Robert Evrall the TCLC’s favourite truck driver contest winner

The region’s favourite truck driver is Robert Evrall, from the Long Sault area.

As part of the Take the Wheel trucking information project the Tri-County Literacy Council has been participating in, it had a contest to nominate a favourite driver, and it was Evrall who got several heartfelt nominations, and who on Tuesday afternoon at the TCLC manse in Cornwall collected his grand prize – a swag bag, and night at the Best Western Parkway Inn/dinner gift certificate.

“I was quite surprised (to win),” said Evrall, a veteran driver for MacEwen for 34 years.

Carolyn Eva, administrative assistant at the Tri-County Literacy Council and the Take the Wheel project supervisor, said the contest got 25 nominations, and a handful came from Evrall family members, including daughters Robyn and Jessyca, who were with dad at the Tuesday presentation.

Wrote Jessyca in her nomination submission: “The reason (for nominating him) is my dad has been driving a truck since he was 18 years old. He had the opportunity to drive all over western Canada, doing what he loved at a young age, moving back to Ontario in his late 20s, getting a trucking job hauling ethanol for MacEwen where he has worked and provided for our family (well into a fourth decade).

“In my eyes my dad has a tough job that requires you to be on your game all the time. . . my dad keeps his cool, even on the tough days, the rough days, sometimes 14 hours a day.

“He deserves a night to relax with my mom and not worry about anything.”

Wife Brenda wrote about her husband’s dedication and those work days that start at 4:30 a.m. and don’t end until the evening.

“He has raised and supported two beautiful girls by never missing a day of work,” she said.

Evrall’s day trips take him to Montreal, Kingston and North Bay; the 59-year-old said it’s a good living and that he plans to drive for five more years.

The TCLC had independent judges for the favourite trucker contest, and the overall Take the Wheel Project will have gone on for over two years, ending in September. It’s been a regional marketing effort, with the goal of delivering truck-driving information to women and young people, a project undertaken in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, to address a truck driver shortage.

“It’s a very viable career,” said TCLC executive director Dina McGowan, who added that part of the reason behind the marketing effort was to help remove the stigma that’s sometimes attached to the profession.

Eva said that so far there’ve been 15 recruitment-centre setups across SDG as well as Prescott-Russell – the mobile recruitment centre information sessions including a driver on hand to answer questions – and that five more are coming up later this year.

A free Daycare Worker Training program offered by the TCLC starts April 11, to help adults in the community develop skills to be successful in the workplace. The six-week program will run Monday to Thursday, 1 to 3:30 p.m., allowing the possibility of students to connect with each other and network with individuals in the field. Topics of study will include children’s developmental stages, behavioral issues, meal and lesson planning, daycare rules and regulations, and children’s rights.

Students will also benefit from meeting a variety of guest speakers in the field such as a local dietician, early years specialists, and a guidance counsellor to explore further educational opportunities. And, a representative from the City of Cornwall will explain how to start a home child-care centre.

To register for the training, call the TCLC at 613-932-7161.