dogs and soft drinks served by the Randall Publishing Co. magazine staffers, truckers received goodie bags with promotional items and were eligible to win drawings for larger prizes.
Ramiro Ramas, a driver for USA Carriers of Eddenburg, Texas, says more companies should hold appreciation events. “We need more things like this out here,” he says. “Any little thing helps make being on the road easier.”
The appreciation event was one of many being held Aug. 22-28 during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2004, designated to honor the United States’ 3 million-plus professional truck drivers.
During the annual celebration, some carriers, state trucking associations and industry manufacturers and suppliers honor drivers with meals, safety awards, cash bonuses, gifts or in other ways.
“America’s truck drivers deserve our thanks for delivering the things we need safely, efficiently and on time,” says Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations. “With trucking delivering nearly 70 percent of the freight moved in this country, and with 80 percent of our communities depending solely on trucking to deliver their food, clothing and other necessities, it is an important job, and the men and women who do it deserve our thanks.”
Sponsors for the Petro event were Truckmate, Benefit Solutions Group, Coast to Coast, Macneil Automotives, DieCast Promotions, Tonkin Replicas, VTTA, Better Bicycle, Hammerlane, Mirror Light, Gaither’s Tool Co., Gorilla Glue and Cigarettes America, Magnet Paints, National Tax Negotiators Inc., Osborn Transportation, BATCO, Apex Capital, Taylor Wings, Transport Service Association, Omni Communications, TruckersMall.net, Kross Transportation, 1st Guard Corp. and Excell Transportation.
Former Cummins Leader, Philanthropist Left Mark on Community
J. Irwin Miller, who transformed Cummins Engine from a family business into a Fortune 500 company, died Aug. 16 at age 95.
The social activist and philanthropist led Cummins for more than 40 years. He joined Cummins in 1934 and became its president in 1945.
Miller spent much time growing up in Clessie Cummins’ workshop. Cummins founded Cummins Engine Co. in 1919 and had been the Miller family’s chauffeur. The family invested heavily in the Cummins engine, and Irwin Miller’s uncle, W. G. Miller, served as one of the principals and a board member.
Irwin Miller went to work for Cummins in 1934 as the company’s second general manager, became its president in 1945 and board chairman in 1951.
He served as president of the National Council of Churches from 1960 to 1963 and helped organize the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, D.C. Also that year, he helped organize the National Conference on Race and Religion.
Miller is also credited with making his hometown of Columbus, Ind., into a city of architectural masterpieces. He asked the Cummins Engine Foundation in the 1950s and 1960s to pay the fees of outstanding architects who were commissioned by Columbus to design public buildings.
He is survived b, Xenia, his wife of 61 years, five children and 10 grandchildren. A memorial service was held Aug. 21 at Columbus’ North Christian Church.
Trucker Mark McCallister of Magnolia, Texas, hasn’t let cancer keep him down. He is currently battling the disease, and he is still on the road with Clark Freight Lines out of Pasadena, Texas.
“This guy refuses to give up,” says McCallister’s longtime friend and fellow trucker Terry Engles.
McCallister, 42, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in his left arm during the summer of 1999, after his wife Cynthia urged him to go to a free cancer screening.
McCallister underwent treatment and two surgeries for the melanoma. After the last surgery in 2001, he was in remission. But then he was diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, in his leg and groin.
“Now the leg is the main problem,” Cynthia says.
She accompanies him on his East Coast hauls, running the navigation and routing while McCallister drives. McCallister tries to get out and work out his leg as often as possible while on the road, and they will often park farther out at truckstops and rest areas so he can get the extra exercise.
McCallister has had his medical card taken away twice and currently has no medical insurance at all. But Cynthia says he is looking to get insured through the VA. McCallister served in the military for a short time as a teenager and was given medical honorable discharge.
In spite of his own troubles, McCallister has taken time out to help others. He rescued a baby from a burning car in Birmingham, Ala., in 2003.
“He got up in there and found out there was a baby and got it out,” Cynthia says. “He got a little stuck in there himself, and it was full of smoke. It was a wonderful thing. He has done so much for so many people. He’s a very proud man out here.”
Cynthia also looks back with a laugh on another Birmingham adventure, when McCallister left her behind at a Petro truckstop late one night. McCallister had asked if she wanted out of the cab. She said no but later changed her mind, and McCallister left, thinking she was still in the sleeper. Cynthia got the help of state troopers to track her husband down and reunite.
The McCallisters renewed their 20-year wedding vows on June 19 this year with a Western-themed ceremony, complete with white Western shirts, cowboy hats and a cowboy preacher.
“It was all Mark’s planning on that,” Cynthia says. “It was really a great event that he did himself