Somewhere out west in recent days, cross-country truck driver Warren Greeno passed the 4-million-mile mark without an accident. Wal-Mart celebrated the achievement Saturday and Greeno didn’t have to drive in to join the party.
“There was a half-dozen times there when the Lord was riding with me,” Greeno said before the ceremony. “I was just waiting for the thump and the crash but it never happened.”
Saturday’s regular meeting among corporate officers and management teams at its Bentonville headquarters fell during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. To mark Greeno’s record – he’s the first to hit 4 million accident-free miles in a Wal-Mart rig -executives flew him to northwest Arkansas to honor him.
Wal-Mart said Greeno will be presented with a red, custom tractor while the 81 other drivers who have hit 3 million accident-free miles have received a blue rig. Wal-Mart did not have an estimate on the price of the rig, but said it will include Greeno’s name on the side and an acknowledgement of his safety record.
Greeno, 59, of Loveland, Colo., rolled up 4 million miles in 31 years and four months for an average of just over 500 miles every working day. Except for traffic jams, he said he’s had to deliberately stop driving only once – for weather along Interstate 70 in Kansas – and wound up rescuing a woman he didn’t even know was nearby.
“The snow had gotten so bad,” Greeno said. “The wind chill was well below zero.
“I was standing on my brakes and there’s this knock at my door. She had drove off in a ditch and saw me pumping my brakes and came running up. This gal was blue, and it was now or never for her,” Greeno said. “It had to be divine intervention. I had never come to a complete stop before.”
Greeno, talked into joining the company by a brother-in-law who also drove for Wal-Mart, hired on at a Texas distribution center and was based in Iowa before moving to Colorado. While Wal-Mart has opened more distribution centers, he still has long trips. He traveled to Montana in the past week, one of his favorite routes, and when he made his regular Thursday delivery at Laurel, Mont., workers gathered at the loading dock to cheer him.
Rick Foster, the company’s senior transportation safety director, said the company was honoring Greeno to highlight the importance of safety among the company’s 7,200 drivers.
“Our minimum requirements are such that every driver has to have logged more than 250,000 safe miles and have no moving violations to even be considered for hire,” he said.
Different companies honor long-distance drivers under different criteria. A Utah truck driver, for instance, was recognized two decades ago for 5 million miles of safe driving. He had been in five accidents, but none were his fault, according to the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. UPS’ Circle of Honor recognizes drivers who reach 25 years of driving without an accident.
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