“For precocity, some great price is always demanded sooner or later in life”—Margaret Fuller
My name is Joe Simpson. I grew up in a small town called Roper, North Carolina. There was a paper mill there called Weyerhaeuser, where they produced paper products and lumber for building materials.
The majority of my family worked at the mill, and this is where I first became fascinated with tractor-trailers, as some of my family members operated them as well. I have been around trucks all my life. It has been a dream of mine to become an owner/operator.
One of the first jobs I had was driving a dump truck for a friend of mine. I started driving dump trucks around the age of 19. However, due to some poor choices that I made, I had a setback from pursuing my dream to become an owner/operator.
Despite this, I have been able to make a turnabout with my life, beginning with earning my GED while incarcerated in Laconia, New Hampshire in 2001.
After my release from incarceration in August 2020, I was committed to a better life for myself. Although I faced challenges when seeking support due to my past experiences with substance abuse, incarceration, and more, I never gave up and continued to persevere.
Then, I learned about St. Francis House through the Gavin Foundation, where I am a member of the Peer-to-Peer Wrap Around program.
When I first arrived, St. Francis House provided me with the necessities: hot meals, clean clothing, and a case manager to help me directly. In November 2020, I started the Moving Ahead Program (MAP) with the St. Francis House workforce development department.
Through MAP, I was connected to sober, safe housing that allowed me to focus on my employment skills. Over 14 weeks, I received the proper training to re-enter the workforce successfully. I learned how to write resumes, cover letters, and I’ve been brought up to speed with technology. Now, I feel more connected and confident because I can do things on my own without asking for help.
In addition, thanks to the workforce development department at St. Francis House being a MassHire AccessPoint site, I was connected to the New England Tractor Trailer School where I will begin training in the truck driving program on March 15th after completing MAP this month.
After serving my time and being released from incarceration, I was grateful for the support of St. Francis House. During my time here, I was able to find services in order to improve my life, to change my old behaviors, and to be more available to my family.
I feel confident that I will be employed after graduating. The outlook in this career is very lucrative, and my passion and interest in tractor-trailer trucks have only grown. My future plans include starting my own transportation business. It has always been my goal in life to work for myself and prepare a healthy business for my grandsons if they desire to follow in my footsteps.
Thank you for this opportunity, St. Francis House.