DALLAS, Texas — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with National Carriers Truck Lines, Inc., took their water safety message on the road — literally. In an Aug. 15 meeting at the company’s Irving, Texas, facility, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Kula, commander of the Corps’ Southwestern Division, joined with Mr. Jim Franck, National Carriers, Inc., president, to place a water safety decal on the first of the company’s 600tractor trailer trucks that will carry the message nationwide as well as into Canada and Mexico.
The decal, which depicts a young child wearing a life jacket with the caption “Keep them smiling. Keep them safe,” is a strong reminder to safeguard children around the water.
“Nothing is more compelling to us than the safety of our children,” said Kula. “As the Nation’s largest provider of federal recreation, with more than 370 million visitors at Corps projects annually, the Corps provides great value to the Nation through these many facilities. In the Southwestern Division alone, we are the second largest provider of recreation in the Corps, hosting 68 million visitors at our 88 lakes with hundreds of recreation areas in a six-state region.
“We want to keep that value by keeping those who use them safe,” he added. “We are working with partners such as National Carriers to spread the word about water safety, with a goal of reducing public fatalities on Corps lakes by 50 percent. With the help of Franck and his company, that message will travel every one of the millions of miles per year that his trucks put on our Nation’s roads.”
National Carriers is a diversified motor carrier servicing all 48 states in the continental United States with transportation offerings, which include refrigerated, livestock, and logistics services. The National Carriers Refrigerated fleet consists of nearly 500 power units, over 1000 trailers, and these units alone average 800,000 driving miles per week.
Franck agreed to not only have the decals placed on 600 tractor trailers but also to incur all costs to apply the decals to their trailers as an undertaking in the public interest.
“I remember boating on Corps lakes in Iowa, and I know the many hours of relaxation and recreation they provide our communities,” he said. “If we can help in this way to spread the word about water safety, it is a winning situation for all of us.”
The movement from concept to completion is an example of the power of partnerships, according to Corps Park Ranger Alan Bland from Beaver Lake in the Corps’ Little Rock District, who came up with the idea. He discussed the idea with Michael Boyce from the Northwestern Arkansas U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, with whom Bland frequently works water safety initiatives. Using Boyce’s relationships with the trucking industry, Bland linked up with National Carriers, Inc., and worked the details of the partnership for more than a year.
“I’m happy to see this project come to completion,” said Bland. “One life saved is worth all the work we put in to our water safety programs many times over. I’m glad to have had a part in this undertaking.”