From left: Reggie Barrows, Charlton Paul Jr. and Rich Miller. (Paul via UPS; Barrows and Miller provided by family)
Three members of the trucking industry who demonstrated courage and selflessness during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic were honored during American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.
The 2020 COVID Heroes Awards were presented by Transport Topics on Oct. 27 during MCE, which was held virtually this year due to coronavirus-related safety concerns. The awards were presented in partnership with TrueNorth Cos., a risk management and insurance brokerage firm.
The three recipients were FedEx Express driver Reggie Barrows, UPS Freight driver Charlton Paul Jr. and Rich Miller, owner of Roberts, Wis.-based Miller Transfer Inc. Each person contributed to the well-being of his community while displaying dedication and professionalism as a representative of the industry. All three were also among those chosen earlier as Trucking's Frontline Heroes by Transport Topics in a series that spotlighted members of the industry who went above and beyond the call of duty to keep essential goods flowing during the pandemic.
Saluting the men and women of the trucking industry who kept America's essential goods flowing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hardworking professionals in the trucking industry always deliver for the nation, but this year has put the spotlight on just how important these individuals are to the country,” said TT Executive Editor Joe Howard. “We are proud to honor these three remarkable people.”
Barrows, who has been with FedEx Express for 28 years, provided parcels and positivity to people as he made his deliveries in Falmouth, Mass. Located on Cape Cod, Falmouth is a town of about 31,000 people. The 62-year-old Barrows participated in a project created by a local photographer, Lee Geishecker, who took family photos on front porches in an effort to lift people’s spirits. Instead of charging for the photos, she asked for donations to the local food pantry.
This picture of Barrows by photographer Lee Geishecker helped jump-start a fund-raising project for a local food pantry. (VagabondView Photography)
Barrows encouraged other people to participate in the photo project, too. Some 245 families posed, and the collection raised $30,000 in donations.
“FedEx Express is proud of the positive contributions its team members make in their communities across the world every day,” said Don Colleran, president of FedEx Express. “We applaud the actions of Reggie Barrows, whose acts of kindness and commitment to deliver the Purple Promise helped his community manage the challenging early days of the pandemic.”
Paul, a 50-year-old UPS Freight driver from Chester, N.Y., found a way to help his hometown during the pandemic. Paul, who has been driving for 24 years, has volunteered for the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region in New York, built ramps and houses for people in need and taken part in hurricane relief efforts. Using his local and professional connections, Paul coordinated the delivery of 1,000 masks, 200 bottles of hand sanitizer and 4,500 pairs of gloves to Chester.
The town of Chester, N.Y., recognized Charlton Paul Jr.'s contributions after he delivered personal protective equipment that was donated by UPS. (UPS Inc.)
The third honoree is Miller, who hails from western Wisconsin. A milk hauler by trade, Miller has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and blood disorders for the last 4 1/2 years. When the pandemic struck, the western Wisconsin communities that specialize in dairy production found that demand had dropped. Without the reliability of wholesale and retail businesses to send their goods, many dairy farmers faced the difficult prospect of dumping their products.
Miller, 50, and his friend, Don Timmerman, created a cheese curd donation program at the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. He gradually widened the program’s range, contributing $5,000 of his personal funds and seeking out new donors. Word spread, and the cheese curd relief program received more than $60,000 in donations, resulting in the movement of over 28,000 pounds of cheese. Although weakness from chemotherapy treatments prevented him from making deliveries, Miller’s friends pitched in to ensure that curds were donated to more than 30 schools and 25 food pantries.
Sidelined by chemotherapy effects, Miller did the phone and computer legwork to raise funds and counted on girlfriend Jennifer Heinbuch, right, and friends Don Timmerman and John Vrieze to deliver donated cheese curds. (Family photo)
“This year, our three honorees showed selflessness, hope and resilience in the midst of a global pandemic,” said ATA Chairman Randy Guillot, president of Louisiana companies Triple G Express and Southeastern Motor Freight. “They are the COVID heroes.”
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