Mineta praises truckers who helped with hurricane relief

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta called the truck drivers who braved last fall’s Gulf Coast hurricanes to deliver life-saving supplies to evacuees “Hurricane Heroes.”

Mineta met with truckers gathered for the annual Trucker Appreciation Days event hosted by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Landstar System on Friday, Jan. 27. Landstar has a contract with the federal government to provide emergency transportation services. With the help of drivers working for Landstar, Mineta said DOT was able to deliver more than 15,000 truckloads of food, water, ice, cots and other emergency supplies to the region.

Mineta praised the drivers for working “long days and even longer nights” to get the job done. And he recounted stories of drivers doing more than sitting behind the wheel of their rigs, telling of truckers who used their own money to buy diapers, carried cases of water for elderly evacuees and turned their trucks into shelters for stranded families.

The secretary is touring the Gulf Coast region this week to recognize people who responded to the hurricanes. On Jan. 25, Mineta visited Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he spent time with troops who helped transport and care for hurricane evacuees during the largest domestic airlift in U.S. history. On Jan. 26, he visited employees of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority who are directing bus service for evacuees while living in their temporary headquarters facility in Baton Rouge.