Stepping Up to Help

Continuing its long-standing commitment to help, CFI steps up to provide local schools logistics solution for masks

By Al Muskewitz

Nobody has to tell the kids at the Webster Primary Center in Webb City, Mo. – or their parents – truck drivers aren’t heroes.

As the kids were getting ready to go back to school in August school officials throughout Southwest Missouri were concerned about keeping them safe around their teachers and classmates in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The school systems had protective face masks ordered, but no way to get them delivered on time. Enter CFI Logistics – and driver Angel Quinones – to the rescue.

The Joplin, Mo.-based carrier stepped up to provide in-kind transportation to get more than 525,000 masks to students and staff in more than 60 schools in the region. They were part of an allotment of 2 million masks the State Emergency Management Agency secured for distribution around the state, but individual districts had to provide their own transportation to get them.

After Joplin had been asked to be a distribution point and school soon to start, Dave Pettit, director of facilities with the Joplin School District, reached out to CFI for assistance, and the carrier agreed to transport and drop off the masks at various locations.

“It worked out great,” Pettit told the Joplin Globe. “I’m so thankful for CFI because they didn’t stop with Joplin. They helped districts in the entire Southwest Missouri area. As schools, we may compete on the athletic field, but when it comes to kids, we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing.”

“We were really proud we could save the school district money and provide the materials to operate safely,” said Katlin Owens, CFI’s senior marketing manager.

Quinones, a CFI driver since 2018 with two daughters who attend Webb City schools, made a 345-mile run from Illinois to Jefferson City to pick up the masks, then traveled south and delivered to Lebanon (65 boxes), Springfield (445), Joplin (129) and other points. In Joplin, a batch of 16,000 masks went to students at 11 elementary schools, three middle school and high schools.

One of the students who received the masks was Owens’ 6-year-old daughter, Kira, a first-grader at Webster Primary.

“I am proud to be part of this CFI family,” Owens said. “This was one of the occasions I got to be on both sides, the giver and the recipient, and I appreciate knowing Kira’s safe because her and her schoolmates got a mask.

“I’m especially grateful the school district doesn’t have to divert funds for education to transporting masks. Any dollar that is diverted away from supporting education is really a bummer for future generations and we should do what we can to support the schools.”

CFI knows very well what it means for neighbors to help neighbors, having been the beneficiary of similar efforts when a catastrophic EF5 tornado devastated its community in May 2011, and it has historically risen to the occasion in times of crisis.

“We’re always looking out for where we’re stationed,” Quinones told the Joplin Globe.

And for CFI, that covers a wide area. The carrier operates five truckload service locations in four states and has five additional drop yards in three others, plus locations in Mexico. They’ve regularly stepped up in times of national need, donating in-kind transportation for Houston flood relief, cold snaps in California, Superstorm Sandy and various shoe drives.

They’re also the national transportation sponsor for Holy Joe’s Café, a faith-based charity that provides donated coffee and supplies to American troops stationed in 70 different countries.

“Frankly, we’re used to it,” Owens said. “We’ve got our system down. For as long as I can remember, and I’ve been here eight years, any time there’s a major disaster we’ve answered the call whenever it’s safe to do so and we can vet the organization.

“CFI can lead the way where we can and if more companies recognize the challenges faced by some of our critical industries like our schools, we’ll be able to get through this together.”

Al Muskewitz is Editor of Wright Media. He can be reached at

Photo: Joplin, Mo., School District officials express their appreciation to CFI Logistics and driver Angel Quinones for delivering a load of face masks in time for the start of the school year. (Photo by Joplin School District courtesy of CFI).

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