National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Professional truck drivers are often overlooked as a vital part of the U.S. economy and infrastructure. Without their services, we would be limited in our ability to access even the essentials such as food and health products, not to mention limited in our choices and our ability to operate businesses beyond the local reach of customers. And for many Native Americans living in remote reservation communities, truck drivers are often the bridge between limited goods and no goods at all.
This week, we’re taking a moment to recognize National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (Sept. 9-15) in honor of the 3.5 million professional men and women who safely deliver critical goods and resources over our nation’s highways. PWNA specifically thanks the many drivers who make serving our program partners on remote tribal lands possible. We are proud of our drivers and know their commitment enables us to continue to be a reliable resource to our partners on the reservations.
Truck drivers are the ambassadors and front line of service in PWNA’s quest to improve the lives of 250,000 Native Americans, annually. Each week, we deploy a fleet of tractor trailers and box trucks from our warehouses in Phoenix, Arizona and Rapid City, South Dakota to deliver supplies to tribal communities spanning a 12-state region.
Truck drivers often start their day before sunrise with loading times as early as 4 a.m. to ensure they’re on the road in time to complete deliveries while adhering to the 11-hour delivery window allotted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
PWNA drivers travel more than 200,000 miles throughout the year in rugged terrain and fueling their deliveries can cost as much as $95,000. Deliveries continue throughout the winter months, and some reservation roads are unpaved, adding wear and tear to the vehicles and limiting the number of providers who can reach these areas.
“Waking up to bad weather is always a challenge when you drive a truck for PWNA,” recalls Jim Perry, one of PWNA’s drivers for the Southwest.
The need for supplies and services only heightens when weather and road conditions change, and the supplies PWNA drivers transport make all the difference for those tribal communities that may be otherwise left without access to needed supplies.
Like all PWNA drivers, Jim knows the importance of his deliveries. “Regardless of inclement weather, PWNA is a consistent resource to the tribes and my work is at the heart of our mission — getting critical products to those in need.”
And despite the long hours and variables, our drivers such as Jim keep their spirits high. “It’s simple. I’m proud to drive for PWNA because I’m part of something that is good.”