Curtis Cunningham Inducted Into UPS’s Circle of Honor
By Ben Zigterman | The Register-Mail
GALESBURG — One of UPS’s Galesburg drivers was recently recognized for 25 years of safe driving.
Curtis Cunningham, 53, Galesburg, was inducted into UPS’s Circle of Honor for 25 years of safe driving. He is one of 86 new inductees from Illinois, UPS announced last month.
Cunningham first learned if the honor last year in a surprise ceremony.
“They had a surprise recognition. My family was there, which I didn’t know at the time. They asked me to come in a little early that morning for some safety thing,” Cunningham said. “As soon as I go in the building, my little grandson says, ‘Surprise! Congratulations!” And all the drivers were there and applauded. It was pretty neat.”
Cunningham is now one of four drivers from the Galesburg location with more than 25 years of safe driving, his supervisor, Ryan Bushong, said. He joins Loyce Smith, Gary Boelkes and Dave Moore.
“Once they hit Circle of Honor, it’s a huge deal, and we make a big deal about it,” Bushong said. “He was thrilled once he got into it.”
Cunningham now has a banner in the rafters at the Galesburg Customer Center, 1937 Lacon Drive, with his name on it. He also received a plaque, a leather UPS coat and a nameplate on his truck marking his 25 years of safe driving. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, also sent him a letter congratulating him.
“It’s a great accomplishment because they stress safety,” Cunningham said. “And not too many people make it in the Circle of Honor.”
Out of 5,165 total UPS drivers in Illinois, there are just 385 active Circle of Honor drivers. Globally, there are 7,878 active Circle of Honor drivers.
Cunningham has been with UPS for 30 years.
“I started as Christmas help back in ’85, and I spent four years loading the trucks and then the other 26 driving,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham has never been in an accident. He’s a defensive driver, but even so, attributes his streak partly to good fortune.
“I’ve been lucky so far,” Cunningham said. “I don’t know if you’ve traveled on Highway 34 during the winter time. It can get pretty dangerous, the way the snow might blow and drift on the roads.”
For about 20 years, he’s been delivering to Kewanee. He drives an average of 140 miles each day, makes 100 stops and sometimes delivers up to 400 packages.“
And there’s times where I’m bringing back more than I take out, especially in the Christmas season,” Cunningham said.
His safe driving habits from UPS have carried over to his personal driving.
“As I became a UPS driver, I caught myself doing the same thing in my regular person car driving,” Cunningham said. “I know when my kids were younger, and I’m always slowing up at intersections, they say, ‘Dad, you got the right of way.’ I said, ‘Well just watch me and learn.’ So when I was teaching them how to drive, I was telling them how to be a defensive driver.”
This story originally appeared in Galesburg’s The Register-Mail on March 22, 2015.
View the story here.