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A driver learns from the past to lead the future

By on September 1, 2015
On-Down-the-Line

Raymond Flanagan • Hyndman, Pennsylvania • Driving for 37 years

I owe my parents a great deal for teaching me everything they knew about the trucking industry. I began driving in 1978 at the same company as my father Russell. He set an example for hard work and determination that influenced us all. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. My mother Carol has been a dispatcher for my company, Mawson & Mawson, for the past 25 years. She knows how to keep drivers safe and always treats them with kindness and courtesy. I trust her judgment more than I can say.

I have driven more than 3 million miles and been fortunate to receive several awards for safety throughout my career. I couldn’t have imagined that I would go so far or see so much. The best part about my job is being able to visit different parts of the country. I’ve visited every state in the Lower 48 except North Dakota and Montana. What I remember most is the California redwood trees as they swayed gently in the breeze.

Days on the road aren’t all the same. I have learned that lesson well through the years. The sound of classic rock radio is one of the few constants in this life. As time goes on, it gets harder being away from home. My wife Brenda and I have been married for over 36 years and raised two kids together. Now we have four grandchildren, and I love them all to death. Family always comes first.

When I do have a little time off, I enjoy camping with my wife along the Cumberland River or riding my Harley-Davidson Road King motorcycle. My granddaughter has scoliosis and required many surgeries so I’ve participated in charity rides to support Shriners Hospitals for Children.

That same sense of responsibility has inspired me to help new drivers get their career off on the right track. I tell them not to be discouraged and to do the best they can. It’s time to pass along my knowledge and prepare the next generation of leaders — just like my parents did. Truck drivers make a difference in the lives of people all across the country and I’m proud to be one of them.

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