It was my pleasure this month to read through nominations for our annual Owner/Operator of the Year Award, to be presented at the Fergus Truck Show July 23-25.
I read through the testimonials from truckers’ children and spouses, from people they’ve rescued and from employers and employees who’ve seen them at their best and worst. Pastors and friends wrote in, to attest to the devotion of these nominees to their communities and to their jobs.
And not surprisingly, I was thinking how hard it would be for the judging panel to pick just one, of so many deserving candidates, to be the 2004 Truck News/Truck West Owner/Operator of the Year.
And then I read the following:
“To whom it may concern: Every year you come out with this outrageous/dumb*** award thing it really gets my blood boiling.
“How can you possibly pick one O/O over any other?
“Because a person may have had the unfortunate timing to have been near an accident and felt (as we all would) the need to help, all of a sudden he is a hero and is a better O/O than me?
“Because he may run local and is home every night and weekends and can coach hockey and T-ball he is a better O/O than me?
“I say shame on you for comparing and making a competition out of our industry. I am, and have been an O/O for 24 years with no major accidents and one speeding ticket 14 years ago. I have been to every province and nearly every state. I am supporting a wife and four children and don’t get home much.
“But I suppose if I don’t get involved in activities outside of home or happen across someone that needs help I can never be worthy of your ‘truly awardable O/O.’
“My family tells me I am O/O of the century and that is good enough for me.”
The rest of the letter gets a little too profane for publication, but basically dares Truck News to publish it. So here it is.
And might I say, I agree with its writer, but with reservations. You can’t say someone is better than someone else just because of an isolated event or circumstances that mean they have more time for community involvement than someone else does. And there are plenty of great people out there who are deserving of recognition which they never get, many of them O/Os and some of whom have been nominated for the award but not won it.
That said, every single one of the O/Os who’s won the award has deserved it 100 per cent.
So do we cancel the award so no one feels left out? I think not.
Truck News started this award in 1994, the first award of its kind in Canada, because there was absolutely no national recognition for O/Os at that time.
Thanks to us, other awards have sprung up since.
The moral of the story is that more, not less recognition is needed for O/Os.