Sifet Hota --- C.R. England, Inc.
For many professional drivers, working on the open road is the epitome of our right as Americans to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Unfortunately, many take these words for granted—even in light of 9/11—but not Sifet Hota (pronounced “see-fït hoe-ta”). To him, these words are as relevant today as they were when Thomas Jefferson wrote them in the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Sifet’s pursuit of happiness, including becoming an American citizen and a C.R. England driver, didn’t come without fighting for the right to life and liberty, however.
This soft-spoken man was born and raised in Yugoslavia. He was working as a carpenter to support his wife and three children in 1992 when civil war broke out. The Serbs, who were once his neighbors, turned on his Bosnian countrymen and burned their homes. In the blink of an eye, his quiet life was gone, and he was a civil war soldier.
Over the next four years he fought for his family and country, surviving until the United Nations peacekeeping forces, led by U.S. troops, arrived and stopped yet another genocide.
Finally feeling safe, but without a way to provide for his family, he was sponsored into the U.S. Unfortunately, his war wounds prevented him from using his skills as a carpenter, so he worked at a car wash and tried a new vocation as a butcher.
After talking with a driver about the benefits of a career on the road, he enrolled in C.R. England’s driving school hoping to provide a better life for his family. But his journey to self-sufficiency nearly ended before it even began. “The training department wanted to send him home,” recalls his recruiter Shenole Newman. “He could drive, but language was a huge barrier.”
Sifet missed a road test because he didn’t know where to go, and the classroom setting was overwhelming. “He struggled, but not for the lack of trying,” says his recruiter. “Sifet wanted to be a driver, and I wanted to help him.”
Newman and recruiter Michelle Ferguson spent extra time explaining logs, DOT regulations and other details. They also enlisted the help of two Yugoslavian security guards working at C.R. England to translate.
In broken but sincere English, Sifet has expressed his gratitude for the extra effort provided by Newman and others. He says his appreciation will last forever, because now he has the means to support his family.
In addition to a new career, Sifet has a new country. On February 14, he passed his citizenship test. And those at C.R. England who have helped him share in his excitement.
“I looked up from my desk and saw a very excited Sifet,” recalls C.R. England director Bud Pierce. “He was standing there proudly holding a piece of paper, and he was desperate to show it to me. Sifet beamed with pride and said, ‘I’ve passed the test. I can be an American!’”
Although his story has an all-American ending, Sifet and his family have traveled a rough trail in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, as have many immigrants before them. Sifet’s story is just one of many where C.R. England and the entire trucking industry have helped make a positive, life-changing impact on the lives of many people.
The staff of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines would like to wish Sifet continued success with C.R. England. For more information on company driver opportunities available at Englamd, see their ad on page 5 of this issue, call their recruiting department at (800) 356-5046 or visit their Web site at http://www.crengland.net.