Every year, The American Trucking Association marks one week specifically as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week to recognize drivers throughout our country. The second week of September was deemed as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week this year. Bennett International Group, LLC kicked off with festivities during the week of September 8 as staff and leaders of the company acknowledged professional drivers, owner-operators and all those for their commitment to the trucking industry. This week is just one of many that Bennett appreciates its drivers throughout the year.
As part of Driver Appreciation Day activities, Bennett hosted the Second Annual Wreaths of Honor Ride on September 12. The escorted motorcycle procession started at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and went through Henry County, Georgia to raise awareness for Wreaths Across America. The convoy included 7 custom-wrapped tractor trailers honoring armed forces, first responders, the Heritage Park Museum and Wreaths Across America. The one-hour ride, escorted by law enforcement ended at Bennett’s home office as over 100 employees waved American flags and cheered on the procession.
Bennett president and CEO, Marcia Taylor, Andersonville National Cemetery Administrator Charles Barr, Lee Gentry and keynote speaker, Debbie Sparks, Director of Transportation and Community Outreach at Wreaths Across America all addressed the crowd at the event. In addition, remarks were made by state and local officials as they joined in to support Bennett’s mission of supporting Wreaths Across America. Jim Utley, VP of Government Services at Bennett and a Retired Colonel in the US Army led a special recognition during the ceremony. Each branch of the armed forces was honored as the team drivers that participated in the convoy placed a wreath next to the designated armed forces flag to represent the fallen veterans at Andersonville National Cemetery. Bennett’s goal this year is to raise enough money to cover 15,000 of the 20,200 graves at Andersonville National Cemetery. The Wreaths Across America Traveling Education Exhibit was set up at Bennett’s home office during the event and on Driver Appreciation Day for the general public and guests to view.
Bennett events kicked off at 16 field office locations beginning on September 7 in Phoenix, Arizona and will conclude on October 24 in Pendleton, Oregon. Throughout the United States, drivers participated in events at various locations. Games, giveaways, and raffles took place at most events, and several locations included a health fair that offered blood pressure screenings, flu shots, and more. Breakfast and lunch were served at most locations, and some locations held safety meetings.
And it was a picture-perfect day in McDonough on September 13 for the annual Health Fair and Driver Appreciation Day. For those who attended the event, there were numerous vendors offering health, wellness, driver and contractor services. Bennett’s wellness committee held a plank and rock-climbing wall challenge. In addition, raffles were held to raise funds for Bennett’s Driver Relief Fund, a fund administered by Bennett’s Driver Advisory Board to help drivers in times of need.
Later during the presentation, Marcia Taylor, president and CEO, announced the 2019 Women Driver of Excellence award winners during a special ceremony to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Women in the Driver’s Seat program. Every year through the program, a woman driver chosen for her positive impact in the industry is nominated by certain Bennett division’s. Those honored included Vallerie Hayden, Bennett Motor Express; Darla McDowell, Bennett DriveAway; Lisa Little, Bennett’s DriveAway RV division; Heidi Crosby, Bennett’s Truck Transport division; Terry Davis, Bennett’s Heavy and Specialized division; Violet Helferich, Ace Doran and Kara Leppert, BOSS Transportation Services. The very first Woman Driver of Excellence Award winner, Guadalupe ‘Lupe’ Potter with Bennett Motor Express, attended the event and was recognized during the ceremony. Bennett women drivers and women employees in all company locations across the U.S. donned the signature “Women in the Driver’s Seat” blue shirts to mark the special milestone. Members of the President’s Million Mile Club were also recognized and a special tribute video for the late J.W. Jackson played as he was honored for being part of the select few in the President’s Three Million Mile Club. In addition, drivers were inducted into the President’s Million, Two Million and Three Million Club for not only their loyalty to Bennett but the number of safe miles driven during their careers.
Altogether more than 400 drivers attended the events held throughout the week. For those not able to make it, there was Facebook live streaming of the event in McDonough. To learn more about Wreaths Across America or to sponsor a wreath, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/GA0213.