Most Viewed Stories
Walmart DC driver is Truck Driver of the Year
Ronald Pacheco, a truck driver for the Porterville Walmart Distribution Center, was recognized as Truck Driver of the Year by the California Trucking Association.
Pacheco, 69 of Coarsegold, has been in the trucking industry for nearly 46 years, 14 years as a Walmart driver, and has traveled more than 3.2 million miles accident free. He is the first driver to receive the honor since Walmart opened its first California distribution center in Porterville 20 years ago.
“We call Ron ‘Pops’ around here because he’s a seasoned driver,” said Tony Fantasia, safety director for the center’s transportation department. “He’s a role model for our younger drivers. I would take a thousand more like him.”
Pacheco, along with 15 others from the local distribution center, was in the running for the CTA’s Driver of the Month title. Of the 16, 10 of Fantasia’s nominees where chosen as Drivers of the Month for various months, and Pacheco as Driver of the Year.
Those Walmart DC drivers named drivers of the month were Tana Agcaloili, Randy Rhoades, Frank Ramos, Steve Hansen, Daneil Tristan, Don McGowan, David Seay, Michael Schnetzler and Mark Taylor.
“That goes to show you the talent we have in this little town, because we took on the LAs’ and the San Franciscos’ and three quarters of the awards were given here,” Fantasia added.
Pacheco said he is still on “cloud nine” since receiving the award at the CTA’s annual awards banquet held in Sacramento on Nov. 12.
“I knew I was in the running for Driver of the Year, but in my wildest dream I would of never thought I’d receive it, there were other people there I felt they’re just as deserving,” he said Monday during an interview.
Pacheco attributes his accomplishments as a truck driver to Walmart’s safety program and to his faith.
“For the last 30 years it’s been my love for the Lord. It has kept me honest and true,” he said. “There isn’t a day you go out there and you don’t deserve a ticket, we all break the rules somewhere, but I’ve been blessed never to be cited.”
Pacheco said he is living one of his life-long goals of being a truck driver.
“There was three things in life I wanted to grow up to be,” he said. “I wanted to be a policeman and I couldn’t do that because of my knees, my football injuries. I wanted to be a fireman and I got to be a paid-call volunteer fireman for seven years in La Palma.”
In 1964, while working for Blue Chip Stamps Co. in Commerce, he was asked if he would like to be a truck driver.
“That was my final goal in life, and I said OK,” Pacheco said.
And so, his driving career began.
Nearly 46 years later, he’s only been cited once for a moving violation, but that happened so long ago, he said, he can’t remember the details.
“It’s overwhelming,” Fantasia said. “I’m a firm believer we have some of the best drivers in the state right here in Porterville.”
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, ext. 1047 or email@example.com.