U.S. Army National Guard
If you want to find a powerhouse of a woman, look no further than Silvia Chavez. Silvia is an Army National Guard veteran, having served six years as a medic. When her husband on active-duty had to relocate for work, the two picked up and moved from Fort Leonard Wood, MO to Fort Knox, KY.
“I’d constantly run across advertisements for CDL drivers,” said Silvia. “So I figured, why not? I got my license and training, and before I knew it, I was an over-the-road driver.”
With Silvia and her husband planning for another move within the next year or so, she says she needed to focus on having a career where it would be easy to adapt to constant change.
The field training she participated in for the National Guard prepared her well for her time as an over-the-road driver in that she had already grown accustomed to the idea of sometimes having to be away from the comforts of home. The National Guard also taught her tremendous work ethic and empowered her to take pride in her work.
“It taught me to step up to the plate at all times,” she shared. “I didn’t know all the ways I would end up applying the things I learned there.”
Silvia now drives for a Ryder dairy customer, where she has a predictable route and schedule that allows her to be home more often.
“There are so many benefits to being a driver—from the independence that comes from being my own boss, to the drama-free nature of the position.”
While there are various misconceptions that come along with being a driver, such as the assumption that all drivers are unhealthy, Silvia insists that the job of a driver is an important one and one which requires of a “take charge” type of attitude. Silvia believes driving needs to be looked at like an office job in the sense that because drivers sit for such long periods of time, it is critical that they get up and take care of themselves. She advises drivers to eat healthy and take the time to exercise on their free time, as doing so enables them to perform better and be more alert.
“People often see women and think ‘oh no, it's a woman driving—watch out,’ but I've heard that we are actually some of the safest CDL drivers out on the road,” said Silvia. “I think women are always trying to take care of things, so in the driving industry, I believe we do the same thing, from taking special care of what we are carrying in our loads, to being particularly mindful of the people driving around us.”
We salute women like Silvia. A veteran who’s already dedicated herself to serving our country, she continues to serve by delivering some of the everyday goods that Americans consume daily. She is a role model to other women who may find the industry to be an intimidating one, and she is a shining example of what it means to be a tough, smart woman who takes ownership of her work.