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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J has announced the winners of its third annual Road Warrior campaign.
The grand, second and third place winners, respectively, are: Jacqueline Rocha of Acworth, Ga.; Kevin Mailand of Lawrence, Kan.; and Charles Johnson of Dubuque, Iowa.
As CSNews Online previously reported, the travel center operator kicked off the campaign in celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which took place Sept. 11-17. The campaign ended Dec. 31. The 15-week contest recognized and awarded professional drivers for their hard work, perseverance and passion through online story submissions that spotlight the "heroes on the road" who go the extra mile to get the job done right, according to Pilot Flying J.
As winners of the third annual Road Warrior campaign, Rocha will receive $10,000; Mailand will receive $5,000; and Johnson will receive $2,500.
"We are always so inspired by the passion and determination of professional drivers," said Ken Parent, president of Pilot Flying J. "All three winners, and so many of their fellow drivers, are excellent representations of the professional driver community, and we are thrilled to recognize them with this Road Warrior honor."
Each new Road Warrior is making contributions to the professional driving community:
- Grand prize winner Jacqueline Rocha: The first woman Road Warrior contest winner is a long-haul driver who joined the professional driving community just after she turned 21. As an industry advocate, she encourages millennials and females to consider careers in trucking. As Rocha continues her career, she hopes to start a nonprofit organization that funds the costs associated with commercial driver's license school, particularly aimed at recruiting young women to the industry.
- Second place winner Kevin Mailand: Mailand, who was nominated by his wife, is a second-generation long-haul driver with more than 30 years of professional driving experience. He has more than 2 million miles of driving experience logged at his current company. Even after being diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and major surgery, Mailand still drives professionally.
- Third place winner Charles Johnson: Johnson earned his Road Warrior stripes for his 43 years of professional driving experience, including driving through all 50 states and all providences of Canada. Career highlights include driving through Glacier National Park into Canada during the winter, driving for the U.S. Army, and training more than 500 professional drivers.
"More than anything, I'm incredibly humbled to join a great group of past Road Warrior winners," Rocha said. "I've met countless hardworking professional drivers over the course of my time behind the wheel, many of whom inspire me daily with their passion for this amazing industry. This award wouldn't be possible without the mentors who came before me to help shape my career."
More information on the Road Warrior program can be found at RoadWarrior.PilotFlyingJ.com.
Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J operates more than 650 retail locations in North America.