U.S. Army Veteran Jimmy Reddell: “Transition Trucking – Driving for Excellence” Top 3 Finalist
U.S. Army veteran Jimmy Reddell always knew he wanted to live a life dedicated to serving his country and members of his community. When Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the coast of Louisiana in 2005, devastating New Orleans and surrounding areas, Reddell jumped at the opportunity to assist in recovery efforts.
“I had just re-enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard when Hurricane Katrina struck,” Reddell recalled. “I hadn’t even been issued a National Guard uniform yet, but I felt I needed to be in Louisiana to help in recovery efforts. So, I put in a request to be sent there. It was hard to see the destruction Hurricane Katrina caused and how many people were displaced from their homes. When I arrived, I joined a team that distributed food, water, and other essential goods to those in need. It was the most rewarding experience of my career.”
Reddell enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves at the age of 17 and spent a combined 22 years with the U.S. Army and Army Reserves. He is now a professional truck driver with Stevens Transport. Reddell is one of three finalists in the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program, which is dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military driver. The annual program recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.
For the sixth consecutive year, Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes Program to support “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence.” Kenworth will provide The Driver’s Truck™– a Kenworth T680 with a 76-inch sleeper – to serve as the program’s award to this year’s overall winner. The T680 features the complete PACCAR Powertrain with PACCAR MX-13 engine, PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission, and PACCAR DX-40 tandem rear axles.
When Reddell retired honorably from the U.S. Army, he decided the trucking industry would best align with the type of work he wanted to do moving forward. As a driver, Reddell would have the opportunity to see the country he helped protect and, at the same time, play an important role in transporting essential goods.
“While serving overseas in South Korea, one of my jobs was transferring Patriot missile radar systems,” said Reddell. “The job required me to drive across mountain passes and roads that weren’t designed for heavy trucks, so I picked up valuable driving experience with the Army that is helpful today. As a driver for Stevens Transport, I get the opportunity to see the country while feeling a sense of fulfillment by being an important piece in the supply chain.”
According to Reddell, shortly after earning his CDL in 2020 he hired on with Stevens Transport. He recently became an independent contractor through the Stevens Transport Contractor Division, where he currently leases a truck. “When I found out that I was nominated by Lorie (Jensen Givens, Stevens Transport, driver relations manager) I was in total disbelief,” said Reddell. “There are so many deserving veterans that were nominated for this award and to become a Top 3 finalist is truly amazing. I can’t thank Stevens Transport enough for their support. If I win the Kenworth T680, I will be well ahead of my goals.”