In my opinion, in the same way healthcare workers and teachers deserve more than just one simple day or week of appreciation, Maine's many truckers deserve our thanks for all they have done to keep us stocked up during this pandemic. And while it happens to be National Truck Driver Appreciation Week this week, many of us tend to take for granted just what an important role truck drivers play in our day-to-day lives.

Everything from the mail you read to the milk you drink likely got from one point to another in the trailer of a truck. According to the Maine Motor Transport Association, there are over 5,000 Trucking companies in the state of Maine.

"84.4% of Maine communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods."

The men and women who drive these trucks, who on average earn just under $42,000 a year, make up a crucial part of the supply line in our state.

There is a push, state-wide, to hire more truck drivers, because of the essential role they play in transporting goods. The website, GoyourwayMaine.com, features information and videos on what life is like on the road, and what the process is like to get a job truck driving in Maine.

Check out this one, in which Kenny Chamberlin, owner of St. John Valley Transport, LLC,  shares how he got into the business and came to own his own trucking company at the age of 31.

And do you remember, back in July, that out-of-state truck driver who was in charge of transporting the mobile MRI Unit to MDI? What an amazing job he did, despite all the challenges he had to overcome, to get his payload to its destination. That was some impressive driving.

On top of having to undergo special training to get their commercial driver's license or CDL, these individuals have had to put up with more distracted drivers sharing the road, as of late, thanks to cell phones and tablets.

My friend, Luke Khols, grew up operating heavy farm equipment before "going pro" and becoming a commercial truck driver 31 years ago. I asked him what it was, initially, that drew him to that career.

"Seeing more of the states, as well as the money was better than what I went to college for (Broadcasting). I had to go where the money was for my growing family."

I asked Khols what was on his mind while he travels the roads, carrying cargo from one destination to another.

"Getting back home in 1 piece...because, there are a lot of drivers, not just cars, but other drivers, that are NOT paying attention to what they are doing."

In fact, Khols said he wished people that shared the road with truckers would understand just a couple of key concepts:

"Pease don't cut off big trucks. We cannot stop on a dime. It takes a big truck the length of 3 football fields to stop."

Another piece of advice he had: "When passing a big truck, do not stay along the side of the tires-- because if a tire would blow it will come at you, and it would be a bad day for everyone involved."

And lastly, Kohls says that regardless of what your instinct or intention might be, it's never a good idea to follow a truck too closely.

"Another one would be ... do not tailgate a semi because if we were to stop quickly the car would be eating the trailer bumper."

It's not an easy job, but it's definitely essential. We thank truck drivers today, tomorrow and every day, for keeping us stocked up with the important things we need, especially through these past two years, and this entire Covid-19 Pandemic. Thank you for all that you do.

Stay safe out there.

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