Volunteering for Pet Rescue
On July 7, Tony Alsup was having a dog day, though he wasn’t complaining. He was transporting two special pets to New England for a rescue mission.
An owner-operator with Skyline Transportation, Tony is also a volunteer with Operation Roger – a non-profit charity reliant on drivers who volunteer to transport pets across the country. Tony was rescuing Xena and Chronos from a shelter in Miami-Dade, Florida to an English Bulldog rescue in Vermont.
“This program provides transport for pets for a variety of circumstances,” says Tony. “Dogs may be displaced from a hurricane or a natural disaster, or may need relocated to ensure a better chance of adoption instead of the alternative.”
Xena and Chronos were Tony’s inaugural rescue trip with Operation Roger, however, he’s no stranger to volunteering and service. For the last several years, Tony has also volunteered with Wreaths Across America, a nationally-coordinated project that lays wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery and additional locations all over the country. Skyline donates 2% of its fleet to Wreaths Across America each December and Tony is one of the drivers.
“I heard about Operation Roger talking with some of the drivers associated with Wreaths Across America. It sounded like something I wanted to do, so I volunteered. Both projects make me feel good.”
Tony began driving with Skyline in 2014. Before becoming a professional driver, he owned an office furniture installation business for ten years. It was during that time he began to consider transitioning to the trucking industry.
“I realized that the transportation industry is recession proof. In good times, I was bringing furniture into my store and in bad times, I was trucking it out. I noticed the truck driver was the constant – he was making money in both scenarios. It’s a very honest and respectable way to make a living.”
Tony said it was the leadership that sold him on Skyline, specifically its owner- Mr. “Big Bill” Reed.
“I came to Skyline to apply and was on the back dock. This gentleman comes around driving a truck and I ask him how long he’s been with the company. He said, ‘Oh 50 – 60 years’. I asked how they treat their drivers and the man answers, ‘Pretty good.’ I find out that this man is the founder of the company! That day I saw both Mr. Reed and his son, Jeff, shuttling trailers and thought, ‘If the leaders are willing to work and get involved, I know I’ll fit right in’.”
In January 2017, Tony purchased his own truck. Even though he has the freedom to drive for any carrier, he is not interested in driving for anyone other than Skyline.
“When I bought my own truck, I did my research and I like the way Skyline operates. I used to think that the only difference between trucking companies was the 800 number, but that was until I came to Skyline. They are honest, professional, get their drivers home every week and their owner-operator program is top notch. They support their drivers, keep their word and pay well.”
Tony was excited to deliver Xena and Chronos to the rescue in Vermont but pointed out that it comes with tremendous responsibility.
“Operation Roger is a great organization and is constantly looking for drivers. They help connect dogs and cats with new homes all over the country, but you have to take it seriously. Hide a key because they’ll lock you out. Carry two leashes and let them choose the music. These two will bark unless I turn on heavy metal. They don’t like country at all, forget about salsa, but 80’s music is ok!”