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The Last Word

The Road to Recovery

By Tracy Rosser

Editor’s Note: As reports continue to come in that Puerto Ricans are without enough water, food, health care and electricity almost a month after Hurricane Maria tore through the island and residents of Houston and Florida are still expecting months of cleanup, the wheels of trucks have not stopped rolling with trailers full of supplies for relief and rebuilding. Walmart especially has been a leader in delivering aid in the recovery efforts. ATA would like to thank every company who reached out to help our fellow Americans despite logistics challenges, pouring money, manpower, and equipment everywhere the waters rose. We are proud to represent an industry that carries hope into hurting communities.

When Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria made landfall in August and September of this year, they impacted millions of people in their path, destroying homes, knocking out power and flooding towns as they crawled across the Caribbean, Gulf and Atlantic coasts – forever changing the lives of those who live and work in these areas.

Our associates responded to these emergencies with a level of outstanding service that is simply admirable. Throughout Walmart’s 55-year history, we’ve been known for our low prices and for revolutionizing the retail industry. We’ve also applied what we’ve learned in serving thousands of communities across America in how we respond to major disasters and helping people when they need it.

One group that helps us step up during disasters is our drivers, who are part of the largest and safest private fleet in the industry. On any typical day across our country, you see our trucks on the road and the hard work of our drivers in action. Their commitment to service is amazing: Together, our drivers travel more than 700 million miles annually to deliver countless loads of merchandise to Walmart and Sam’s Club locations across the nation.

And it’s because we work on this scale every day that our drivers are so well-equipped to respond quickly during major emergencies, delivering truckloads of supplies, basics, food and water to people impacted by devastating natural disasters. Our responses to Harvey, Irma and Maria were full-company efforts that demonstrated how our incredible people make a difference. We also depended on drivers from all of the trucking companies that support us – we can’t thank them enough for their assistance in helping stand up hundreds of communities in the wake of these hurricanes.  

You likely saw or heard about thousands of our associates who pitched in to help. One of many great examples during Harvey includes a group of associates from Pleasanton, Tex., who drove two hours to Corpus Christi to deliver truckloads of food and essentials to associates and their families who were impacted by the hurricane. Many local stores gave thousands of dollars in merchandise to first responders, volunteers and medical professionals.

Hundreds of Walmart facilities – including supercenters, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers – in the path of these storms were exposed to high winds and devastating flooding. Many facilities were temporarily closed. Since then, most stores and clubs have been able to bounce back and continue to serve our customers in areas affected by these hurricanes. It’s because of the hard work and dedication of our people that facilities are quickly re-opening and helping impacted communities rebuild. We’re proud of the great job our operations, merchandising and supply chain teams have done in supporting our customers, associates and their families.

Walmart’s support hasn’t stopped yet, nor will it soon end. Beyond the round-the-clock, hands-on work of our associates, our company committed $20 million to Harvey relief efforts. We also donated at least $10 million to Irma relief and recovery efforts, as well as up to $5 million in cash and product to assist Puerto Rico with recovery efforts.

Giving back to our communities is part of who we are – it has been, and it will be in the future, part of a culture that differentiates our company. While we never want to see people in harm’s way, one thing that can be counted on is for Walmart to be there when communities need us most.

Tracy Rosser is the senior vice president, transportation at Walmart U.S. He also serves on the Arkansas Trucking Association’s board of directors.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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