'That Is What I Like Doing, Helping People'
Saluting the men and women of the trucking industry who kept America's essential goods flowing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reggie Barrows did more than help deliver packages and smiles to customers in Falmouth, Mass., during the pandemic — he helped raise funds for a local food pantry as well. Read more of Barrows' story here.
“It’s just how things are, it’s just crazy though. We’re busier than ever and it’s hard to talk about, it’s just overwhelming. But you know, you just get out there and get the job done and that’s it.”
Hi, I’m Marissa Gamache of Transport Topics, and this is Trucking’s Frontline Heroes, the series that spotlights the men and women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep America’s essential goods flowing during the coronavirus pandemic. Today we’d like to introduce to you Reggie Barrows, a driver with FedEx Express for nearly 30 years. Not only has he worked day and night during the pandemic delivering packages to residents in Falmouth, Mass., but Reggie has also played a pivotal role in drumming up donations for his local food pantry. Take a look at his story.
“Well what really happened is, there is this lady, she was going around and taking pictures, her name was Lee, and so she was going around taking pictures of people on their porches and stuff. So, she saw me and goes, 'I need to take a picture of you,' so I said yea okay whatever and I had no clue what she was up to. So, then she posted it and everything and it just started rolling and everybody was like, 'Oh I saw Reggie on this post,' and it was great.”
Really by accident, Barrows became a local figurehead for photographer Lee Geishecker’s version of the national “Front Steps Project,” in which she photographed families on their front porches. Rather than charge the families for the photos, Geishecker asked them to donate money to the Falmouth Service Center. In a six-week time frame, the project generated more than $30,000 for the organization.
“Right now, more people need help than we think, because a lot of them, I am not saying lost their jobs, but they lost hours or something, so they needed help. Basically, my parents are the ones that really made me realize, you know, to help out people and do things [for others] all the time, and I turned it onto my kids too, so they try to do things and they are always with us for donations.”
During the COVID era, Barrows’ typical work day has changed. His 75-to-80 package deliveries per day has turned to 100-plus. And customers have been more cautious, less likely to strike up the casual conversations he used to love having. The donation drive became a way for him to give back to a community that, like so many others across the world, has shifted under the strain of the pandemic.
“To me it is the right thing to do, to help out everybody and do the right thing. To me, my job was made for me, because that is what I like doing, helping people. So, every time I deliver a package, I am helping somebody. It has been a good ride though; it has been awesome.”
Reggie Barrows is just one of several industry heroes we're spotlighting in our new special section devoted to Trucking’s Frontline Heroes. Make sure to check out the others at ttn.ws/heroes. I’m Marissa Gamache, we’ll see you next time.