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Trucker Don Copeland turns Christmas parade ‘blue’ to honor fallen law enforcement

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Donald Copeland decked out his white 2019 Freightliner Cascadia with blue Christmas lights, a wreath and a fallen officer’s flag to commemorate three officers killed in the line of duty in the past 18 months in his hometown of Brookhaven, Mississippi. (Courtesy: DON COPELAND)

By Dorothy Cox

dlcox@e7k.a33.myftpupload.com

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. — Twenty-five-year OTR driver Donald Copeland, 54, has long had a warm place in his heart for the “boys [and girls] in blue.”

And like many others in his hometown of Brookhaven, Mississippi, located 60 miles south of Jackson, he was tired of law enforcement getting killed in the line of duty.

Brookhaven has lost three officers in the past 18 months: William Durr, with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; Corp. Zach Moak, with the Brookhaven Police Department; and Brookhaven Patrol Officer James White.

Durr was a good friend of Copeland’s, and was a church youth worker and a fellow Mason, Copeland said. Like the other two men, Durr lost his life when he was shot while checking out a case of domestic violence.

So Copeland decided to do something to remember these three and other men and women like them who put their lives on the line daily.

Held the night of November 30, Brookhaven’s annual Christmas parade seemed the ideal time to Copeland to deck out his white 2019 Freightliner Cascadia in blue Christmas lights, blue and silver garlands and wreaths.

Copeland has been with Swift Transportation for about two years, and they readily agreed to his plan. “They gave the A-OK to do it,” he said. “They were very much on board.”

He also added stickers saying “We Back the Boys in Blue” and “Heroes Are Never Forgotton” on either side of his sleeper.

Law enforcement of this southern town were not told they were being honored in the parade, although Copeland had contacted some relatives of the fallen officers.

A cadre of law enforcement were to lead the parade and unknown to them, Copeland’s Freightliner was staged to follow right behind them.

Here, Copeland places a wreath of remembrance on his 2019 Cascadia to honor fallen law enforcement during a Christmas parade held November 30. (Courtesy: DONALD COPELAND)

Copeland said the parade was “pretty emotional” for him as “this is an issue near and dear to my heart.”

All three of the fallen officers’ names were also on his truck, along with a fallen officer’s flag draped across the hood.

Amid the tinsel and lights, it was a somber reminder but a heart-felt one.

Copeland has driven commercial trucks off and on since he graduated from high school, starting out driving for his uncle in the summer months until his father died some 25 years ago. It was then that Copeland decided he would devote himself full time to driving over-the-road and he hasn’t regretted it.

“I owe a lot to trucking,” he said. Besides offering him a profession he loves, trucking was also what brought Copeland and his wife Candie together in 2000 in Commerce City, Colorado, a northern suburb of Denver.

She was driving for another trucking company, but one thing led to another and after they married, he moved with her to her hometown of Brookhaven.

Candie was among Brookhaven citizens cheering on her husband during the parade.

“We wanted to honor these gentlemen and stop the violence,” Donald Copeland said.

According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial fund, preliminary figures as of December 3 show 129 law enforcement killed so far this year. That’s compared with 122 last year, a 6 percent increase.

The names of the fallen include members of the FBI, state troopers, police and sheriff’s offices, juvenile justice department officers, department of corrections officers, department of homeland security officers, and wildlife and fisheries officers. Eight of them were women.

A total of 25 canine officers have also been killed in the line of duty this year.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

Big rig causes 100-year-old bridge to collapse in North Dakota

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This undated photo provided by Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department shows the overweight semi that caused the collapse of a small, historic bridge near Northwood, N.D. Authorities say the semi, with a trailer load of dry beans, was traveling on the 56-foot-long, restricted-weight bridge over the Goose River Monday. (Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department via AP)

NORTHWOOD, N.D. — Sheriff’s officials say an overweight semitrailer loaded with dried beans caused a more-than-century-old bridge to collapse in North Dakota.

Grand Forks County sheriff’s officials say the bridge over the Goose River near Northwood collapsed Monday afternoon. Photos show the wooden and iron span buckling under the weight of the vehicle. The bridge is partly submerged in the water.

Police said a 2005 Peterbilt semi-truck was driving on the bridge when the structure reportedly crumpled beneath it, causing the trailer to hangover the west abutment.

The 56-foot-long bridge was built in 1906 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It has a 14 ton weight restriction. Sheriff’s officials say the semitrailer was 29 tons over that limit.

The driver, who was not injured, faces an $11,400 overload fine.

Officials say it will cost up to $1 million to replace the bridge.

It was not immediately clear if weight-limit signs were posted, and police said the incident was still under investigation

Northwood is about 200 miles northeast of Bismarck.

 

 

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Business

Women In Trucking names its 2019 top woman-owned businesses

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Angela Eliacostas is the founder and owner of AGT Global Logistics, one of the companies the Women In Trucking Association has named its 2019 Top Women-Owned Businesses in Transportation. (Courtesy: Women in Trucking)

PLOVER, Wisc. —  The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has announced its annual list of the “Top Woman-Owned Businesses in Transportation.”

The names of the companies being recognized in 2019 were released in the latest edition of Redefining the Road, the official magazine of WIT.

WIT created the list was created to recognize women in leadership and encourage more women to become proactive leaders in their organizations and even start their own businesses, WIT president and CEO Ellen Voie said. The program supports WIT’s overall mission “To encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize the obstacles they face.”

Entrepreneurship is a viable means of economic self-sufficiency, and many women are choosing an enterprise connected to transportation to be part of their career aspirations, according to Brian Everett, publisher of Redefining the Road.

Companies considered for the recognition must meet criteria that includes majority ownership by a woman, financial stability and growth, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Each company was nominated and chosen based upon business success and accomplishments, including those related to gender diversity.

This year’s list includes companies from a diverse range of business sectors in the commercial freight transportation marketplace, including motor carriers, third-party logistics companies and original equipment manufacturers.

Companies named to the 2019 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses” list and their primary female business owners are:

  • Bennett International Group; Marcia G. Taylor, CEO
  • Kenco Logistics; Jane Kennedy Greene, chairwoman
  • London Auto Truck Center; Donna Childers, vice president
  • Rihm Family Companies; Kari Rihm, president and CEO
  • Veriha Trucking, Inc.; Karen Smerchek, president
  • Rush Trucking Corp.; Andra Rush, CEO
  • Aria Logistics; Arelis Gutierrez, CEO
  • Lodgewood Enterprises; Arlene Gagne, president
  • S-2international, LLC; Jennifer Mead, CEO
  • International Express Trucking; Karen Duff, president and CEO
  • Brenny Transportation, Inc.; Joyce Brenny, CEO and founder
  • Knichel Logistics; Kristy Knichel, CEO
  • Garner Trucking; Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, CEO
  • LYNC Logistics; Cindy Lee, president
  • Ontario Truck Training Academy; Yvette Lagrois, president
  • AGT Global Logistics; Angela Eliacostas, owner and founder
  • Powersource Transportation; (Barb Bakos, president
  • LaunchIt Public Relations; Susan Fall, president
  • United Federal Logistics, Inc.; Jennifer Behnke, president
  • BCP Transportation; Nancy Spelsberg, Ardis Jourdan, Kristie Rozinski
  • Ladybird Logistics Ltd.; Felicia Payin Marfo, managing director
  • DGT Trucking; Donna G. Sleasman, owner
  • RFX Inc.; Kimberly Welby, president and CEO)

These companies will be recognized during a special program at the Women In Trucking Accelerate! Conference & Expo, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 in Dallas. For more information, visit WomenInTrucking.org.

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The Nation

Can you say oversized load!

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That is big!

 

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