The Log Book is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: Pilot gifts throwback Peterbilt to driver after 40 years of safe driving, AIT Worldwide Logistics stays committed to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and J.B. Hunt gives additional $5 million to Arkansas Children’s health care initiatives. 

Pilot gifts custom Peterbilt to 40-year driver

In 1971, Daniel Abshire’s father, Jim, was the second driver to be hired by the trucking firm Pilot Co. Nine years later, Abshire joined his father as a driver for the company.

After his father became Pilot’s first lead driver and eventually retired from the company after 42 years, Daniel continued the Abshire legacy by taking his father’s place as lead driver in 2013.

This week, 40 years after Abshire started driving for the company, Pilot gifted him his dream truck: a Peterbilt Model 389, inspired by a photo with his father and his Pilot truck from the 1970s.

From Left to Right: James Pickrel, Joey Swafford, Keith Rowe, Daniel Abshire, Greg Arscott, Tim Bernier, Jamie Wells and Eric Shrepel. (Photo: Pilot Co.)

“I’m still in shock,” said Daniel Abshire in a release. “I wasn’t expecting to be recognized, let alone get a new truck to drive that also celebrates my dad’s time with Pilot. … We’ve always been part of the Pilot family, and the team here, especially the other drivers, always have been part of the Abshire family. That’s not lip service; it’s how we operate. This just illustrates how true it is. We are family.”

Dedication to Pilot was not the only reason the company rewarded Abshire. It was his outstanding safety record as well. Abshire has used a total of 200 million gallons of fuel over 2.5 million miles and racked up 9,800 Safety Days, which is equivalent to 26 years of safe driving. 

“Daniel is the best. And that’s because he learned from the best — his father, Jim,” said Pilot founder and Chairman Emeritus Jim Haslam.

“This job requires patience, endurance and a deep regard for everyone on the road. We are very proud of these two long and legendary careers and it’s an honor to recognize Daniel for his 40 years at Pilot with this specially designed Peterbilt truck.”

At the Pilot luncheon, Peterbilt executives were excited to share in the celebration of a driver dedicated to doing the essential work in its company’s vehicle.

“Everyone at Peterbilt would like to congratulate Daniel Abshire and the whole Abshire family for the millions of miles they have spent on the road delivering fuel for the Pilot Company. To be a part of this celebration is a privilege and we look forward to seeing Daniel on the road behind the wheel of his Peterbilt Model 389 outfitted with a throwback design honoring the legacy of his father,” said Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President Jason Skoog.

AIT Worldwide Logistics gives back through St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In 2017, the global supply chain company AIT Worldwide Logistics decided to take steps to define its company culture. After a voting process among AIT teammates, the company selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its flagship charitable partner.

Matt Sanders, public relations manager at AIT Worldwide Logistics, explained the reasoning behind the partnership, which announced this week it would enter into its fifth year.

“St. Jude has a global presence, with programs in the same regions where AIT teammates live and work, including Asia, Europe and North America,” he said. “The opportunity for teammates to support the families that depend on St. Jude is a substantial, rewarding way to give back to the community.”

AIT teammates at St. Jude Walk/Run event in San Diego. (Photo: AIT Worldwide Logistics)

To help support the cause, AIT employees attend over 80 of the St. Jude Walk/Run events that take place across the country, mostly in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness month when the company’s employees aim to raise $30,000 to be matched by AIT as well. 

Individual AIT stations, or offices, often hold their own events, too, including bake sales, pizza lunches and 50/50 raffles to raise funds for the organization’s programs. Since its initial partnership in 2017, AIT has been able to raise over $225,000 for St. Jude.

Sanders explained that not only has this partnership been rewarding for employees who participate in the events, but it has attracted recruits looking for a company that seeks to actively engage in its community.

“We are continuously seeing job applicants who cite the importance of giving back to the community,” he said. “In researching AIT, candidates frequently notice and ask us about our community programs. … Giving back and demonstrating care for the communities where we live and work is an important aspect of the culture and one we hope is important to any new teammate joining the AIT family.”

J.B. Hunt commits additional $5M to support children’s health care in Arkansas

More than 700,000 children who reside in Arkansas depend on the only child-focused health care system, Arkansas Children’s Inc. With two pediatric hospitals, a U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition center, statewide clinics and educational programs, the group aims to provide top-of-the-line care to adolescents.

On Thursday, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:JBHT) announced its continued support for the organization with a commitment of a $1 million annual gift for the next five years to help fund the expansion of Arkansas Children’s Northwest. The company has supported Arkansas Children’s initiatives for over four decades.

“The J.B. Hunt team has long been committed to Arkansas Children’s. There is a history of investing in community and health care. This new $5 million, five-year gift helps ensure Arkansas Children’s Northwest is right-sized to meet the community’s needs,” said Fred Scarborough, president of Arkansas Children’s Foundation. “Northwest Arkansas continues to grow at a rate that outpaces the rest of the state, and Arkansas Children’s Northwest is an integral part of our work to make Arkansas the safest, healthiest place to be a child.”

The gift is part of an overall $250 million campaign to support the future of children’s health care in Arkansas called Campaign for a Healthier Tomorrow. In total, the trucking and logistics company has raised $10 million toward the campaign since 2016.  

“J.B. Hunt is proud to extend our support for Arkansas Children’s as it continues advancing pediatric health care in this region,” said President and CEO John Roberts. “The hope that these extremely talented, driven professionals bring to our community is very special, and helping Arkansas Children’s expand its services and capabilities will benefit the diverse needs of the Northwest Arkansas community.”

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