Joyce Sauer Brenny, President
Brenny Transportation Inc., St. Joseph
Truck Driver Appreciation Week is Sept. 15-21, which is the perfect time to recognize a friend, a hero and a true legend of the trucking industry.
Our community should be so proud that Eddie Supan, a lifelong resident of St. Joseph, lived within our midst. To say the least, Eddie was a trucking hero. Eddie delivered America’s goods and served the trucking industry for more than 50 years. He drove his last mile on earth Sept. 12, 2012.
Remembering Eddie should remind each of us to appreciate the sacrifice truck drivers make for our communities every day. Like many over-the-road truck drivers, Eddie left his adoring wife, Joan, and three beautiful daughters for weeks on end to deliver America’s freight. Eddie never looked for a pat on the back or any special recognition for the amazing job he did. Most professional truck drivers hold the same humble quality as Eddie did. Truck drivers are far too humble to proclaim, “Without truck drivers, America stops!” And it’s true because more than 90 percent of America’s goods are hauled by truck, not by train as many would have you believe.
Very few individuals know how it feels to live the life of a trucking family. Can you imagine how heart-breaking it would be to hold your children as you watch your loved one drive away in his or her semi truck? Trucking families rarely know how long it will be until they see their loved one again. Truck drivers’ families never get recognition or even concern from others for what they endure. Can you picture yourself raising children and dealing with car and home repairs all by yourself? Try to imagine the pain of having your children seldom see their daddy’s smiling face in the audience at the school play. And God knows no one will ever say “I am sorry” to trucking families when their loved one is injured or dies because a motorist caused a crash.
Truck drivers are the safest drivers on the roads. Do you know more than 80 percent of all accidents in which semi trucks are involved are caused by motorists? More laws and rules are aimed at truck drivers than any other professionals in our country. Once you obtain a commercial driver’s license, even your personal time must be accounted for. Can you imagine your life under such scrutiny, lack of privacy, all while facing an extreme lack of respect? Professional truck drivers endure more than the American public will ever know. It’s amazing professional truck drivers keep on trucking in spite of such treatment. There really is a human being behind the iron and steel of that truck, a human with thoughts, feelings and a family who loves them.
During Truck Driver Appreciation Week, I challenge each of you to extend a thank you and some gratitude to this country’s professional truck drivers. I doubly challenge shippers and receivers to treat professional truck drivers with respect and to value their time. Maybe a warm “good morning,” some coffee and clean restrooms would be a start. Our country is dealing with an issue right now that few know about, which is a serious shortage of professional truck drivers. It’s estimated we will need at least 250,000 truck drivers once the economy fully recovers. It will be impossible to recover from this truck-driver shortage if we continue to undervalue these amazing people. You have an opportunity to do something about this truck-driver shortage.
If you work at a business that uses semi trucks, walk out to your docks and see how your people treat the truck drivers. I hope your company cares and will work to improve the respect and treatment of professional truck drivers. We should show them how much they are needed. After all, many of these truck drivers and their families are your company’s customers, and like Eddie, they also live and shop in your communities. Too many people fail to realize professional truck drivers are also consumers. They buy your products; please treat them like a customer. And for God’s sake, please drive safely around semi trucks, for your life and for the life of the professional truck driver.
Eddie Supan was very proud to be a truck driver, and his family was proud to be a trucking family. Brenny Transportation is proud to serve the trucking industry, and we are very proud Eddie chose Brenny to finish his truck-driving career. Eddie loved working with Brenny because he was shown the respect he deserved. We look forward to a time when everyone shows professional truck drivers how much they are respected and needed.
Truck Diver Appreciation Week is the perfect time to remember Eddie, as well as all professional truck drivers in our country, because the reality is – (and I am not afraid to loudly proclaim!), “Without truck drivers, America really does stop.”