Arkansas Trucking Association

You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Before, during, after: hope

Up Front- Before, during, after: hope

DSCF7709 smallShannon Newton
President, ATA

2020. A number. A year. An era. A verb. A tragedy. A triumph. A numbing out. A waking up. A distancing. A coming together.

It’s been almost 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001, when hijacked planes flew into the towers and buried our sense of security beneath rubble in New York City. Still, every year, people, unprompted, tell us what they were doing when they heard the news, where they were when they watched it happen on TV. It was a moment in our nation’s history that had a before and an after.

As I’m writing this, 2020 is about to end, and I’m searching for a single moment that I might remember in 20 years. There have been many I won’t forget, but we didn’t get that demarcation between the before and the after that we all experienced together. The whole year has been “during” the pandemic. Even when we didn’t know it was here in the United States, perhaps as early as December 2019 or early January 2020, spreading slowly at first, unnoticed.  The pandemic was happening to us.

Trucking is tough; the public has always recognized that. They see the 18-wheels on concrete, reflective chrome and long hours, and it’s true that the hardware is imposing and impressive on the highway. But trucking is also soft. This year, I think the public saw the beating hearts that drive us, the steady hands on the wheel, the real essential flesh of our workforce came through for millions. At this very moment, they are carrying precious vials of vaccines to hospitals that will provide protection from the novel virus. We have just long days and short years to do good work and take care of each other in the process.

Because the whole year was “during” the chaos, Arkansas Trucking Association—like all of trucking—did not have privilege of pausing our work of protecting, promoting and serving members. We shared information and updates about ever-changing regulations while you kept moving. We found doors to knock on when rest stops closed, and we brought places to eat to rest stops when the restaurants shuttered. Securing masks, hand sanitizers, and testing for the workforce became part of our service to you.

Meanwhile, our opportunity to secure long-term infrastructure funding for the state was in our sights. For years we had worked towards this goal, and we did it.

I’m going to write it again. We. Did. It. During. During all of the hardships of 2020, we crossed off one of the biggest goals we’ve had for over a decade while you kept rolling supplies to communities, shipments to customers.

Despite all the challenges, I still feel something that is familiar on the eve of every new year: optimism. Hope cannot be locked down or quarantined.  2020 did not shake my faith in trucking or in all of you.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
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
You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Before, during, after: hope