A professional driver of more than 27 years, Mike Sheeds has over 3.5 million safe driving miles under his belt. Sheeds has trained more than 300 students throughout his career. (Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J has announced the winners of its fourth annual Road Warrior program, recognizing the “heroes on the road” with cash prizes.
Mike Sheeds of Bandera, Texas, Terry Lee of Robert, Louisiana, and Desiree Ridley of Davenport, Florida, have been named the grand, second and third place Road Warrior winners respectively.
Pilot Flying J hosts the annual online contest to show appreciation for professional drivers who go the extra mile to ensure that products and goods are delivered safely, securely and on time to keep the country running efficiently. Each year, Road Warrior winners are nominated by co-workers, friends and families of professional drivers across the U.S. for their hard work, perseverance and passion for driving. This year’s winners stood out from a field of almost 5,000 participants.
As winners of the fourth annual Road Warrior contest, Sheeds will receive $10,000, Lee will receive $5,000 and Ridley will receive $2,500, and all will join an exclusive group of past program winners. Nominators of these three winners will also receive a $500 prize.
“This year’s Road Warrior winners are inspiring and exceptional representations of the professional driver community,” said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. “These unsung heroes are on the road day in and day out to provide our country with the goods that make daily life possible. The Road Warrior program is our way of thanking professional drivers.”
America’s 3.8 million truck drivers are an integral piece of the country’s infrastructure, Parent said. This year’s Road Warriors are each making strong contributions to the professional driving community in different ways:
Mike Sheeds, grand prize winner: A professional driver of more than 27 years, Sheeds has more than 3.5 million safe driving miles under his belt. Sheeds has trained over 300 students throughout his career, teaching the importance of safety above all else. His awards and accolades speak to his achievements on the road, but pale in comparison to his dedication to his family. Sheeds and his wife have four adopted daughters, each born drug and/or alcohol exposed and surviving trauma, abuse and neglect. While driving can be a demanding career, Sheeds always prioritizes spending time with family and advocating for his children.
Terry Lee, second place winner: Lee began his professional driving career 34 years ago while serving in the army in the Middle East. Lee has overcome many adversities throughout his life including rebuilding his family’s home after losing it to a flood and being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia stage two blood cancer. None of these hardships hindered his dedication to driving, and he is still on the road today making his family proud.
Desiree Ridley, third place winner: Ridley, a long-haul driver who joined the professional driving community when she turned 21, is an advocate of millennial women breaking barriers in the professional driving industry. Throughout her recent pregnancy, Ridley continued to show dedication and passion for her job, driving until she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. Even as a new mother, she continues to drive (now locally) six days a week while caring for her family. No matter what comes her way, Ridley handles it with strength and finesse — on and off the road.
“I am so humbled to be chosen as a Road Warrior winner,” said Sheeds. “Driving has been part of my life for almost 30 years, and teaching aspiring professional drivers to prioritize safety above all else is what has remained most important to me throughout my career. Experience will never trump physics, and I encourage all drivers to remember this on the road. I’d like to thank my wife for nominating me and always believing in me, and all of the inspiring pro drivers I’ve met throughout my journey.”
To learn more about the Road Warrior program and read about the winners, visit www.RoadWarrior.PilotFlyingJ.com.