An accomplished Carbon Express driver soon will have his name immortalized at a TravelCenters of America location.
Bill McNamee earned the prestigious honor as one of two 2023 Citizen Driver Award winners in TA’s annual program, which recognizes the professional drivers who keep America moving. The travel center near McNamee’s home in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, will be renamed the Bill McNamee TA Travel Center during an Aug. 29 ceremony.
“If I were a driver today, and that happened to me, I’d be walking on a cloud, because that’s pretty significant in my mind,” said Steve Rush, the recently retired founder of Carbon Express, which now is part of the Kenan Advantage Group.
“It tells the world that you’re a good guy.”
Rush said he plans to attend the ceremony, along with Sean McAllister, Carbon Express president, members of KAG’s leadership team, and local officials. McNamee and Lamar A. Buckwalter, of Leola, Pennsylvania, secured the Citizen Driver awards March 31 during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The title included a crystal trophy and $2,500 donation to each winner’s organization(s) of choice.
McNamee split his between the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation ($1,000), Women in Trucking (WIT) diesel tech scholarship ($750), and Trucker Buddy International ($750).
The veteran of more than three decades in trucking credited all the people who have supported him along the way for the honor. “My name might be on there but there are a lot of people who got me to this point in my career,” he said. “So it’s representative of all the people I’ve dealt with, my mentors, and the people I’ve admired and emulated.”
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McNamee’s wife, Carrie, who drives a school bus for Christopher Unit School District No. 99, also deserves credit. She nominated him for the award.
“I think she kind of likes me,” McNamee joked. “A little bit anyway.”
In addition, McNamee is a volunteer firefighter, licensed medical first responder, vessel examiner for the Coast Guard auxiliary, and passionate member of No Volunteer Dies Alone and Truckers Against Trafficking. He also volunteers at Veterans Affairs hospitals and advocates for positive change throughout the industry.
“It’s important to try to make a difference,” McNamee explained.
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TA’s Citizen Driver program has recognized 41 professional truck drivers since 2013. This year’s judges included Donna Kennedy, St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund director; Dave Nemo, Road Dog Media on-air host; Todd Spencer, Owner Operator Independent Driver Association president; and Ellen Voie, WIT president and CEO.
“To get a truck stop named after you is pretty prestigious,” Rush said.