Americans celebrate all sorts of holidays and holiday miracles. But, as Santa One gets prepped this week for its annual Christmas Eve run, it's important to celebrate one of the most amazing wonders of all--how those holiday gifts and groceries really get into our stores and homes--America's truck drivers.
In the late summer and fall, many of the items Americans will be purchasing during the holiday shopping season begin making their way across the country. And our nation's drivers--like Paul Jones of South Plainfield, NJ--step up their miles and tonnage. Then, as shoppers strip shelves and stock rooms, other carriers help stores restock with runs from regional warehouses.
In the meantime, grocery stores that have already loaded up for Thanksgiving--thanks to truckers like Shawn Ragan of Howard, CO--must immediately reload for the December holidays. Across the country, many prepare to host friends and relatives, and once again grocery shelves must be stocked and restocked. From purveyor to warehouse to store, those goods are moved by truck.
Then there are the package delivery trucks and vans that seem to be everywhere at this time of year. How is it possible you can order a gift online or from a catalog and it can be delivered to your home in a matter of days? You guessed it: commercial drivers. I've even seen some of these drivers delivering gifts on Christmas Day.
While many of us are celebrating holidays this week and next, someone has to keep the goods we need flowing from port or farm or factory to the stores in your area. As the rest of us are gathering with our families and visiting with friends, many of America's truckers are out there on the highways, far from home, hauling the loads we often take for granted.
And many drivers--like Fran Shannon Lucore, Donald Cox, and Regina Black--are putting in extra hours this week so other drivers with kids won't have to. They are willingly hitting the road so their colleagues who have young children can be home to share the holidays with their kids.
And of all the millions of tons of goods carried and millions of miles driven, commercial drivers are keeping our economy moving with record safety. Of the overall decline in 2008 motor vehicle fatalities, large trucks led the way among all categories of vehicles with a 15.9 percent drop from 2007.
So as the holidays fast approach and last-minute shopping beckons, please remember that those goods on the store shelves didn't get their by themselves. And not all the credit goes to Santa. So thanks to America's truck drivers, for all you do to make the holidays merry and bright.