TORONTO, Ont. – Whether it’s on the road, on the ice or under a steeple, 40-year-old truck driver Chris Bender is someone who people look to for guidance and leadership.
Bender, a truckload driver for Steed Standard Transport in Stratford, Ontario, was named the 2013 Volvo Trucks Canada-OTA Driver of the Year for Ontario. With his wife Brenda by his side, Bender proudly accepted the award last evening during a ceremony at the Ontario Trucking Association’s 87th annual conference in Toronto.
The presentation of the award – which is given every year to an Ontario commercial truck driver who exhibits an exemplary safety record and dedication to the profession as well as his or her community – was made by Peter Currie, Ontario district manager, Volvo Trucks Canada.
“My fascination with trucking goes back to my childhood when I spent hours pretending to be a truck driver hauling sand from one end of the sandbox to the other,” said Bender. “It’s no wonder to those who know me where I ended up. Some days I feel guilty going to work because there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.”
Over his 16-year driving career, Chris has amassed about 2 million collision-free kilometers and has received the Steed Standard Transport Driver Appreciation Award four years in a row.
In addition to his driving duties, he is a designated driver trainer and has become a mentor to many of the company’s new drivers.
Bender is a passionate advocate for safety in trucking and says he wants to change the negative way the industry is sometimes portrayed in the media. Bender is a hard-working member of the OTA Road Knights team, spending many hours educating school children and others about the industry.
He is also an inspirational figure in his community, serving as a chaplain at his local Legion, hospital and nursing homes. He is also very much in demand by area community groups as a motivational speaker. Somewhere in his busy calendar, Bender also finds the time to coach boys and girls minor hockey.
“Truck drivers, by nature, are strong individuals who are used to tackling and completing tasks all on their own. Chris is that kind of person, but he also excels in serving others and his community. He’s someone who others gravitate towards for support and guidance,” said Currie. “This is why Volvo has sponsored this award for years – to recognize outstanding truck drivers like Chris who make this industry great.”
“Chris is exactly the kind of person we are proud to have in our industry,” said OTA President David Bradley. “He personifies the Driver of the Year Award.”
For being named the 2013 Driver of the Year, Chris will take home a keepsake trophy, a cash prize, and a trip to the OTA convention in Toronto.
“Chris is an exceptional class A driver,” said James Steed, president of Steed Standard Transport. “We’re honored to have Chris as a part of our team and we thank him for his continuous dedication to safety and customer service.”
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