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BRAD ROBICHAUX — Jason Forward demonstrates achievement in time of COVID-19

I learned about it through Facebook.

Jason Forward, who I met a few weeks ago when I paid a visit to Lamar State College Port Arthur’s commercial driver’s license class, passed his CDL test.

Not only that, he finished in one month a class that usually takes three. Even so, this has been a long-fought struggle and long-desired goal for Forward.

“I was trying to get a CDL five years ago,” Forward told me. “I just didn’t want to go to a school where I had to be on the road all the time.”

Forward now works for Foster & Sons Logging in Bon Wier.

“It was to have a better future for my family, and I got tired of living paycheck to paycheck,” Forward said.

I wrote about the CDL class April 4 for the The Port Arthur News “2020 Vision For Success” special edition. These classes help train and certify truck and commercial drivers for Class A and Class B licenses.

These drivers are in high demand right now, essential to the economic activity and supply chains still needed during the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

Because of that demand, LSCPA is continuing to hold the classes despite the shutdowns.

Yes, demand is that high. To recall what Dr. Ben Stafford, dean of workforce and continuing education, said in my previous story: “At this point, to have a license is to have a job, period.”

The CDL classes are one excellent avenue to follow toward a better life, if Forward’s story is any indication. Institutions like LSCPA exist to provide these kinds of avenues, and they are sorely needed.

There’s no way to sugarcoat it — we’re living in a history-making crisis right now. Becoming better, or even getting back to normal, is going to be a real struggle. But even in the midst of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the pandemic, or even the distress from losing a job because of the shutdowns, what can make the difference in the fight to return to normalcy will be a perspective that seeks to find solutions.

Forward, like many others, didn’t let the crisis keep him from getting a better job.

Don’t let the crisis hold you back, either, because there are folks out there who want to help. These times are trying, but remember that places like LSCPA are here to do what they can.

It does no good to ruminate on all the bad. There still exists potential to improve, and Forward’s story is a testament to the kind spirit that strives to always be better.

It feels good to hear stories like these, and I’m proud of Forward. Jania Rambo, Forward’s wife and whose comment on my story alerted me to Forward’s achievement, was likewise proud of her husband.

“I’m so proud of you and grateful to you,” she wrote. “You’re the best figure our kids could look up to and you have taught myself and our family a valuable lesson… never give up on what you want.”

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at brad.robichaux@panews.com