JOPLIN, Mo. — They drive across our nation’s highways and interstates every day.
And today, some area truck drivers were given a little something extra. All part of “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.”
One of the biggest employers in the Joplin area is the trucking industry.
And Wednesday, members of the Missouri Trucking Association as well as representatives from some of the biggest trucking companies in Joplin spent their day saying thanks to the rank and file drivers going through the Westbound I-44 weigh station.
“Today we’re handing out bags that have key chains, stickers, safety information, also lip balm, tire tread depth gauge so truck drivers can check their depth on their tires, things like that,” said David White, Safety Supervisor, Prime Inc.
The occasion was truck driver appreciation week.
And Andy Standefer says there’s never been a more satisfying time to drive a big rig.
“I think everybody recalls throughout the pandemic last year you know just how necessary professional drivers are when you start seeing your store shelves go empty, it really became apparent to the general public an an industry, we value and appreciate our professional drivers,” said Andy Standefer, Senior Manager-Safety CFI.
But CFI, is just one of the success stories when it comes to a transportation company that started small.
D&D Sexton is celebrating its 40th year in business. Danny Sexton and his brother started it back in 1981.
“We started with one truck and one trailer and now we are sitting roughly a hundred and thirty units with 300 trailers and roughly as far as employees are around 200 plus,” said Danny Sexton, Vice President, D&D Sexton Inc.
Located near the central part of the country, and with highway access in all four directions, the region has grown into a trucking hub.
The only factor holding back these four state based companies from even more growth, a lack of drivers.
“Are you hoping that maybe people that used to do this for a living might get back into this?” asked Stuart Price, Reporter.
“Oh it’s always good to get people back in the saddle again so to speak,” Standefer replied.
“As we get older, you know a lot of people have retired and are getting in the trucking industry, which is not a bad idea because you know the kids are all grown and out on their own, it could be a husband and wife or whoever and run as a team,” said Sexton.