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CWRV Transport held its annual tribute Thursday (Sept. 6) for its fleet of contractors, recognizing the dedication, and the sacrifices, exhibited by its employees with the fifth Driver Appreciation Day at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Event and Conference Center.

“The focus of the day is all about our contractors,” said Rob Jackson, president of CWRV, which oversees a fleet of drivers charged with ensuring timely delivery of product to 150 Camping World/Gander Mountain stores nationwide. “The service they provide this company, and the industry, can’t be overrated, as we are making 50,000 deliveries a year.”

He added, “We have people at this event from all over the country. Unfortunately, all our drivers couldn’t attend because they’re out there delivering product, but I’d say we have 65% of our fleet here — around 340 drivers — along with their families.”

The event featured a meal catered by Nelson’s BBQ and Catering, several giveaways, a Carnival Cruise drawing and full access to the Hall of Fame Museum. But the focus was on honoring contractors as a full slate of speakers delivered presentations, including Women in Trucking President Ellen Voie and CWRV Safety Director Randy Torrence, while several special awards were handed out led by the “Top 10 Safety Drivers” and the “100 Store Club.”

“We have five drivers who delivered to over 100 different Camping World stores,” said Jackson, who took the helm at CWRV Transport in April after a lengthy career overseeing deliveries for Wakarusa, Ind.-based Horizon Transport. “Every year, we want to do something extra for them to acknowledge their efforts.”

In turn, drivers in attendance also expressed appreciation for the “special day” and the opportunity to meet and interact with fellow drivers.

“This is a way everybody can get together and trade stories, relax, be with each other and just have fun,” offered Marcus Willams, lead shuttle driver.

Francine Murry, shuttle and long-haul driver, expressed a similar sentiment, noting, “Today’s event lets people get together and get to know each other. It puts names with the faces, which is nice because the over-the-road drivers, we don’t ever have a chance to see each other.”

A key component during the event was to remind contractors of CWRV’s commitment to charity, particularly its support of the KOA Care Camps which sends children to specialized pediatric oncology camps across North America. An integral part of that backing is provided by an annual corporate pledge by CWRV coupled with a per-mile donation to the Care Camps.

“We aligned with Karen McAndrew, executive director of Care Camp, and became committed as a company to helping the organization,” said Jackson. “Today, we wanted to highlight that program.”

A high point for attendees was when 10-year-old Indiana native Morgan Moher took the stage. Moher, who was diagnosed was T-Cell leukemia, attended “Camp Watcha Wanna Do” this past June.

“Morgan is a special little girl,” said Jackson, who presented Moher with a signed banner from CWRV drivers as well as tickets to several professional sports events and a signed photograph of Peyton Manning. “We wanted our drivers to actually witness what their donations are helping accomplish.”

The day concluded with an open house at the CWRV corporate office in Elkhart, which offered drivers the opportunity to tour the facility along with additional giveaways.

“It was an overall fun day for our contractors,” Jackson said. “By being on the road, they are required to give up a lot of their personal lives. As a company we are responsible for moving freight, but we also want to invest in our contractors and let them know how valuable they are.”