B. Hunt, Governor
|DOC managers juggle duties to attend training||On the road again
Truck drivers for the department's warehouse deliver supplies to more than 200 locations across the state
While much of the world is still in bed, these drivers begin their day navigating the states highways and byways by the glow of their headlights.
Despite the early morning hours, Fred Raynor says he loves his job. A truck driver with DOC for more than six years, Raynor, age 61, has been driving trucks for most of his adult life. Prior to coming to work for the Central Supply Warehouse, Raynor was a long-distance trucker for 20 years, hauling supplies up and down the entire East Coast and into the mid-west.
"I always wanted to drive a truck. I just really enjoy it," Raynor said. "If I had to say something bad about it, the worst part is being away from home and having to go sometimes when youd really rather be at home. But now that I drive for DOC, Im home almost every night."
Raynor enjoys his job so much that he didnt even let something like quadruple heart by-pass surgery stop him from driving for too long. Raynor said he woke up early one Monday morning in July having difficulty breathing. He went to the hospital that day and on Wednesday underwent surgery. Within seven weeks of his operation, Raynor was back at work hauling supplies across the state.
Units electronically enter their orders for supplies over the computer, and the orders print out each night at the warehouse. Donnie Matthews, manager of the warehouse division, said warehouse employees process approximately 6,000 orders every month.
According to Matthews, the warehouse stocks approximately 1500 different items including dry and canned foods, inmate and correctional officer uniforms, janitorial products and office supplies.
"When I first started working here at the warehouse nine years ago, we had 700 to 800 line items, now we have 1500," he said. "We maintain $10 million worth of inventory in the warehouse at all times and ship out more than $3 million worth of product each month."
With so many items being ordered by the units, the 18 employees and 24 inmates working at the warehouse stay busy filling orders and restocking inventory. Every day, employees pull enough items to fill seven or eight trucks.
When filling orders, Matthews said each item is checked twice to ensure accuracy once when the inmates pull the product off the shelves and once when the truck drivers deliver the items to the unit. Nothing can be taken off the truck without it first being checked off by the driver.
"Checking off inventory is just as big a responsibility as driving," Matthews said. "If the driver says something was not on the truck, we give the unit credit for that item. Whatever the driver says, goes."
With only the words of Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura coming over the AM radio to keep him company, Raynor expertly navigates his 18-wheeler along back roads en route to the states prisons. After six years of driving for DOC, Raynor can easily make his way to any one of the departments prisons without stopping to consult a map.
"I always like to tell people that Ive been in every prison in the state," he said with a smile. "That makes for good conversation."
Before Raynor is allowed to enter or leave a prison with his truck, an officer must always check the vehicle inside and out to make sure he is not bringing in any contraband or illegal substances or transporting any inmates out.
Raynor said once when he was delivering supplies to Anson Correctional Center and another driver was delivering to Brown Creek Correctional Institution, an inmate managed to hide underneath some packing material in the back of the other drivers truck. Raynor and the other driver both stopped for gas and lunch and drove all the way back to Raleigh before realizing someone was in the back of the truck. Knowing it was an inmate, they reported to the warehouse office, and the Garner Police, Central Prison and a K-9 dog all responded and got the inmate out.
"It was July at the time and probably 104 degrees in the back of that truck," Raynor said. "That inmate was dying to get out by the time we got back to Raleigh."
Raynor said in all the years hes been driving trucks, hes only been involved in one bad wreck, and the wreck was not his fault. Prior to coming to work for DOC, Raynor was driving in New Jersey and a man who was parked on the side of the road got out of his car and ran out in front of Raynors truck. Raynor said the authorities believe the man probably committed suicide.
Matthews said all of the warehouses drivers have safe driving records.
"My guys do a good job," he said. "Ive been here nine years now, and weve had a few bumps and bruises, but 95 percent of those werent our fault. Theyve driven more than three million miles in the last nine years and have not had a major accident that speaks well of the drivers."
In addition to being safe drivers, Matthews said the nine truck drivers are also always willing to help out during disasters like Hurricane Fran. During such disasters, the drivers are often called on to deliver supplies to the hardest hit areas. After Hurricane Fran, the drivers hauled fresh water to the beach, using their truck bumpers to clear paths through sand that was blocking the roadway.
"Any time theres a crisis, these guys are called upon, and they go," Matthews said. "No matter how early in the morning." u
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