ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Between 1,500 and 1,800 truck drivers pass through I-95's mile marker 24 each day, according to North Carolina State Highway Patrol. On Thursday, John Manus drove through from Jackson, Miss., hauling lawn mowers for the Lowes Distribution Center.
"Since this pandemic started, we haven't stopped working. We've been working six to seven days a week. Steady rolling, trying to keep the stores stocked," said Manus.
Another trucker was passing through after dropping a load of jet fuel off at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.
"We've kept the gas going so people can get back to work and what not. There's guys hauling food and toilet paper. They've been critical throughout this process," said Rick Maroritz.
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Highway Patrol partnered with the North Carolina Trucking Association to distribute 400 boxed lunches from Firehouse Subs, along with a cold drink.
"They're kind of surprised because normally when they come through here it's a safety inspection," said Major Freddy Johnson Jr., a representative for NC State Highway Patrol.
During this global pandemic, truck drivers' role is more critical as they transport essential goods to keep our economy moving forward.
"It's been a very positive awakening of what a truck and tractor trailer means on the road than what it meant 45 days ago," said Crystal Collins, a representative for the North Carolina Trucking Association.
North Carolina state troopers salute truck drivers with box lunch as they keep economy rolling during pandemic