Thoughts From A Trainer, Part Two

By Tim Brady

Editor’s Note:  This is the second installment in a three-part series. If you missed the March issue, you can view it online by clicking the In The Magazine tab at www.studentdriverplacement.com

We asked our veteran trucker to continue with what trainers really think when they’re OTR with a new driver.

“Well, get it out of your head that because you can push a truck forward and keep it between the lines, you’re a full-fledged truck driver.

That just means you’re a steering wheel holder. If that’s all you want to be, fine. But you’re with the wrong trainer if you think that’s good enough to make a career out of one of the hardest professions around.

It really ticks me off to have someone behind the wheel who won’t listen. I guess that’s the one thing most of us trainers would ask all our new drivers – please, just listen to us for a few minutes. Sit and listen at truckstops or truck shows when long-time drivers are talking to pick up pointers too.

And I also have to admit, I don’t agree with trainers taking new drivers out – and they’ve got a whopping six months’ of experience themselves. Come on. Not enough. If that’s the company you’re driving for, then you have to drive even more carefully. Get your two years in, and then find yourself a better carrier, one that values its drivers more than that kind of callousness.

Okay, what else will help a new driver do better? Watch over-correcting when you do something wrong. Never, ever jerk the wheel or slam on the brakes. Not only is either one hard on your truck, but it’s hard on your own nerves. Look far enough ahead to anticipate what could happen. If you’re rolling up to a stop sign, and you see a car on the side road that doesn’t seem to be slowing, gear your truck down even more. It’s better to crawl up to a stop than to go over the top of a car that roared on into the intersection.

Keep in mind that unless I’m a certified jerk, I’m lead driver, because I’m the trainer. I answer to Safety every day, as well as Dispatch. And I’m trying my best – to help you become your best.”

Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com

or call 731.749.8567 

Think It Over: What You Remember

By Dan Baker

It’s hard to believe that we are already four months into 2014! I sincerely hope you are doing well, and that you are excited about your career as a professional truck driver. I am sure you are learning a lot, and I hope you will remember as much of your lesson material as possible. The more you learn, the better you’ll do.

And as you are in the process of learning to be a professional truck driver, I want to ask you a few questions:

  • Can you remember the names of the last five Heisman Trophy Winners?
  • Can you remember the names of the last five Miss Americas?
  • Can you remember the names of the five richest people in the world?
  • Can you remember the names of the last five Pulitzer Prize Winners?

Probably not, huh? But let me ask you this: Can you remember the name of that school teacher that knew your name and took some extra time with you and helped you with your lessons?

Can you remember the name of the friend who stood up for you, and had your back when you were in trouble?

I’ll bet you can. Why? Because we remember the people who cared. We remember the people who went out of their way and took the time to help us along the way.

It’s strange what we remember, isn’t it? While you are in driving school, you will learn a lot, but the people you will remember will be those people who were kind, and understanding, and who took the time to make sure you understood what they were teaching you.

There is an old saying that goes, “I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care.” That is so true. If you care about me, I’ll give you anything in the world. I’ll do anything for you. But if you don’t care, you cannot fake it and make it. Why? Because we don’t trust a fake. We can spot a fake a hundred miles away, because we intuitively know the real thing when we’re around it.

As you learn all you are learning in truck driving school, do remember that the most important thing you can learn besides your driving skills and safety skills is your people skills. Your ability to get along with other people in a warm, human, friendly kind of way. When you can do that, everything works. Take my word for it, friend, it really does.

So, learn your lessons well, and remember that the most important lesson you’ll ever learn about trucking is that if you’re in the trucking business, first of all, you’re in the people business and then secondly, you’re in the trucking business. If you’ll develop your people skills along with your driving skills, you’ll go a long way toward being a genuine mile-running, money-making mossback driver.

I wish you well, my friend.

For more tips from Dan Baker, check out www.danbakertexas.com

Intro to Trucking: What it’s really like trucking, part 28

April showers bring Spring’s severe weather!

By Timothy D. Brady

Spring’s sprung and with April showers comes severe weather. Let’s check with our two still-learning truckers to see how they deal with this time of year OTR.

What sources do you use to determine the weather along the route you’ll take for a load?

Naomi: Routing; then we look at Mycast and WeatherBug applications.

Ben: I check online weather reports for the areas in which I’m traveling. I also have my girlfriend watch the Weather Channel and keep me updated.
Do you have a severe weather alert system in your truck: weather radio, app on your phone, or ? Which do you find most dependable and why?

Naomi: We have Weather Radio in the truck, and WeatherBug and Mycast have notifications for severe weather. I was a storm spotter for 9 years in Oklahoma, and I’m licensed for ham radio so I use it too. There’s nothing better than the eye to observe what a storm is actually doing.

Ben: I have a weather band on my AM/FM. I also have a ‘radar now’ app on my phone that sends me weather alerts when the weather deteriorates within the area that I’m in.

What if the area you’re in is under a Tornado Watch? What if it turns into a Warning?

Naomi: Watch: I keep a watchful eye. I turn off Sirius; tune in local radio. I jump on my ham radio and start asking and listening. Warning: I will pull over and go inside a building; watch local weather and possibly wait out the storm.

Ben: During a watch I keep my CB on. I keep an eye out for tornadoes. I haven’t been anywhere where there was a warning, but if I was I would try to find a sturdy building to get in if I have the time. If not, I’d find a ditch to lay in if there isn’t flooding. Avoid getting under overpasses. Everything gets sucked under them.


What’s the worst spring storm you’ve experienced OTR? What did you do to protect yourself?

Naomi:  A tornado in Rochelle …. I was at the Petro, already parked for the day. Sirens were going off, so I went inside. High winds, rain, large hail but I was safe. I’d called my then-fiancé so he knew where I was and what was going on, and promised I’d call as soon as the storm passed. And yes, I called him afterwards.

Ben: Worst ‘spring storm’ I’ve been in was Hurricane Isaac. I was in Southern Louisiana. There was a lot of bad wind and rain. I parked next to a strong building to block most of the wind and stayed in the truck till the worst was gone.

New challenges?

Naomi:  I’m sick of winter driving!!!

We got a new dispatcher; he was a driver years ago. (Our old dispatcher was fabulous – he moved to another area in the company.) I can’t say ‘new’; he’s been a dispatcher for 5 years, he’s just new to us. I’m not a real fan of his. He’s moody, pushy; short on the phone. Just don’t like him. I want my other dispatcher back.

Being sick on the road sucks. Within a week I had stomach flu that took me down 3 days. The following week he had the flu. We got a hotel room and did a full reset out of the truck. We were both so sick. I did manage to wash laundry and Clorox-clean the truck those 2 days, to kill germs.

Dealing with a loss of a family member. We were actually off work fishing when we got the call – things were not looking good. We decided to wait and see; went to work Monday but our load was pushed to Tuesday. Monday night, my husband’s grandmother passed away. We left Tuesday morning to go 4 hours down there. All in all, I’m glad we were home and could make it there. We ended up off work 9 days.

Ben: Driving in Atlanta during the winter storms. It was ridiculous. The roads were not that bad. But people went into panic mode and it was a mess. Leaving vehicles in the middle of Interstate 285 was part of the problem. The rest, in my opinion, was pure stupidity. There were no salt trucks out prior to the storm. No preparation. I just kept my cool, updated dispatch and finally got through it.

Interesting experiences?

Naomi: I drive nights; I see all the crazy things drivers do to wake up. Standing at the wheel; head bobbing to music, waving at everyone, talking trash on the CB, drinking energy drinks, stopping and going for a walk in shorts with temps 20 below. I just chuckle. Get more rest, people.

All the wrecks we’ve seen due to winter driving have been amazing. I was told I’m too cautious by a fellow driver. Well, guess what. A week after making that statement to me, this fellow driver put it in the ditch and laid it over. Guess I’ll stay cautious – and safe.

Ben: I, along with many drivers, have been delayed a lot lately due to weather. I personally have not experienced a winter this bad as far as driving conditions.

Advice for someone just finishing school about keeping safe during severe weather?

Naomi: Utilize common sense, local radio stations, weather apps that send a warning to your phone. Remember you’ll never be able to outrun a storm. It’s cutting across fields you are not.

Ben: Keep up with the weather in the direction you are going. Ask other drivers on the CB about conditions. If it’s gonna be real bad, stop before you get there and wait for it to pass. Keep fuel tanks full.

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.

Timothy Brady © 2014

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com

How it Works: Know The Difference

Turning The Corner With Differential Gearing

By Tom Kelley

Axle gearing is used to get power from the driveshaft to the wheel-ends in the proper proportions. The largest gears in a drive axle are the pinion gear (input) and the ring gear (output). The layout of these two gears in the drive axle allows the power to make the 90-degree “turn” to reach the wheel-ends. There are other gears in a drive axle that balance power between the wheel-ends.

On a straight road, all of a vehicle’s wheels should be turning at nearly the same speed. But when driving through a curve in the road, distributing the force in the correct proportion between the left and right drive wheels requires “differential” gearing to allow the wheels to turn at “different” speeds, as the wheels on the outside of the curve travel farther than the wheels on the inside of the curve.

An axle’s main differential is typically built inside the ring gear housing, transferring power from the ring gear, through the differential gears, to the wheel-ends.

When the drivetrain’s pushing power can overcome the tires’ ability to stick to the road, tandem drive axle configurations are used to divide force across a greater number of wheels, reducing the chance of spinning the wheels.

Because a difference in tire sizes between axles is almost unavoidable, and because axle spacing can add to the difference in travel-distance at each wheel position when driving through a curve, an extra set of differential gearing, called the “inter-axle differential” or “power-divider,” allows the two axles to turn at slightly different speeds.

The differential gearing that allows wheels to rotate at different rates when traveling through a turn, however, creates a problem when the wheels on either side of a differential do not have equal traction. With an “open” differential, the wheel with the least traction gets the most power, and there you sit, spinning one wheel and getting nowhere.

With the potentially huge difference in traction across the wheel positions in a tandem drive axle configuration, it’s sometimes necessary to be able to “lock” or disable the inter-axle differential in low-traction situations. Today’s ABS systems can perform this function by selectively braking any wheel that is spinning due to lack of traction.

Web Roads: The Good Guys

Campaign Seeks To Improve Trucking Industry’s Image

By Tom Kelley

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After multiple efforts with varying results over the past few decades, some key players in the trucking industry have come together to launch a new campaign to improve the industry’s image. What makes this effort different is the diversity of the players involved. The big reason that past efforts have come up short, is that most have been organized by a single group or single industry segment, with only that group’s concerns in mind.

Those behind this newest effort have launched TruckingMovesAmerica.com to serve as an online resource for the image campaign, with creative materials, messaging and social media links available to all elements of the industry, as well as the public.

According to the website, “The mission of ‘Trucking Moves America Forward’ is to establish a long-term industry-wide movement to create a positive image for the industry, to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy, and to build the political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and grow the industry in the future.”

Among the movement’s key messages is informing the public about the new trucking technology that has an increased focus on safety, sustainability, efficiency and reliability. There is also a major focus on just how critical trucking is to the national economy. Supporting almost seven million jobs, it is one of the largest and growing industries in the country.

The full movement launch will be in March 2014 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. To help fund the outreach program and development of materials, the campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million per year for the next five years.

“We’re extremely excited for the fundraising effort of this movement to have launched,” said John Conkin, GE Capital SVP and Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry (ACT 1) President. “The trucking industry serves America’s economy, its families and businesses in a way no other industry does. Trucking is essential to the every day lives of all Americans. Our mission today is to make that message stronger and connect our good work with the rest of America.”

Initial members of the Trucking Moves America Forward movement include ACT 1, Allison, Bendix, Bridgestone, Castrol, Cummins, Dana, Detroit Diesel, Eaton Roadranger, GE Capital, Goodyear, Great West Casualty, Hendrickson, International, J.J. Keller & Associates, Kenworth, Love’s Travel Stops, Mack Trucks, Meritor, Michelin, Pegasus, TransTech, Peterbilt, Omnitracs, Randall Reilly, TRW, and Volvo Trucks, among others.

“This movement won’t be a one-time deal,” said Mike Card, fundraising chairman for the movement and president of Combined Transport. “It involves every single part of the industry, from rest stop owners to drivers to manufacturers, and everything in between. Our hope is every individual involved in the industry – along with their families and supporters – will get involved in one way or another.”

The TruckingMovesAmerica.com website provides links to the movement’s social media profiles and to related news articles. Over time, the site is intended to serve as a library of image campaign resources such as advertising materials, brochures, graphics and videos. Two YouTube videos are already available at the site.

Check it out at TruckingMovesAmerica.com on the web, or TruckingFWD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Thoughts From A Trainer: Thoughts From a Trainer, Part One

By Timothy D. Brady

You got your CDL, got hired, and are training. Ever wonder what the trainer’s thinking behind those sunglasses? We asked one.

“I’ve worked for my company a long time. I wonder whether the trucking schools now are just teaching people to pass the test. One of my new drivers couldn’t make a right turn – took out a traffic light, mailbox, bus bench. He’d only look in his mirror once, never lowered my window so he could see without the glare. I made him practice nothing but right turns until he got it.

I know a retired householder who swears he took out an entire row of mailboxes once. Said he should’ve gotten out and looked before he started turning. That’s another thing that gripes me – a new driver won’t get out of the dang cab and go check the area.

Some drivers think if they’re driving team with an experienced driver they’ll be okay. Not in my book. The new driver should do his share of the PTIs, fueling and after-delivery walk-arounds, and all of the hooking and unhooking – under supervision. Not knowing how to do that correctly can get you killed.

One driver that really irritated me was a guy who couldn’t back his trailer. I don’t know how he got his CDL; the regular examiner must’ve been sick that day.

Anyway, he tried for over an hour to back into a straight-shot dock in a totally flat parking lot. Finally I told him what a thirty-year veteran trucker had taught me:  ‘Put your hands down at the bottom of the steering wheel, at 6 o’clock. Then whichever way you turn the wheel, that trailer’s going to go too. Push the wheel left, it’ll go left. Turn it to the right, and the trailer swings right.’

I’m glad I caught him before he’d driven very long. Most of us trainers don’t want to get someone fired, especially when they’re trying to support their family. But when you can’t do something, admit it and get help. Don’t just fake it. Your best bet is to practice, practice, practice.”

Timothy Brady © 2013

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com

 

Intro To Trucking: What it’s really like trucking, part 27

Luck on the Road -Truth or Blarney

By Timothy D. Brady
Happy St. Paddy’s Day! How much has luck got to do with trucking? Let’s ask our two road warriors if it’s truth or blarney.

What was the luckiest event that happened while driving a truck?
Naomi:
Watching road conditions change as another driver did not. It’d been raining; then freezing rain, then snow. A truck passed me; he was still hammering. I’d turned off my cruise and Jake brake and slowed down. About two miles up the road, it was a solid sheet of glare ice. I kept my ‘slow go’ up. He, on the other hand, was in the ditch.

Ben: I was on my way to Texas on 30, almost to Texarkana. It was starting to get dark, and raining. A Jeep Grand Cherokee crossed the median sideways, then backwards, coming straight for me. He/she came within inches of slamming into me, but luckily, missed me and other traffic. I guess they were the lucky ones. If they’d hit me, I don’t think it would have been a good outcome for them at all.

What skills came into play that helped this event be positive?

Naomi: Recognizing that the conditions were changing; temperatures cooling, loss of spray. And no sudden movements. I made it through with no big issues. It was just extremely slick.

Ben: I kept ‘er straight and steady; didn’t panic. Not much else I could do.
Any superstitions you believe help bring you luck or keep you safe from harm? Do you read your astrological forecast?

Naomi: I have a set routine in which I hook and unhook from trailers. My biggest fears are dropping a trailer or high pinning a trailer.
LOL; yes, I read my forecast. Sometimes it’s right on, others it’s not. Depends on my mood if I believe it or not.

Ben: I pray daily for not just me, but everyone around me, to make it home safely. It has been working really well so far.

I don’t read my horoscope.

 

What about a special prayer to keep you safe?

Naomi: I have both a small wooden cross my grandmother made me and a small metal angel my mother-in-law gave me on my visor. My prayer every night when I start to drive is this… “Do NOT swerve. Watch for changing conditions. If tired, take a nap. Keep us safe. Thank you.”

Ben: I like the Lord’s Prayer. I also like Psalm 25, a prayer of guidance, pardon, and protection.
New challenges?
Naomi:  Being sick on the road sucks. Being sick in the truck is worse. I had stomach flu; it first hit me as I was climbing Cabbage Pass in Oregon in a snow storm with nowhere to pull over. Just grabbed the trash can and hurled until I could get to a safe place to stop.

Ben: I had a run through Illinois during the first storm this winter. It was rough. I helped another trucker and a 4-wheeler who’d run off the road get back onto the highway. A day later I needed help because I was stuck on ice at a truckstop in La Salle, IL. It was a stressful time but I made it through the ice and snow, using prayer and luck.
Interesting experiences?

Naomi: I lost someone I thought was a close friend. Women are so harsh on each other. We should be supporting each other as we’re the minority in this industry. Instead, every woman I know is critical of each of us to a degree I’ve never seen in any other industry.

Ben: I was stuck on a sheet of ice. Being empty was the main reason I couldn’t get any traction. I rocked it and rocked it, still no luck. Another driver came with cat litter and was throwing it under my tires while they were spinning. It took some time and patience, but it finally caught and I was off the ice.
Advice for someone just finishing school about keeping luck on your side when OTR?
Naomi: Pay attention. Watch conditions. Follow a routine. Do NOT get into a hurry. Be nice to each other. We’re all doing the same job. PAY IT FORWARD.

Ben: During the winter, always keep a bag of sand or cat litter on the truck. It may get you rolling again. Remember if the snow plows aren’t out clearing the roads, it’s not a good idea for you to be out there going 15 miles per hour either. Think Safety Always!

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.

Timothy Brady © 2013

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com

Career Path Profile: Torres’ Trajectory

This Operations Supervisor followed a varied career path to management at J.B. Hunt

hile trucking may be your passion, it doesn’t have to be your life. In fact, life has a funny way of twisting and turning through the decades, and drivers with J.B. Hunt are fortunate that the company offers plenty of options to fit various life situations. Maybe you started out as an over-the-road driver and loved being out for extended periods of time. But then, you met the girl of your dreams, settled down and started a family. Now you can transition into a regional or local driving job and be home for baseball games and dance recitals. As the kids grow up, you think you may want to own your own truck, so you explore the possibilities of J.B. Hunt’s Lease Purchase program. Now, you drive along in your own rig, and you notice the younger guys look to you for driving advice. That’s when you begin to consider management or transitioning into a safety director position.  Later, when the nest empties, you may decide to go back out on the road again.

Once you factor in J.B. Hunt’s affordable benefit options and its well-appointed, late-model equipment — not to mention a wide variety of local, regional and over-the-road driving jobs — you can see why many drivers choose the company. Drivers like that J.B. Hunt provides flexibility and the opportunity to take different positions based on their own personal life stages.

Stan Hampton, a 20-year J.B. Hunt veteran, says he’s seen drivers move between positions as their interests and circumstances change. In fact, Hampton has had multiple positions with the company himself — he began as a part-time worker and then moved on to dispatcher, logistics manager, field fleet manager, dedicated division account manager, then regional operations manager before settling in his current position of Vice President of Corporate Driver Personnel.

“There’s really no limit to the possibilities within the company,” Hampton says. “You can transition to the job that fits with your season of life, and J.B. Hunt supports your choices by offering opportunities and training to help you succeed.”

Here is one J.B. Hunt employee who has moved through various paths over his professional career:

 

Marco1

Name: Marco Torres

Location: Odessa, Texas

Position: Operations Supervisor

Time in Trucking: 19 years

Time with J.B. Hunt: 19 years

Hampton’s friend and colleague Marco Torres couldn’t agree more. Torres describes himself as the kind of person who always needs a challenge, and he says that’s what makes J.B. Hunt the perfect company for him.

“I like to think of myself as unique,” Torres says. “I’m adventurous, always chasing the next challenge. And J.B. Hunt is very versatile as a company, so that’s why I’ve stayed with them so long. I don’t think I’ll be getting bored here.”

Torres started his trucking career in 1994 as a driver for J.B. Hunt. He drove intermodal, regional and over-the-road before moving to train other drivers. Then he decided he wanted to give management a try.

“My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier,” says Torres.

Torres says he made a point to get to know people, and he asked for advice. Most importantly, though, he followed that advice. And after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in operations management, he let people know he was interested in applying for a management position. It wasn’t long before he was coming off the road to become a management trainee.

“Initially, it was a bit of a step down because drivers are paid so well,” says Torres. “But eventually you get past that, and there are a plethora of challenges.”

Today, Torres is an operations supervisor for J.B. Hunt, and he says he couldn’t be happier. “One of my biggest goals is that I want to enjoy what I’m doing — and I do,” says Torres. “I want my job to matter at my company, and at J.B. Hunt, I know it does.”

“J.B. Hunt doesn’t treat their employees like a number,” adds Torres. “They have never treated me like that. Anything they say or promise, they follow through with.”

Torres says it doesn’t matter whether someone is a new hire or a company veteran — there is always opportunity for everyone to find his or her niche.

“They want to find a place for you,” says Torres. “And they are a big enough company that there is a place for everyone.”

Drivers who are interested in management already have a head start on advancing, he adds. “J.B. Hunt can use the knowledge and experience that drivers have and put it to use in management,” says Torres. “Drivers can actually do it easier than a regular management grad because they already know the field.”

However, drivers aren’t the only ones that can succeed at J.B. Hunt. “There is ample room for everybody, and not just in trucking and operations,” adds Torres. “J.B. Hunt is a big company, so there are jobs in IT, marketing, recruiting … and that’s just to name a few.”

“I would tell a new hire at J.B. Hunt that they just made the best decision they ever made,” says Torres. “Stick with it. Learn as much as they can. Seriously consider it to be a lifelong career, because J.B. Hunt will take care of you.”

Torres says he intends to stay with J.B. Hunt as long as he can. After all, in a company that emphasizes furthering your education so you can develop your career, the only limiting force at J.B. Hunt is you.

“Coming to J.B. Hunt was the best decision I ever made,” Torres says.

For your opportunity with J.B. Hunt, call 1-800-297-4321 or visit www.jbhunt.jobs. You can also connect with J.B. Hunt at Facebook.com/jbhuntdrivers.

Intro to Trucking: What it’s really like trucking, part 26

Love On the Road

By Timothy D. Brady

It’s February – Valentine’s Day. What must truckers do to keep the ‘love fires’ burning?

Three challenges when it comes to keeping home and family relationships vibrant while on the road for extended periods?

Naomi: A. Not being there to help in a crisis situation.
B. Time differences
C. Touch – I’m extremely touchy-feely. I miss hugs and kisses. Or even seeing expressions.

Ben: We don’t get to spend the time we used to around the dinner table or a campfire. We don’t get to watch our favorite shows together like we did before I started trucking. And, well, what used to happen behind closed doors now doesn’t happen that often.
What are you doing to minimize these challenges?

Naomi: Lots and lots of phone calls; pictures hanging in my truck and an album. Having learned to cherish every single moment I’m with them. Family is everything to me. My dispatcher knows if I’m anywhere close I am going to see them for at least my 10-hour break.

Ben: I spend a lot of time on the phone, when I have the chance. And when I’m home, I make sure I spend the time wisely and not take it for granted. You are not promised tomorrow.

Which relationship becomes the most challenging the longer you’re on the road? (children, parent, significant other/spouse)

Naomi: My children and grandchildren. My children understand my life. But my grandchildren are small yet and aren’t getting to know me. I’m not able to be there like I want to be.
That’s the thing I cry about most. I love my girls. I especially love my grandchildren. I hate watching them grow up in pictures and short videos.
I’m recently married and with my husband all the time now.

Ben: All of the above. It’s all hard. When you have people you love and are close to, it’s hard to say goodbye, even for a week at a time.

What special thing(s) do you do from the road to express your love to the important people in your life?

Naomi: Post cards at every stop!!! Yes, I snail-mail my children and grandchildren. I also bought each of them an album to put the post cards in. I put the date at the bottom of each one so we can all look back at where I was. I also look for unique things at out-of-the-way shops.

I sneak cards and notes to my husband: his shower bag, shoes, under the pillow, clipped to the visor…. Written on my arm/foot/leg/hip/ belly so he has to search me. Hehehehehe (I use an eyeliner pencil.)

Ben: I pick up souvenirs all the time and I take pictures of different places.
New challenges?

Naomi: I was recently married and we team-drive. It’s an amazing experience, having your friend/lover/cohort-in-crime with you.

Ben: Recently I got to travel through the northeast. I made sure I traveled at night to avoid traffic. Weather was OK. Just different from what I’m used to driving.

Interesting experiences?
Ben: I was pulling into a truckstop for fuel and a state trooper flew around a parked truck and almost plowed into my truck. He had his nose in a phone. I rolled the window down and called him a few choice names and didn’t care if he heard me. It was a long day and a lot of stupid had been happening around me.


Advice for someone just finishing trucking school about keeping the ‘love fires’ burning when on the road?

Naomi:  LOL phone sex. Just kidding. Not really. My new hubby and I would criss-cross the nation, only spending a night here or there together.
CONTACT CONTACT CONTACT – DO NOT FIGHT AND ARGUE ON THE PHONE!!!
The one at home needs to understand and appreciate what the one on the road is doing; the sacrifices being made.

Make sure you can be on the phone or computer to spend time with family.

NO OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE!!!

When you are with your sweetheart, make him/her the center of your world. To hell with dirty clothes. You should spend every moment reminding him or her just how much you love and how much you miss him/her. Cook him dinner. Draw her a hot bath. CHERISH EVERY MOMENT YOU DO GET TOGETHER.

Ben: Make the time at home you have as special as you can. Avoid arguments if at all possible. Choose your fights wisely; not every argument is needed or necessary.

Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.

Timothy Brady © 2013

To contact Brady go to www.truckersu.com

A Tribute Worthy Of Thanks

A Tribute Worthy Of Thanks

296-web

By Brad Bentley

This is the time of year when Americans reflect on the things for which they are most thankful. Earlier this week, I was reminded of how thankful our country should be to have people with purpose like Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Worcester Wreath Company, who began the non-profit group Wreaths Across America in 2007 with the goal of honoring military veterans by placing wreaths at the grave sites of fallen soldiers.

Wreaths Across America’s mission of Remember, Honor, Teach is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday in December. For years, this occurred only at Arlington National Cemetery, but has recently expanded to veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

Part of Wreaths Across America rapid growth is the result of the generosity of the trucking industry, and this year they’re counting on truckers for a little more help. That assistance will come in the form of the trucking industry’s first annual rolling tribute, which kicked off this Tuesday (November 26), when the Worcesters teamed up with Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Pilot Flying J to hand out 100s of free wreaths to any professional truck driver who wanted one at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, Conn.

Karen and Morrill Worcester are on a mission to place a wreath on every fallen soldier’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.

Karen and Morrill Worcester are on a mission to place a wreath on every fallen soldier’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.

Pottle’s Transportation’s Bob Sousa, an Army veteran, delivered several pallets of wreaths to Connecticut for the event, where local volunteers joined in the efforts to reach as many drivers as possible. I was in Washington, D.C. on Monday for the unloading of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, so I decided to make the trek up I-95 as well.

In between trips back and forth to the fuel island to talk to drivers, Morrill Worcester told the various media outlets present that we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today if it wasn’t for what the veterans have done. “They’ve stepped up time and time again, all down through history,” Morrill stated.

I asked Karen Worcester why they chose to drive to a location nine hours away from their headquarters in Maine instead of choosing a truck stop that was closer. “We knew this was a busy truck stop and are trying to get as many wreaths as possible to veterans’ graves,” Karen said. “We wouldn’t be doing trucking or anything else we do without the sacrifices of those men and women, so embracing those families at the holidays is important for us to do.”

Nationwide, donations to Wreaths Across America are up by 20%, but the Worcesters said support for Arlington has dipped as more people get involved with wreath-laying ceremonies in their local communities. The rolling tribute was a way to create more awareness for Arlington National Cemetery, where the Worcesters will travel for this year’s Wreaths Across America Day on December 14.

Mission accomplished.

There was a steady flow of traffic all day at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, where drivers received zip ties to attach a wreath to the grill of their truck onsite as an immediate show of support. Many drivers were shocked that the wreaths were free, but all were appreciative of the efforts to honor our veterans.

Morrill Worcester attaches a wreath to the grill of a truck as the driver was fueling.

Morrill Worcester attaches a wreath to the grill of a truck as the driver was fueling.

“We gave the wreaths away with one stipulation – that on National Wreaths Across America Day they take that wreath off their truck and find a veteran’s grave to place it upon. This idea started after seeing many of our volunteer professional drivers participating in the annual escort to Arlington remove the wreaths affixed to the grill of their rigs, and place it on a headstone once we made it to the cemetery,” Morrill said. “This very personal expression of gratitude was shared in pictures and online and became a symbol of how dedicated the trucking industry is to supporting our nation’s military.”

Drivers participating in the rolling tribute were also asked to photograph and share their experience online using #rollingtribute. Each driver’s wreath is one half of a Patriot Pair, with an additional remembrance wreath donated by the Worcesters set will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery. Worcester Wreath Company is donating the first 2,000 wreaths in the hopes that all professional drivers will want to become part of the rolling tribute.

Another new option of support for all professional drivers this year is called Trucking’s Patriot Pair, which can be ordered online at http://www.truckloadofrespect.com and shipped directly to the driver’s specified address. With a donation amount of $30, drivers will receive one wreath and fasteners for display on the grill of their tractor, and a second wreath will be placed on a veteran’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery. In addition, all drivers who donate will receive a Wreaths Across America window decal.

I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the one day that is purely American, and I left Connecticut with a renewed sense of patriotism, as did hundreds of truckers that are now using their big rigs to deliver a strong message this holiday season.

Because of the efforts of Morrill and Karen Worcester, these specially-adorned trucks are rolling down America’s highways with wreaths to pay tribute to service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For that, we should all be thankful.

FEATURED FLEETS