September 11, 2022, marks the start of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week—a weeklong celebration of the professional truck drivers who undertake one of the American economy’s most essential jobs. It is an opportunity for Americans nationwide to pay their respects to drivers for getting behind the wheel each day, delivering our goods safely and on time, while helping to keep our roads and highways safe.
Showing Thanks to the Nation’s Drivers
The past two years have been especially demanding for truck drivers as they’ve had to navigate the complexities of the global pandemic and challenges across the supply chain. Throughout National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, companies and citizens in all 50 states will express their gratitude to drivers for their extraordinary job in keeping the economy and industries moving forward during these difficult times.
“From life-saving medical supplies to the food on our tables, many aspects of our daily lives are made possible because of the important work of truck drivers. At CalAmp, we applaud your continuous dedication, resolve and commitment to road safety. And, we thank you for every mile driven,” said Jeff Gardner, president and CEO, CalAmp.
During the week, businesses are showing their appreciation by hosting luncheons and providing thank you gifts for drivers. There are #ThankATrucker billboards up on highways and freeways across the country. To do our part in showing thanks, CalAmp has teamed up with UPS to shine a light on one exemplary truck driver—Cleveland (Cleve) Francis, a tractor-trailer driver with over 55 years of driving experience and a stellar safety record with UPS.
Above and Beyond the Commitment to Safety
Based out of the UPS Louisville Centennial Hub in Kentucky, Cleve first joined UPS as a delivery driver on May 22, 1967. Since day one, his commitment to safety is unwavering—both with regards to the safety of other drivers who share the road and of his local community. While working as a package delivery driver in 1979, Cleve saved the life of Mr. Davidson, a diabetic customer who had fallen and broken his shoulder.
Cleve saw Mr. Davidson regularly as he had his diabetes medication delivered to his home. Due to his diabetes, Mr. Davidson had his foot amputated and was therefore unable to get up following his fall. He laid there in his garage for 48 hours before Cleve found him while on his route. Cleve immediately called for emergency medical personnel and stayed at Mr. Davidson’s side until they arrived. The medical team personnel said Mr. Davidson would have died within 12 hours if Cleve had not found him.
In It for the Long Haul
In the 1980s, UPS was ramping up its operations near the Louisville International Airport, which opened the opportunity for Cleve to take on the new role of feeder driver within UPS’ tractor-trailer driver group. He would remain in this group for the course of his career. Over the years, Cleve would witness many changes at UPS—from facility moves to job changes, and tremendous growth. What remains unchanged is his commitment to safety and service.
Today, Cleve is the most senior active Circle of Honor driver at UPS with the most years of safe driving among all tractor trailer drivers and delivery drivers. He continues to make the trip from Louisville to Union City, Tennessee — a more than 500-mile, round-trip route.
“We could not be prouder of Cleve’s accomplishment and commitment to driving safely for himself, his family and our communities. He leads all Circle of Honor drivers with 55 years of safe driving. The UPS Circle of Honor has more than 10,500 active members who have driven safely for 25 years or more,” said Todd Wachter, global fleet safety director, UPS.
“Cleve is a one-of-a-kind driver who loves to drive. You can say driving is his hobby. Not many drivers these days have the drive and dedication to service like him,” said Wall Stanley, Louisville feeder on-road supervisor, UPS. “On days that he has an empty trailer on his way back to Louisville, he will call the Knoxville or Lexington hub just to see if they need help moving loads. This is not part of his schedule, but he will do it to help out.”
On the 55-year journey that he’s been on, Cleve commented, “I enjoy driving. And UPS has been good to me. I will continue to drive for a while longer.”
In recognition of Cleve’s achievements, CalAmp and UPS have presented him with a care package and gift certificate. We encourage everyone to join in and #ThankATrucker and #ThankAUPSer not just during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week but everyday for their contributions to our lives.