What do all these things have in common: medical supplies, prescriptions, milk, bread, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, formula, soup, cleaning products, eggs, cereal, gasoline, a good pair of walking shoes and toys?
You might reasonably answer that all these are things you would need or want during the current pandemic. The truth is, all of these items, and countless others, are being delivered every day by a professional truck driver. These courageous men and women are keeping our nation going during these trying times.
If you look at the roads and highways across the county, you notice a stunning decline in the number of cars on the roads these days. What you don’t see is a reduction in the number of trucks delivering what our nation needs every day. In fact, you may actually see more trucks serving America in this time of need.
The brave men and women supplying our daily needs cannot be overlooked for the contributions they are making. Every day in the news, one governmental official or another is talking about the “supply chain” and how America’s supply chain is strong. Each and every one of these men and women, along with their truck, is an irreplaceable link in that chain. The critical importance of each truck cannot be understated.
In addition to these front line professionals, the personnel in their support network are keeping America running. The trucking companies, the dispatchers, the mechanics, the dock workers and the truck stop workers, just to name a few, are critical components to America’s supply chain.
Spring is coming. It will not be delayed by COVID-19. Farmers will need to get into their fields and plant crops. They will need seed, fertilizer, fuel and many other supplies. Crops from the past season will need to get to market. Feed will need to be delivered to livestock. And you guessed it, all of these products will be delivered by a professional truck driver.
Our drivers are facing many challenges in these unprecedented times. Truck stop restaurants are closed, rest areas have limited or no access, being away from family for extended periods of time and picking up or delivering a load to a location they have not previously been are all new challenges for our nation’s professional drivers. They too have questions without answers about what is happening and what might happen next.
Despite it all, these men and women continue, day in and day out, to deliver for America. These men and women proudly do what they do, not just for a paycheck, but because they know the load in the back of their trailer is going to help keep America fed and equipped and supplied.
During these unprecedented times, there are countless heroes across America — medical providers, first responders, law enforcement, store workers, gas station staff, pharmacists, care givers, postal workers — and, yes, truck drivers.
Chances are you know a truck driver, or someone who supports the trucking industry. Next time you see them, offer them a simple thank you. They do more than you know.
Dan Savaloja, of Blaine, is a transportation attorney and a member of the board of the Minnesota Trucking Association.