Driver of the Year Finalist - Richard Stevens
Richard's journey as a driver began under extraordinary circumstances. In 1999, Oklahoma City was struck by a devastating tornado that left destruction in its wake. The storm leveled the Tanger Outlet mall across from Richard's home, setting the stage for a profound change in his life. During this challenging time, Richard was inspired to become a truck driver while delivering essential food supplies with his acquaintance Ken Nichumundo.
With Ken as his mentor, Richard embarked on a path that would lead him to become the outstanding driver he is today. He obtained a training permit from the state of Oklahoma and began to learn the intricacies of truck driving. Together with Ken, he completed his training miles through their deliveries, and Ken played a pivotal role in scheduling Richard's CDL test. The seeds of mentorship were sown early in Richard's journey, and he has since dedicated himself to nurturing the growth of fellow drivers.
One of the defining characteristics of Richard Stevens is his commitment to guiding and mentoring fellow drivers. After honing his skills as a driver, he took on a new role as a mentor for Western Dairy Transport (WDT). Over the past seven years at WDT, Richard has shared his extensive knowledge, helping new drivers understand the intricacies of their equipment and instilling in them a deep sense of safety and responsibility.
He takes immense pride in signing off on the Phase 2 training for drivers, a sign of their readiness to take on the challenges of the road. However, his mentorship doesn't end there. He willingly shares his contact information, encouraging ongoing communication and support for the drivers he has trained. For Richard, it's about more than just delivering milk; it's about shaping the next generation of drivers and fostering a culture of safety and excellence.
Richard's commitment to mentorship extends beyond his fellow truck drivers. He has also taken two young boys from the local high school under his wing, encouraging these young men to start a mowing service together to benefit the elderly and low-income families in their community. For a modest fee of $15 per lawn, the two high school students, guided by Richard, ensured that the elderly and low-income families in their community could enjoy well-kept lawns and a tidier living space.
Beyond his career as a truck driver, Richard has shown he is passionate about giving back to the community. Richard has been involved in various charitable initiatives, including rebuilding a home for an older adult whose house was tragically lost in a Christmas fire. He has also contributed his time and effort to building tiny homes through Habitat for Humanity, making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. One of the driving forces in Richard's life is his faith and Christianity. His deep-rooted beliefs influence not only his personal life but also how he approaches his work as a driver and mentor. His faith serves as a moral compass, guiding him to be a responsible and compassionate individual, both on and off the road.
Now, Richard is a finalist for the 2023 Driver of the Year award, a testament to his exceptional driving career. Richard's legacy extends beyond the miles he's driven; it's in the lives he's touched, the drivers he's trained, and the community he's served. With a career spanning two decades and an unwavering dedication to his profession, we congratulate him on his well-deserved nomination.