Brigette Fry is known as the "Green Ribbons" lady of Williamstown, PA. The activist wife of OOIDA member Paul Fry is a feisty ex-trucker who uses online resources to reach out and educate others about the trucking industry. She also hands out green ribbons (the color of money) in schools and truckstops, hoping it will make a difference in the way truckers are treated.
Brigette says she's not alone in her efforts. Two other women, both involved in thetrucking industry, have established websites in support of the Green Ribbon campaign, and trucking wives and their families in 37 states have given away more than 8,000 green ribbons.
Brigette uses her knowledge of trucking to make a difference in three target issues that affect the industry, including hours of service, more places for truckers to rest, and the way truckers are treated at warehouses. "We are tackling problems in force rather than one on one," she says. "Pretty soon they'll have to pay attention and hear us."
She was motivated to establish the campaign when she took a trip in the truck to Texas with her husband last summer and saw up close some of the problems truckers face. "With the lack of respect for professional drivers, it's no wonder they go back on the road angry," she says.
The green ribbon signifies respect for truckers
OOIDA member Paul Fry has been a trucker for 28 years and is also on the association's Call-to-Action grassroots team. Brigette drove with her husband for eight years before she decided to stay home to care for their three sons, whom she says are "heavy into sports." According to this ex-truckdriving wife and mom, her Green Ribbons campaign is an activity she can carry on and still stay home with her children.
Brigette began her grassroots activist efforts in Pennsylvania, but it has spread across the country via e-mail and her popular online trucking newsletter called "Traditions," in which she encourages readers to write and call their legislators to voice their concerns. Brigette urges her readers to share both positive and negative results.
"I told her this campaign idea was never going to work," Paul Fry told Land Line. "Now, I'm eating my words. That girl works day and night for her cause. Her latest cause was the Senate bill 2561 Call-to-Action. She spent hours at the local truckstop handing out literature to get SB 2561 vetoed."
Newspaper reporters who have interviewed Mrs. Fry describe her as a quiet and shy lady until riled. Brigette agrees with description, but says that she can't help getting fired up over abuses to truckdrivers. "We live in the high mountains of Pennsylvania and sometimes I see and hear about semis that wreck coming through the mountain passes. Our state closed four of our rest areas in August of last year on I-81 between Pine Grove and Scranton, PA. Now the drivers have to go another 80 miles before stopping." Brigette feels that the closures contribute to fatigue and may be related to the accidents.
Pennsylvania State Police agree with Brigette that trucker fatigue is a very real problem, but believe the closings were necessary. According to Timothy R. Kaercher, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the rest areas were closed because of trucker's trash left in the lots and "heavy criminal activity." Brigette wrote the highway department and told them she would personally go to the rest areas and mow the grass.
"I offered to sweep the lots and remove the trash," she says, "I care that much about the issue. But I never heard back from them." Currently, she has almost 2,000 signatures on a petition to open the Pennsylvania rest areas that were closed. LL -Donna Carlson
Any trucking family who would like to be a part of the "Green Ribbon Campaign" or receive the newsletter, write to:
Traditions Interstate Newsletter
P.O. Box 35
Williamstown, PA 17098
The website is http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/pluto/47