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Truck driving: Ray Dana’s Post-Military Career Provides Security and Satisfaction

Determination. Teamwork. Service. Trust. Commitment. Taking care of each other.

Ray Dana, a military veteran and Midwest Carriers driver, believes those aspects of his military background have helped set him up for success as a truck driver. After all, those are also the values that drive Midwest Carriers. When Ray chose Midwest for his post-military career, he joined almost 1 million veterans within the U.S. trucking industry and related fields.

From combat engineer to truck driver

In 1995, Ray’s intentions were to enlist in the United States Army as a full-time active-duty soldier, choosing 12 Bravo (Combat Engineer) as his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).  He learned how to build bridges and clear mine fields, knowing how critical it was to execute his job perfectly in order to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.

However, after he started training in Missouri, an injury during a 5K march unexpectedly altered his plans. Despite finishing the march carrying an 80-pound rucksack, he was unable to remain in the Army full time.

But that didn’t stop him from serving his country – When given the option, Ray chose to go into the reserves so he could remain in the military. During his time in the reserves, his civilian job transferred him to Wisconsin. Because of the move, he had to choose a different MOS due to traveling distance to the closest Combat Engineer Reserve Center. He wanted to pursue an MOS that would set him up for success in a post-military career and switched to 88M Motor Transport Operator (Truck Driver). A few years after being honorably discharged in 2001, an acquaintance of Ray recommended he apply to be a truck driver for Midwest Carriers.

Taking pride in taking care

As Ray transitioned from the Army to civilian life, Midwest Carriers helped smooth the transition by treating him like family from day one. His military values blended right in with Midwest’s values, and he says Midwest Carriers fully supported him as he eased into his new civilian job.

As a Midwest Carrier truck driver, Ray loves how he can get the job done without having to be micromanaged. He gets to see acres and acres of this beautiful country on every trip he makes. As the truck wheels roll down the highway, his trips are quiet and peaceful—just him, the road and the view.

Ray also makes a point to emphasize that, “There’s a difference between someone who just drives a truck and a truck driver.” After all, anyone can learn how to drive a truck, hook up to a trailer, and pull it down the road. But for Ray, being a truck driver is about being a professional. It’s about being a respectable to others on the road and being mindful of one’s surroundings.  It’s showing respect to Midwest Carriers and their customers and taking care of the regularly updated equipment they provide for their drivers.

It’s all about family

The culture at Midwest Carriers is all about family. Midwest provides an environment where drivers are appreciated, respected and well-compensated, especially veteran drivers entering their post-military careers. “They are family and treat their drivers that way,” Ray said. “You’re not going to see this at the larger, national trucking outfits. You can walk into the office and shake hands with the owner and vice-president. They talk to me like I’m one of them.”

When Ray started driving for Midwest Carries, he was happily surprised by a few things:

  • The level of respect they give to him and the other drivers.
  • The incredible quality of the equipment. As Ray says, “We drive very nice trucks. They’re on top of maintenance and rotating the trucks to keep us safe.”
  • The training they provide. Nobody expects a new hire to be perfect. And new hires only go on the road when they feel comfortable and ready.
  • The perfect balance between getting drivers as many miles as possible, while ensuring the still receive and adequate amount of home time.

T.A.A.G.: Ray’s non-profit

When Ray isn’t traveling the country as a Midwest Carriers’ driver, he’s raising money to support Veterans and First Responders in their time of need, especially those who struggle with PTSD. Along with the support of his friends and family, he started The All American Garage (T.A.A.G.), and became a certified Wisconsin 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and Midwest Carriers is proud to be their top financial sponsor.

T.A.A.G. builds honorary “Rolling Tributes” to catch the public’s attention and raise awareness of the struggles these Everyday Heroes face.  For example, a 1946 Willys cj2a was donated to the organization as their first tribute, and the T.A.A.G. Team is restoring it into their POW/MIA theme vehicle to represent Veterans from all wars.

All tributes are 100% sponsorship funded to assure that any funds raised at events and donations made through the T.A.A.G. website can be used to provide support for the men and women who protect and serve our country and communities.

To show your support, please visit www.taag-wi.org.

Transition to civilian life with Midwest Carriers

There are currently 284,000 veterans unemployed and in need of a post-military career. However, for many, a career in truck driving can offer peace of mind and satisfaction. Ray has been able to experience a workplace that treats him like family, respects him as a military veteran and works to give him as much home time as possible. If you’d like to experience the same in your post-military career, contact Midwest Carriers today.