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National Driver of the Year, Dispatcher of the Year hail from Manitoba

WINNIPEG, Man. -- After 6.6 million collision-free kilometres over a 40-year period as a commercial truck driver, B...

WINNIPEG, Man. — After 6.6 million collision-free kilometres over a 40-year period as a commercial truck driver, Burton “Bud” Rush, was named the 2008 CTA/Volvo Trucks Canada National Driver of the Year at a recent Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) annual awards dinner.

The Oakbank, Man. resident, who drives for Armstrong Moving and Storage (a division of United Van Lines Canada), was introduced to trucking as a young man – during a period when he also anticipated a hockey career. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1969, but was sidelined by a heart condition. That caused him to return to Winnipeg, and trucking, after buying a tractor-trailer and contracting out to United Van Lines.

During his 40 years on the road, Rush has not only earned an outstanding safety record, he has also shared his knowledge of first aid with the travelling public. The truck driver has been the first to arrive at many accident scenes, and more than once saved a life or provided comfort to an accident victim. Rush’s road stories include a time he saved the life of a man thrown from a vehicle, and another incident when he provided comfort to a trapped accident victim, who ultimately did not survive the wreck. Rush credits his training as a volunteer firefighter with knowing how to be effective in roadside emergencies. The generous driver has also provided assistance both to the motoring public and to fellow transport drivers, when mechanical problems have stranded them on the roadside.

“Bud Rush exemplifies the outstanding truck drivers with whom Canadians share the road,” says David Bradley, CEO of the CTA. “It is a great honour to recognize him with this highly coveted award.”

A Manitoba dispatcher was also recognized with a national award at the same ceremony. Janet Murray of Warren, Man., an employee with Payne Transportation, was selected as the CTA/Shaw Tracking National Dispatcher of the Year.

Murray got her start in the road transportation industry 13 years ago when she obtained her truck driving licence so she could join her husband, a long-distance truck driver, on the road as a team driver. After a period of time as a truck driver, the one-time nurses’ aide and administrative assistant, moved into the operations side of the trucking industry, where she earned the respect as a dispatcher.

“Janet has successfully grown revenues per mile (for) five consecutive years in her division, yielding higher margins each of those years,” says Tom Payne Jr., president of Payne Transportation. “Janet has a complete understanding of what it takes to survive in our industry especially in the dry van market, where typically margins are very low and considerably tougher in our current economy.”

Murray credits her professional satisfaction to the people she works with and to the time she spent on the road as a truck driver. “I’m glad I drove for a while, because I know what the drivers are going through,” she says. “I understand where they are coming from. I like the challenge in making things work, (and) making the drivers and customers happy.”

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