September is one of my favorite months of the year because in September we celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation Week! This year it's happening on the 13th - 19th. How awesome is it that there is an entire week dedicated to appreciating, thanking, and honoring drivers?
Everyone in the trucking industry will put their differences about the issues aside and express collective gratitude to the men and women whose hard work and dedication keep this country running. It's pretty great!
So what's the BIG problem with Driver Appreciation Week?
The problem is that the trucking industry stands, for the most part, alone in the celebration.
Transportation industry related businesses and organizations will be pulling out all the stops to recognize highway professionals. There will be no shortage of social media posts, videos, contests, tee shirts, and every other type of recognition you can imagine.
But that recognition will be contained within the realm of our industry.
I'm sure there will be mentions on news programs and maybe the average non-industry person will hear about it. But why is it that the jubilation the trucking industry will experience between the 13th and the 19th won't spread outside of trucking?
My best answer is that most folks who aren't part of trucking's seven million person strong work force don't realize how important drivers are to our national infrastructure and framework. I'd like to think that if they were in on America's best kept secret, they would be celebrating with the same fervor as the rest of us industry people.
How do we get the message to America? I'll tell you that there is always an a-ha moment when ever I tell an outsider how important drivers are, but most people may never fully appreciate how much we need drivers. They may never understand or comprehend the sacrifices drivers make or the vital role they play -- unless someone tells them.
Clearly, we've succeeded in getting this message across to our entire industry. But our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to saturate the mass media and educate the non-industry public about the importance of drivers.
The more people outside the industry that get it, the more advocates drivers will have. Maybe more people will be kinder to semis on the highways, and maybe drivers will finally get the mass amount of recognition they deserve. And above all, maybe we can make every week Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
So, how do we spread the word? What do we need to do as the members of the trucking industry to get this message outside of our own industry's borders? That, my friends, is the topic of next week's blog.
Below is a video I made to educate the American public about the importance of drivers. Be sure to watch until the very end because it asks an important question that I think all Americans need to answer.
Contributing author, Jewel Jones was raised in the trucking industry. Her father started Meadow Lark, a freight logistics and trucking company, 30 years ago. Today, Jewel’s sister Mandy owns Meadow Lark Companies, and together they founded the first and only work wear clothing line just for truck drivers, Over the Road Apparel. The goal of Over the Road Apparel is to improve the image of the American truck driver and to help drivers everywhere succeed and enhance their careers. Jewel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.