Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Or free health screenings for that matter.
During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW) September 13-19 truckers can enjoy some free meals, have their blood pressure checked for free, rack up extra points at truck stops for fuel and merchandise and watch some heart-felt thank-you videos on social media, just to mention a few events.
Truckers should check with their carrier to see what’s being offered where and when. And owner-operators should take a look at their most-frequented truck stops, hubs and headquarters to see what the offerings are for the week.
Following are some — but by no means all — of the activities going on as part of the annual celebration in alphabetical order.
• American Trucking Associations will be running “Thank a Truck Driver” ads in a number of local papers; hosting an event at ATA Chairman Duane Long’s facility, Longistics, in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 18 for the business community where they will be broadcasting live satellite feeds to stations across the U.S. asking all to thank a driver. ATA also will be handing out T-shirts at different events throughout the week with its America’s Road Team Captains. The trucking lobby has also submitted op-ed pieces across the U.S. in local newspapers and will be using social media to boost the week and last but not least is hosting a video contest for drivers describing what they like best about their jobs, what they deliver and describing the favorite part of their rig.
• Baylor Trucking out of Milan, Indiana, is making videos thanking the drivers to show in the driver rooms, where they are also offering food and drinks for drivers.
• Brenny Specialized and Brenny Transportation at St. Cloud, Minnesota, are holding potlucks, grilling up tasty outdoor fare, handing out cookies and hosting a movie day during NTDAW.
• Calark will be holding its annual driver appreciation activities Sept. 14-18th. They will be serving lunch (usually hamburgers, hot dogs, side dishes and cold drinks) everyday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will be held in the warehouse. Trivia games and music will be part of the festivities and prizes for CalArk drivers have been donated by various vendors.
• During the week (September 14-18) at Celadon Trucking radio personality Steve Sommers from America’s Truckin’ Network will tape his show Monday through Thursday at carrier headquarters (http://www.700wlw.com/onair/americas-truckin-network-235/), while Tom Griswold and Kristi Lee from the nationally-syndicated Bob and Tom Show (www.bobandtom.com) will be making an appearance on Friday. Something special will be going on each week day at Celadon: Monday is “thank a driver day”; Tuesday will focus on driver wellness; Wednesday is Food Truck Day; Thursday’s Monumental Day will celebrate drivers’ many accomplishments and on Friday drivers will get a chance to “dunk” their driver managers. Special meals will be served throughout the week as well.
• Central Freight Lines is turning its weekly driver meetings into celebrations with breakfast provided with account managers attending meetings to personally thank their drivers. As the drivers are leaving the yard staff will pass out bottles of iced water for their trips and notes are being stapled to the driver manifests signed by everyone in the terminal thanking drivers for their dedication to the job. Signs in the front of the terminals announce “National Driver Appreciation Week” and “Central Freight Lines Drivers Rock!”
• All throughout the week Con-way Truckload terminal managers will be grilling out at terminals to provide lunch for their professional drivers. They will also be handing out random items like hats and shirts at the events and in addition there will be a number of prize giveaways for the drivers. Drivers unable to make it to a terminal will be reimbursed a $15 meal on the road. “We celebrate our company and independent contractor drivers,” said Con-way officials, adding that customers such as Sears and Transplace are making thank-you cards to give to drivers.
• All C.R. England major facilities and schools will be holding an event. Executives from the company will be serving food and giving out a T-shirt to every driver. Our Dedicated and Intermodal locations will also be holding events for their specific fleets where food and T-shirts will be passed out as well (about 30 locations total). In Salt Lake City, C.R. England is holding an BBQ with a band on Monday. Tuesday-Thursday they will have a Safety Awareness Lunch and Learn for all drivers. Friday, the carrier will hold a banquet for new drivers being inducted into the “Gene England Million Miler Club.”
• D.M. Bowman in Williamsport, Maryland, is holding prize giveaways and luncheons for their drivers during NTDAW. They present drivers with useful giveaways they can carry with them in the truck and use while on the road.
• Fleetmaster Express Owner and President Carl Bumgarner will participate in a week that celebrates his drivers: “Much of our past success is attributable to the high level of professionalism from our drivers. This week we offer our thanks to these men and women for their outstanding safe service and contribution to getting the freight to our nation’s doorstep,” he said. As part of its appreciation effects, Fleetmaster is giving each of its drivers a duffle bag and hat, both printed with the company logo, a $50 Walmart gift card, as well as other promotional items. There will be daily raffles of valuable items purchased by the company as well as items donated from vendors such as tires, gift cards, and other prizes.
• General Mills is sponsoring driver events during NTDAW across North America at all its plants, distribution centers and some of its contract manufacturing locations.
• Jet Express in Dayton, Ohio, will be hosting a barbecue at their terminals with prize give-a-ways, raffles, food and fun and inviting their vendors, political leaders and media to join in and say thank you to all truck drivers.
• Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is giving away 1 million My Love Rewards points to one lucky professional driver for NTDAW. Professional drivers can enter to win the 1 million My Love Rewards points, a $10,000 retail value at Love’s, by swiping their My Love Rewards card on fuel, merchandise or tire care purchases in store during the weeklong event. Every swipe earns an additional entry into the sweepstakes. Up to 10,000 My Love Rewards card members can win 10,000 points instantly, a $100 retail value at Love’s, during the week. Just come into a Love’s and swipe your My Love Rewards card to see if you are one of the 10,000 lucky winners.
My Love Rewards members earn free shower and drink refill credits with every fuel purchase of 50 gallons or more.
• Perdue Farms is encouraging its salaried associates to ride along with professional drivers during the week and is also hosting cook-outs for drivers at various locations throughout the country. The senior management team members, including Chairman Jim Perdue, will participate in rides with drivers.
• Pilot Flying J will celebrate Driver Appreciation Week from September 13-19, and honor professional drivers throughout the entire month of September, with special experiences and prizes, as well as free daily deals. This month they’re announcing the winners of the 2015 Road Warrior program honoring professional drivers who demonstrate hard work, generosity and bravery. Pilot Flying J will reward five regional winners with $1,000. From September 14-30, individuals can vote on the $10,000 grand prize winner on roadwarrior.pilotflyingj.com. Pilot Flying J will also surprise one deserving driver with a custom cab of their dreams, exclusively designed for comfort, efficiency and style. On the Pilot Flying J Facebook page on September 21 the video reveal will be shown. Throughout September, Pilot Flying J will celebrate all drivers by offering hot weekly and daily deals on customer favorites, such as coffee, grill items, energy drinks and more. Additionally, those pumping diesel fuel will receive one additional point for each gallon purchased when using their rewards card at participating Pilot and Flying J locations. Other deals include a free grill item with purchase of a PhilMor mug or refill – September 7-13; a free PhilMor coffee refill from 2-6 p.m. – September 14-20; and free daily deals on items such as energy drinks, sodas, snacks, etc., with purchase of PhilMor mug or refill – September 21-30.
• Proclamations from a number of states recognizing NTDAW and honoring drivers have been announced including but not limited to North Carolina, Louisiana and California.
• Regency Transportation will hold a cookout at its main location in Franklin, Massachusetts. Driver raffles will be held all week for five Samsung Galaxy tablets, 15 Blue Parrott headsets and a 50-inch LCD TV from Daniel Lacroix, a recruiter at Regency.
• RWI Transportation will have daily food, hourly giveaways from 9-5 Monday-Friday, and each operator will receive gifts and free truck washes.
• Schneider holds two major “thank-you” and appreciation events each year, a large one in June and one almost as big during NTDAW. During those times the tents and grills come out at more than 100 Schneider locations and thousands of drivers come through for free food and drink and a chance to tell executives what’s going out on the road and receive personal thanks for a job well done. In addition, letters from children of Schneider associates with original thanks and adorned with their bright orange artwork are given out to the drivers. The summer and fall events are putting “structure” around thanks that are an everyday event.
• Shorepower will be giving away free power to drivers at all 62 Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) host sites during the week of September 14-20. An interactive map with real time availability can be found at www.shorepowerconnect.com. The promotion offers 10 complimentary hours and is available to anyone that registers for a free Shorepower account (or is already registered) and uses the Promo Code: DAW2015. Trucking-related businesses will be honoring hard-working drivers all week long.
• Lyn Simon of Simon Transport caught salmon in Alaska and they are having a cook out for all their drivers and he's cooking up the salmon.
• Tennant Truck Lines is bringing in a footwear company and allowing all their drivers to get fitted for work boots on the company — and is holding a number of barbecues for the drivers as well.
• TravelCenters of America/Petro Stopping Centers have set up a schedule of site events that began at the end of August and will run through the month of September. Each TA or Petro schedules and holds their own Driver Appreciation event during this time window. They did this so drivers would feel appreciated more than a single week. Within their travels, they have the opportunity to experience several events throughout the period. At each event they will have standard T-shirt giveaways supporting the mission of truck driving and pet bandanas for their favorite four-legged companions. Then each truck stop location puts its own spin on the event. Some have prize wheels, games and concerts while others will wash windows of the trucks, hand out water or fresh fruit. TA/Petro also created an appreciation video that can be viewed at http://www.viddler.com/v/811cf064 .
• Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) will be placing ads in a number of papers across the U.S. and op-ed articles as well as using social media to promote truck drivers. In fact, check out this awesome video by TMAF at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RVYDPyKyb8&feature=youtu.be.
• Truckload Carriers Association is holding its annual health fairs during NTDAW. Any professional truck driver holding a CDL is welcome to stop by one of the following TA/Petro locations between 3-6 p.m. on September 15: TA Eloy (AZ); Petro Ontario East (CA); TA Cartersville (GA); TA Boise (ID)*; TA Clayton (IN); Petro Clearwater (MN); TA Pembroke (NY); TA West Greenwich (RI); and the TA New Braunfels (TX). LPNs and RNs will be at each location administering blood pressure screenings and glucose tests and a Walgreen’s professional will also be on-site to offer flu shots. Supplies are limited to 75 per event. The events above with an * will have a Sam’s Club or Walmart professional on-site to conduct vision and hearing tests as well. Drivers at the health fairs can give the activity wheel a spin, play a game of corn hole, talk with health care professionals and gather various educational brochures. Other activities will vary by location, but could include things like basketball, pet adoption, truck windshield washing stations, and more. In addition, sleep apnea specialists, fitness coaches, and local celebrities may participate, and
Universal Lumpers will show its appreciation for each of these men and women who deliver at UL facilities with verbal acknowledgement in person by each of UL’s team members, a free gift that includes a car charger, warm coffee and doughnuts. UL recognizes the importance of their partnership. Drivers hire UL instead of unloading themselves, and UL helps drivers leave the distribution centers quickly and efficiently. Distribution centers were UL teams are located include Denver–Safeway DC; Tracy–Safeway DC; Santa Fe Springs–Vons DC; Houston–Randall’s DC; Dallas–Tom Thumb DC; Portland–Safeway DC; Spokane–Safeway DC; Tempe–Safeway DC; Tempe–Americold/Safeway DC; Denver–Americold DC and King Soopers DC.
• Utility Trailer Sales of Central California Inc. is putting up banners to thank their customers.The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at email@example.com.
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