TORONTO — The Highway Star of the Year for 2012 is a two-million-safe-mile award-winning driver who is considered an inspiration to his colleagues and coworkers. His customers say they welcome his smile when he shows up with a load, his nephew Seth Woodside “thinks he walks on water,” and his folks Edgar and Brenda McGibbon are just plain real proud of their son.
The winner is Stephen McGibbon, an owner-operator with Milltown Trucking of Oak Bay, N.B. He accepted the Highway Star of the Year honor and the $10,000 in cash and prizes that go with it at a special awards ceremony on Saturday, at Truck World 2012 in Toronto.
McGibbon was accompanied to the show by his parents, Master Woodside, Milltown Owner Doug Morrow and Genie Kelson.
In his acceptance, McGibbon displayed characteristic humbleness and said that while he appreciates being honored, he added: “There’s lots of other drivers just as qualified as myself for this.”
Morrow told the crowd that whenever any driver-recognition program comes around, the staff at Milltown, which employs upwards of 30 drivers, knows that the natural candidate is McGibbon.
In 2011, McGibbon was named Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association Volvo Trucks Canada Driver of the Year. Several times, he has earned the Driver of the Year Award from his company. And he was the first winner of the coveted Dave Morrow Memorial Award.
In 2009, Doug Morrow’s brother Dave, who was not only McGibbon’s boss but also his childhood buddy, went missing during a snowmobile ride. After bravely searching the local area for three hours, McGibbon came across his friend, who had passed away. McGibbon called the authorities and waited four hours until the coroner arrived. In doing so, McGibbon saved Morrow’s family the sad act of having to identify the remains. “It’s what a true hero does,” Milltown’s Safety Coordinator Heather McCulloch wrote in her nomination papers.
“It’s not the sort of thing you want to do twice in one lifetime,” McGibbon told Today’s Trucking.
This year’s contest saw a record number of entries. The judges noted that this was definitely one of the most tightly competitive contests since the award was introduced eight years ago. Among the judges this year was the very first Highway Star of the Year, Rene Robert.
McGibbon, 44 and single, has been a driver for 27 years, the last 15 with Milltown. He says he started driving for his father’s construction company at “about 12 or 14” but earned his commercial license as soon as he turned 18.
Ninety percent of his runs, he says, are between Toronto and New Brunswick, hauling steel one way and particle board the other.
McCulloch described McGibbon as extremely professional, and says he believes in constant upgrading and professional development.
“He is very courteous and polite, with not only our customers but our management, dispatchers, office staff, mechanics, and fellow drivers, both on and off the highway.”
Sponsors for the Highway Star of the Year are Newcom Business Media (which publishes this magazine and owns Truck World) Freightliner Trucks, Meritor, Espar Heater Systems, Cummins, Chevron, and the Owner-Operator Business Association of Canada. The winner gets a check for $10,000, plus a trip to Toronto, a special-edition jacket, a road-ready laptop, and an efficient diesel-fired cab heater.
The award was presented to McGibbon by the Vice President Editorial of Newcom Business Media and the founding editor of Today’s Trucking, Rolf Lockwood.
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