Pilot Flying J celebrates 60th year by donating $2 million

Typically, those celebrating an anniversary are showered with gifts.

But, as Pilot Flying J observed its 60th anniversary Thursday, it was the company that was giving goodies to others.

James Haslem II (Pilot FlyingJ photo)James Haslem II (Pilot FlyingJ photo)

During a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon and ceremonies earlier, top company officials announced a total of $2 million was being given to more than 20 organizations, including those supporting military veterans and some serving the trucking industry.

Jim Haslam II, Pilot Flying J’s founder, said the company was contributing to non-profit organizations that help truckers and are part of the trucking industry. Among them are the St. Christopher’s Relief Fund, Truckers Against Trafficking, Trucker Buddy International, Trucking Cares Foundation and Truckers Final Mile.

He said donations were also made to Hire Heroes USA, Bunker Labs, Fisher House and Folds of Honor. The funds will be used to support veterans and their families by providing cost-free housing to those caring for injured loved ones and by connecting them with opportunities to improve their lives.

Pilot Flying J is also contributing to community organizations such as Boys and Girls Club of America, Feeding America, and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Talking to reporters, Haslam referenced a Bible verse he said helped capture the motivation behind his company’s donations.

“It’s our privilege to be able to share these things you see today,” said Haslam. “As everyone who knows me knows one of my favorite sayings is, ‘To who much is given, much is required.’ Keyword required. A lot of people use a biblical quote (Luke 12:48) which is not accurate, ‘To who much is given. Much is expected.’ It’s required. And at Pilot. Flying J we have a responsibility to give back to the community, not only here in Knoxville, but all of the communities where we operate our travel centers throughout the United States. And we take this responsibility very seriously.”

Pictured from left: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley President and CEO Bart McFadden; Pilot Flying J Founder James A. Haslam II; Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee Executive Director Elaine Streno; Hire Heroes USA Chief Financial Officer Nathan Smith; Feeding America Chief Development Officer Andy Wilson; and Pilot Flying J Community Relations and Events Manager Meg Counts. (Pilot Flying J photo)Pictured from left: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley President and CEO Bart McFadden; Pilot Flying J Founder James A. Haslam II; Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee Executive Director Elaine Streno; Hire Heroes USA Chief Financial Officer Nathan Smith; Feeding America Chief Development Officer Andy Wilson; and Pilot Flying J Community Relations and Events Manager Meg Counts. (Pilot Flying J photo)

Also during Thursday’s conference call, Haslam and other top company officials reviewed how the company has done so far this year, and especially the third quarter, which ended with September. They also looked ahead to 2019.

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During the third quarter, Pilot Flying J:

  • opened six new stores in U.S. and Canada
  • enhanced or remodeled three travel centers
  • created 250 new truck parking spaces
  • added 35 new diesel lanes
  • installed 18 new showers

Brin Ferguson, Pilot Flying J’s chief merchant, reviewed other accomplishments of the company, including growing its service centers and emergency roadside service trucks. He said the company expects to have three more service centers open by year’s end. They will be in El Paso, Texas; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Lake Township, Ohio.

Ferguson also said the company has made more services available — including paying for fuel and reserving parking — with its mobile app. Truckers can also use the app to be notified when their shower is ready.