It is with a heavy heart and an aching back that I have retired form the SVC Truck Driver Training Program as of July 14. I started there in 1986 and I’m asking myself, where have the years gone. I cannot thank those individuals and trucking firms enough that have given their support, their time and their equipment donations to the program.
If I had a need, it seemed that someone or some corporation was always there to help the “Perfesser.” Let’s hear it for Paccar Technical Center; Skagit Valley Trucking, now Skagit Transportation; Glenn’s Carroll Mill and the good people of Motor Trucks and Valley Freightliner. I have accolades for so many others that I can’t mention them all. Arne, Beth, Donnie, Glen, Mark and so many more, thank you. Gang, I couldn’t have done it with out you.
And let’s not forget those part-time assistants that were always there. Uncle Don, Dave, Dennis, Chad, John, Gerry and Nikki. These people were the heart of this program, trust me on this. I know that I’m forgetting so many others and I truly apologize … please forgive me.
Some of the projects that I and my students did for our communities during emergency times (floods, ect.), were assisting the Red Cross, Skagit County Emergency Services (in the old days) and the countless trailer loads of food for our food banks (students driving me I’m praying) and my favorite, the King 5/Northwest Harvest Food Drive, which we no longer were involved in due to budget cuts in 2006.
Picking up and delivering materials for so many different communities in our valley was indeed a God-send for the student drivers, delivering live loads that sometimes started in Eastern Washington or even just north of the Oregon border. It’s been a pleasure to serve our Tri-county areas and their communities and being able to train so many people to drive the big rigs.
The sad part of all of this is that SVC has decided to put the truck driving program on hold for one year … or more. The current administration team wants to rewrite and change the curriculum to meet their needs. As a taxpayer and citizen, this is not what I want to see of my 22 years of service, hard work and the treatment of the industry I truly love, but, oh well.
I’ll be looking for you down the trail so ya’ll take care and God Bless.
Gary L. Thompson