Mail Contractor of America driver Eddie Felks is still trucking for love
After he fell in love and got married, 18-year-old Eddie Felks needed a job to support his and his wife’s new life together. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with his newfound career as a professional truck driver.
“Oh, I just love driving a truck,” Felks says.
Felks started driving full-time in 1963 with Ward Anderson Movers in his first truck, a 1956 Emory International. Afterward, he jumped around to three other companies: Warner Continental Freight Line, Builders Transportation and Wright Transportation. He also became an owner-operator for three years before taking his current job at Mail Contractors of America in 1993.
Today, at 66, he’s still infatuated with his wife and his career. During his 48 years as a driver, Felks has logged millions of accident-free miles, including 1.6 million miles at Mail Contractor of America, where he was named Driver of the Year in 2002 and 2006.
Felks attributes his safe-driving achievements to keeping a clear mind. “When I get in my truck, I put everything out of my mind but what I’m doing,” Felks says. “I leave my problems at home.”
“It’s my goal to be safe on the road. I want to keep the load claims-free and protect others on the roadways around me.”
The Lepanto, Ark., resident drives a dedicated route from Memphis to New Orleans. He hauls mostly rural areas and volunteers for the Mail Contractors of America safety committees in his spare time.
Felks says he’s been able to stick with the company for 18 years because he enjoys hauling mail. “Even though I’m not employed by the government, I feel like I’m doing a small part to get the mail to where it’s supposed to be,” Felk says.
While working at Mail Contractors of America, based in Arkansas, Felks says his driving skills were tested when he blew a steer tire on a 23-mile bridge coming out of Louisiana. Even though he managed to get his truck under control, he says that staying alert is a key factor.
“These things happen,” Felks says. “You have to stay on your toes at all times.”
With his three children and six grandchildren, Felks says he will continue to strive for greatness in everything that he does, to set the best example for his family.
Editor’s note: Eddie Felks is a finalist in the 2011 Company Driver of the Year contest, sponsored by Cummins Engines and Ram, and produced by Truckers News and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner, to be announced at TCA’s annual convention March 4-7, 2012, in Orlando, Fla., will win a Cummins-powered Ram pickup.
Q and A
Q: What’s one thing you always carry with you on the road?
A: A New Testament is always in my bag.
Q: What advice would you give younger drivers?
A: Stay alert, be polite and do your best.
Q: What is your most memorable moment in your years of trucking?
A: When my second child was born, I was in Oklahoma City. I called the hospital and my wife told me we had a new daughter.