In a new op-ed / from-the-road testimony, Jeff Clark, longtime owner-operator and now company driver for a few years with Paper Transport, addressed a general audience about his experience “Trucking in the pandemic,” as the piece is called. It went live yesterday at the website of radio and CNN host Michael Smerconish.
You may have heard a little of what Clark relates in the story in last week’s edition of Overdrive Radio, where he could be heard chronicling his story of a coffee and a snack of pop tarts whose small tab, along with an unknown number of others, was picked up by an anonymous donor at Love’s in Menomonie, Wis.:
The quote in the headline on this blog post is from Clark’s piece. He went on to disavow any kind of “hero” label for working drivers (though he does insist the message of public appreciation for the work so many are doing is helpful for his own and surely some others’ morale out there). The real heroes? “Those medical people on the front lines are heroes,” Clark writes. “We are the supply line.”
Closer perhaps to heroic, he feels, too, are those staffing and supporting drivers at the truck stops, to whom he is grateful for the risk they take to keep him going: They “deserve our thanks and a pay raise. They can’t work from home,” he writes — or from the cab of a truck, for that matter. “They have hundreds of contacts per day. I average about five.”
Just a short note here on Channel 19 today to say that Clark’s full piece is worth taking the time to read. Speaking directly to the public, he stresses the senselessness of hoarding, the ability of supply chains to keep up fairly simply in its absence (and signs it’s ebbed quite a bit since the beginning of all this aren’t hard to find). That is, as long as the denial one hears from some quarters continues to take a backseat to adequate measures of protection on the road.
In the final analysis, as Clark writes:
Every time I get back in my truck I am cleaning my hands and steering wheel with disinfectant. Really smart people are studying this virus, and they are learning more and more about it everyday. We will get through this.
P.S.: One more thing, almost forgot. As he’s done in the past, Jeff Clark noted he’s available for the as yet not permanently filled position in the Administrator’s chair at FMCSA. Find a past candidacy of his via this link.