Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

OOIDA Member Bill Willis of Gentry, Ariz., would like to send out some ROSES to Cargill Meat Solutions of Wichita, Kan.

Bill had been driving for a small carrier who was leased to the company when his truck broke down in Augusta, Ga. Bill says the carrier told him he was on his own and refused to help him get back home. And this was with an ice storm bearing down on the area.

Bill called Cargill, and they sent him enough money to get back on the road and return home. What’s more, Bill said Cargill is getting him hooked up with another small carrier that has worked with the company for 15 years.

In a time when we hear so many stories about companies who don’t treat drivers right, it’s good to know there are some out there who still get it. 

ROSES to OOIDA Member Don “Jailbird” Schmidt and all of the other drivers involved with the JBC group. The JBC group started out as a phone conference call for about seven drivers, but has now turned into a group of 30 drivers who had the idea to start doing work for charity.

They started off small with a couple of fundraisers, but have since affiliated themselves with Truckers United For Charities – another group well-deserving of some ROSES while we’re at it. At this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show, they intend to raise money for OOIDA’s Truckers for Troops program and the OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Fund.

But don’t think that’s why we’re giving them the ROSES. We just like to acknowledge any time a group of truckers decide to get together and make a positive contribution to the industry.

RAZZBERRIES to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the abuses of authority it has continued to exhibit over the years. As if more than doubling tolls for five-axle trucks on the George Washington Bridge wasn’t bad enough, last fall the authority closed three lanes of traffic on the bridge for seemingly no reason – a move that caused massive traffic tie-ups and that opponents say was politically motivated.

Although the Port Authority says it was conducting a traffic safety study (how it planned to do that by making conditions unsafe, we don’t know), the closure was enough to prompt hearings from state legislative committees and ultimately got the attention of the U.S. Senate Committee on Science and Transportation. In December, committee chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia fired off letters to the Port Authority and DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx questioning the management of the Port Authority and calling its actions “a significant abuse of power.”

Sounds as if the Port Authority needs to learn that just because it has the word “authority” in its name does not mean that its authority is absolute.

We have to give out ROSES to all of the supporters of the Wreaths Across America program, which places memorial wreaths on the graves of veterans across the country each holiday season. But we also have to single out Walmart, which, in its six years of supporting the program, has donated more than $1.1 million in wreaths and $775,000 for transportation. Nearly $450,000 of that money came just this past year alone. So a big salute to Walmart, the drivers and everyone else who gets involved with this program every year. And an even bigger salute to the veterans themselves, who gave a sacrifice we can never repay.

RAZZBERRIES to Brian Bolduc, a state representative in Maine, who sent out an email blasting the truckers – logging truckers in particular – that he says make too much noise passing through his neighborhood.

In the email, he wrote, “One look at them and you can see they probably don’t have a whole hell of allot of brains in their heads.” Those misspellings and grammar mistakes are his, by the way, not ours.

He goes on to demand that more police cars be stationed in the neighborhood or else “I’ll have every damned resident of this town who lives on a busy road in that city council chamber.” 

We all know that people sometimes get upset about trucks driving through their neighborhood and that there are some bad apples out there who make more noise than they should, but for a public official to trash an entire profession over a minor annoyance is ridiculous. We’re willing to bet this guy has no idea how many truckers live in his voting district. Bet he’ll find that out come Election Day. LL


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