A Day in the Life of a Trucker

Posted September 18, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Many of you have asked me to give you an idea about what goes on while on the road as a trucker in America. So, in honor of National Truck Driving Week, the following story is an account of my last trip from Plainwell, Michigan to Louisville, Kentucky and Salisbury, North Carolina. While this type of trip doesn’t happen every day, it certainly is an accurate portrayal of the normal life of a truck driver, where nothing ever goes as planned.

My communication system chimed signaling an incoming message with a preplan for a new trip. I rejoiced when I saw it terminated in North Carolina, the heart of Dixie. My exuberance was short lived when I realized I would have to run overnight not one, but two nights in a row. To make matters worse, they still had not unloaded my truck at my last delivery point where I’d arrived eleven hours earlier.

Finally empty at 10:45pm, I zoomed down the dark interstate and pulled into the nearest truck stop. Since I would be dropping my empty trailer and picking up a preloaded trailer of meat, I had to fill the fuel tank on my refrigerated trailer. Because I’d been awake since 4am, I also grabbed a cup of java and off I sped into the darkness again.

I wound my way up narrow country roads. The only light came from my headlights and fog lights. Finally the meat packing plant came into view and I wheeled in, pulled to a stop at the guard house and put on my most cheerful face. The young security officer, AKA “When I grow up I want to be a cop”, demanded to see my receipt from getting my trailer washed out. Of course, my trailer was very clean but not washed out. He refused to allow me entrance until/unless I got the trailer washed out.

At one in the morning.

In the middle of nowhere in Michigan.

He handed me a flyer with the name and number of a washout facility. I called once but got no answer. The second call produced a very angry man on the other end who cursed at me profusely, then reluctantly gave me directions to his… uhh… farm. Why was I suddenly hearing dueling bangos in my head?!

I navigated through pitch black darkness and finally found “the farm”. I turned into the narrow dirt driveway, narrowly missing the deep ditches on both sides, and shut my truck off. Then I sat in complete blackness. And I sat. And sat.

After 45 minutes, I called back, only to be met again by cursing. In the most pleasant voice I could muster, I identified myself again and said I’d neglected to ask him one question when I spoke to him before: When could I expect him to arrive?

He did not even remember the conversation. He finally came out and washed out my trailer at a pace that would make a snail think he was Flash Gordon. I raced back down the narrow country roads back to the meat packing plant. This time the security officer did not ask for a receipt. Nor did he even look in the back of the trailer. He just gave me paperwork and told me where to drop my empty and where to pick up my preloaded trailer. Utterly unfair, wouldn’t you say?!

I wound through the slush and mess of the meat packing plant lot, trying not to think of the irony of needing a washed out trailer. “They’re really picky about cleanliness”, the guard had said. I chuckled as I inhaled the grotesque smell of rotting animal parts that had been exposed to the air too long.

I found my trailer in the most remote corner of their facility and when I hooked to it and began a pre-trip inspection, I discovered it had a flat tire.

At 2:30am.

In the middle of nowhere.

I hooked up the air hoses hoping our closed air system would re-inflate the tire. It did! I was beyond excited. Not to mention a tad bit cocky that Mizz Super Trucker had thought of that before calling for road service.

My cockiness was immediately deflated when I could not slide my trailer wheels. They are called tandems and we slide them forward and back to distribute the weight. That way we can legally drive on the highways of America. But mine wouldn’t slide. ON A BRAND NEW TRAILER!!

But you see, God don’t like ugly and apparently cocky doesn’t suit me so I was humbled right where I sat. Again I exited my truck with flashlight in hand and discovered the tandem slide was bent. A million hammer strikes later, I was able to slide them and off I went into the darkness once again.

It was now 3am and I had six hours to drive 386 miles, impossible in a truck that is governed at 65mph. It’s also impossible when you come to a complete stop not once, not twice but three times on three different interstate highways because of road construction. Obviously they didn’t know I was on a deadline.

Of course my delivery had to be during rush hour traffic.

In DOWTOWN Louisville, Kentucky.

I maneuvered my 73 foot vehicle down narrow streets with cars on both sides, and finally came to my first of two delivery stops. I shook my head in disbelief when I realized I’d have to back into a narrow dock between parked cars with no room to spare.

All for five pallets of beef.

Later rather than sooner, I was on my way back down narrow streets, sometimes with less than an inch between me and the parked cars. I had two hours left that I could legally drive and I wanted to get as far down the road as possible.

Finally pulling into a truck stop at 1pm, I figured I’d be able to sleep ten hours. After all, I’d been awake since 4am… yesterday. Imagine my alarm when I was wide awake two hours later, unable to sleep. I was able to nap another hour later in the evening before pulling out at midnight.

It was to be an easy ride through West Virginia, Virginia and then on into North Carolina. And it was… except for the mountains… and the very dense fog, making traveling the curvy and steep mountain roads treacherous. I inched onward, praying as I drove.

At long last I entered the gate of my last delivery point. Workers removed the remaining pallets of beef from my truck and I completed my load assignment. In the end, the hamburger got delivered and folks will go into grocery stores in Kentucky and North Carolina, grab up a pound of ground round without a thought of what I had to go through to make their cookout a success.

As I drove through the darkness, my mind wandered back to the decades I spent in Corporate America. Nice paycheck. Great perks. No working all night. I asked myself if driving a truck while others slept was worth it. I rolled down my window, stared up at a perfectly clear night with a bazillion stars shining brightly and simply said, “yes.”

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

Two Mules for Sister Sarah

Posted September 14, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Last week while on a layover in Montana, I did a nice, long desert run through ranch country. It was hot. Really hot. 98 degrees and dry as dry can get. Since I wasn’t familiar with my surroundings, I did an out and back on the same two country roads. That way I wouldn’t get lost in the middle of nowhere.

As I approached a ranch, I heard a very strange noise in the brush. I turned just in time to see a wild turkey “cackling”. Goats bahhh’d and horses whinnied. Apparently, they aren’t used to strange looking old women in spandex running down their road.

I ran by a fence line that ran close to the road. There was a tree close by and I was parched so I trotted over to get some shade. Suddenly, two mules walked right up and stopped on the other side of the fence. Not wanting to spook them, I began to walk away. Both mules walked along the fence, following my every move.

Realizing they were curious rather than spooked, I stopped again and struck up a conversation. Within a few moments, a woman began answering for the mules. She’d approached completely undetected by this very observant runner.

I apologized profusely. “I hope I’m not disturbing your animals.”

“Oh heavens no! They love people and you are their only entertainment this afternoon.”

Since there were twenty or more beautiful horses around, it struck me as odd that she would also have mules. She grinned when I asked her and said, “They’re for Sister Sarah.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. I half expected for Clint Eastwood to come riding up.

“Seriously, they belonged to a nun who used to go up into the back country taking food, Bibles and supplies to needy children. Back then there were no roads and the only way she could get there was by mule. She’d pack them with every ounce of weight they could carry. Sometimes she’d even walk so her horse could carry more supplies.”

“Used to. That tells me she doesn’t do that anymore. So where is she now? Does she still use them?”

“No. It’s sad, really. The need is still there. But now there are roads, and vehicles that are much faster. She couldn’t stand the thought of her mules not being taken care of so she brought them here. I take in animals that need a place to stay. So I keep two mules for Sister Sarah.”

“How long have you been caring for them?”

“Fifteen years, give or take.”

“Wow, that’s a long time.”

“Not so much for a pack mule. But they’re used to packing for long distances but there’s not much use for them around here these days.”

Lady Dr. Doolittle went on to tell me that Sister Sarah helped hundreds of children over the years by carrying food, medicine, Bibles and clothing to the kids. I regret that I could not have met her but it was obvious by her mules that Sister Sarah was one amazing servant.

God bless Sister Sarah, her mules and the one who has been caring for them when they were traded in for horsepower of the internal combustion engine. May your work be multiplied in the hearts and lives of those you touched in ways we may never know or understand.

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

Those Who Fought

Posted September 11, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I opened the door with sweaty palms and flipped the TV on as I dropped to the floor to stretch from my morning run. Matt and Katie were droning on the Today Show about some explosion. I wasn’t really listening.

Second by second, the views on the screen shook my awareness and I sat up straight realizing this was not a replay of some historical event. As I lay on plush carpet in sunny Florida, my neighbors in New York were under attack.

For hours, days and weeks following that day, we Americans tried to make sense of it all. We offered empty words of encouragement to those who lost loved ones. Bravely vowed we would go on, even rebuild.

Men and women stood in line to volunteer for our armed forces. As a nation, we went and we conquered our enemies. We took back that which we are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America: freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, fourteen years later, some of us don’t feel the pain as raw as it was that day. We have found a way to go on living in America. We have found ways to honor those who fought and remember those who died by living our lives to the fullest.

I can only imagine that day when dust from a towering monstrosity of American capitalism darkened the streets of Manhattan, choking the life out of those who had built it into the success it was. If I listen, I can almost hear the crushing of metal as the buildings destroyed fire trucks and police cars as if they were toys under foot.

I cannot comprehend the hollowness of empty fire houses where brave men and women once served, or wives, husbands and children who waited in desperation to hear from their loved one they knew was in the line of fire. As the days and weeks passed, so did the hope that some miracle had saved them from that tragic fate.

No, I was not there and I can only look at video feeds and pictures and unsuccessfully conjure up in my limited imagination what it must have felt like. Many died that day, and in the years that followed.

Though I fail miserably at trying to understand the enormity of painful loss on that day, this I know with absolutely unwavering certainty. AMERICA DID NOT LOSE! That one event that rocked our world and sent Americans into a tailspin, also ignited the flame of freedom within the hearts of us all.

From the northern most part of main to the border of southern California, Americans stood up for our nation. We united together for one cause. We joined hands across racial, ethical and political barriers to stand for what we believe in: FREEDOM!

Years have passed and headlines have moved more toward politics and fashion but today we live in a thriving nation because of 9/11. America picked ourselves up by the bootstraps and did what we do: keep living.

Today we remember those who fought in New York City, at the Pentagon and Pennsylvania that day. We remember those who dropped everything and took up arms to fight since then. We pause with gratitude as we memorialize those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Freedom is not free. But free Americans we are on this sunny September day. Americans we will remain because of who we are, and in spite of who our enemies are.


Be the first to comment

America’s Heartland

Posted September 7, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I exited the truck stop and ran onto a country road as the sun slowly made its way to the west. Birds sang peacefully without a care. Within a mile the road ended and I turned onto another road in the endless maze of farm roads.

A quarter mile ahead, a cat ran across the road from a farmhouse and into the gully that lined the road. What a playground it had! By the time I reached the spot where the feline creature had crossed, a great blue heron spread her wings and took to the sky. I wasn’t sure if I frightened her, or if she just wanted me to see her massive wing span.

A distant train whistle rode in on a gentle breeze as I jogged past another farm house. The modest two story home with dormers in the attic paled in comparison to the massive red barn that sat behind. A football shaped sign staked into the ground next to the front porch steps pledged allegiance to #8 from the local high school.

Rows of soybeans swayed in the gentle breeze on one side of the road while corn stalks taller than me towered on the other. The massive ears of corn confirmed it was almost harvest time. Every few minutes another farmhouse came into view. Each of them sat quiet on the Sunday before Labor Day.

My GPS had said I was in Toledo, Ohio but the country roads where I pounded the pavement did not even remotely resemble a thriving metropolis. It was country. Farm country. America’s heartland.

I looked at my stopwatch and realized I’d long since passed the thirty minute mark that should have signaled me to turn around and head back on my hour long out-and-back run. I stopped for several moments taking in the quiet, peaceful slice of Heaven. Finally, and reluctantly I crossed to the other side of the road and began my run back, knowing my amazing run would all too soon draw to an end.

I know I am blessed to have had that hour of silence and peace. There was no machine gun fire. No explosions or planes crashing into the fields. Our enemies certainly did not target those corn fields. There was no hustle or bustle. No angry drivers or deadlines. Only me and America quietly existing in the same place.

My heart was filled with pride and I thanked God I am an American. I thanked Him that I was running because I wanted to, not because someone was chasing me. I thanked Him that I have a job to take time out from to jog, and for being healthy enough to do it.

As I turned the last corner and the truck stop came into view in the distance, I was satisfied that America’s heartland remains intact and continues to thrive. While the news tells us how bad things are, I continued to run passed peace and serenity, knowing so much of America is still the homeland I know and love.

I clicked off my stopwatch and took one last look at the countryside before heading for my truck, proud and grateful to be an American.

Today, as you celebrate Labor Day in whatever way you do, take a moment to be grateful for all you have. Your job. Your home. Your health. Realize the magnitude of the gift you’ve been given to live in a nation in which you walk in freedom. Thank God for what you have, the priceless treasure of being an American.

Happy Labor Day!

Be the first to comment

Tennessee Homecoming

Posted September 2, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I sat in the back seat having an easy conversation with my great friend, Mary as her husband navigated the narrow curved roads in the backwoods of Western Tennessee. Her son road shotgun. I stopped midsentence when I gazed out the window to find my new home come into view.

Decades of searching for where I belong suddenly paled into insignificance. I was home. As I walked around the home, I didn’t care about the architecture, though it was excellent and well planned. Instead, my attention went to the people who surrounded me.

After decades of coming home to a quiet and empty place, the house I would soon be hanging my hat was filled with people. Real, genuine, good, fun-loving people who were not only gracious, they welcomed me with open arms. Friends. New neighbors. They treated me like one of their own.

After taking care of business, we traveled a short distance to reunite with war hero Willie Shelton. He was as humble and gracious as he’d been when I met him two years ago. We talked like old friends in the house that Mary grew up in. When I met her twin sister, she acted as though we’d known each other for years.  

The next day, I needed to run some errands. Mary’s son willingly offered his jeep so I would not have to take my truck. I’d developed a slight infection in my hand and made a quick trip to urgent care for antibiotics. They treated me like I’d been a patient of theirs for eons. When I went to get the prescription filled, the cashier at Walmart asked to step down to the other end of the counter so the pharmacist could put my medication in a bag for me. Though puzzled,  I did as I was told and the pharmacist approached me eagerly and told me much more than I needed to know about the simple antibiotic.

I mentioned my encounter to Mary and she looked at me as if I’d just grown a second nose. She told me that was pretty much common place around Tennessee. I’d never experienced that in the decades I spent in the Sunshine State. She recommended I get used to it.

Over the past two years, I’ve traveled in all 48 continuous states and Canada. Most were beautiful. All were unique but they just were not home. Truth be told, I’ve been on a journey my entire life trying to find home. I visited places, would like what I saw and would pray, “God, is this home?” Nothing ever fit. Because of how I grew up, I vowed that when I turned eighteen, I would call wherever I lived home. Unfortunately, I was in Florida. Florida is a wonderful place but it’s just not for me. I spent decades being true to my childhood vow. I resided in that state for a long time… an eternity to spend in a place that never felt like I belong.

Today I have a place to call home. Really, truly home. It’s not in the Great Lone Star State of Texas where I used to ride horses and play with cows. Nor is it in the Sunshine State, where I grudgingly walked through hot sand for over forty years. It’s in the Tennessee hills, a land rich in history. My home is where men fought and died for what they believed in, and forged the backbone of this great nation we call America. Strangely, my heart has been here for quite some time. I just did not know it.

For the first time in my life, when I started Dusty and pulled out onto the open road again, I did so with a twinge in my heart. I could have stayed longer. One more walk through the countryside. Another dinner and sharing life with amazing people.

I’ll look forward to coming home again. Until then, I’ll learn to wear orange without thinking it’s a Florida Gator, make plans and dream about my next Tennessee Homecoming.

Be the first to comment

Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof

Posted August 27, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

As I not so patiently waited in line to be seated by a hostess at a local restaurant, I heard an unusual voice behind me say, “Hello gorgeous.” Assuming a very pretty lady had just entered into the place, I turned to take a gander. Instead, I saw a tiny little man staring up at… well… me!

I couldn’t help myself. I struck up a conversation with Willard, the “little man” or “midget” as he prefers to be called. “It just seems to fit,” he told me.

When I asked what he did for a living, he immediately said he was a forward in the NBA. Without missing a beat I asked, “So how’d your stats wind up at season’s end?”

He gazed at me with the eye of intrigue for a few seconds then said, “You see it, too! I can just tell.” He went on to say that he has lived in a BIGGG world as a small person all his life. Others see him as a little—and sometimes insignificant—part of society. But he says, “In my spirit, I’m ten feet tall! And bulletproof!”

I opted to sit at the counter so Willard opted to go right along with me. He managed to climb the high stool and made a joke about his feet dangling off the side of a cliff. Not the least bit self conscious about his size, he chose a long time ago to capitalize on it. “I believe you take what you have and just make the best of it.”

The more time I spent with him, the more I wanted to know so, ummm, I asked. He laughed when he told me he ran away from home to join the circus as a sideshow. Then he told me the truth. Willard works as a grocery store clerk at the local supermarket. He has a special ladder to reach the high places he has to stock, which he says is “anything higher than the floor.”

I laughed right along with him because I could tell he was genuine in his poking fun at himself. But I asked if he ever felt uncomfortable. He looked as if he was peering into a distant past and said,


When I was a kid, my parents didn’t understand why I was “abnormal”. They did not want to have anything to do with me. I don’t hold it against them because they just didn’t know. But even at my size in a great big world, I figured out that life was the greatest gift I could have. So, I decided right then and there I was going to LIVE!!!!

Far from being politically correct about his height—or lack thereof—Willard calls it like he sees it, and as far as he is concerned, he’s a midget. He’s accepted being short but if you were in his presence for five minutes, you’d know he is truly ten feet tall… AND bulletproof!

Thank you Willard, for a wonderful and entertaining dinner. You are my hero!


Be the first to comment

How the Strong Survive

Posted August 26, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I sat in the restaurant at a truck stop in Wyoming and as usual, I was gazing around the room seeing who I could pounce on and find out their life story. In the back corner, a middle aged man sat all to himself. He seemed genuinely happy, yet there was a look in his eye that told a sad story.

So, I struck up a conversation with Milton.

He and his wife had only been married two years when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Louisiana coast. Milton lost his home and every belonging they had. Their dog drowned saving their new born baby. They were taken by bus to Texas.

This husband and father had two choices. He could steal or he could drive a truck. He decided to take to the open road. He went from being a white collar office executive for a Fortune 500 company to driving a tractor trailer.

When I asked him how he felt about that, I was amazed by his response.

“My wife and my baby are alive and well. I am blessed. Driving a truck is honest work. Hurricanes won’t stop them. It doesn’t really matter what a man does as far as his vocation. I did what I had to do to feed my loved ones. There’s no shame in that.”

I asked how he dealt with being away from his family for weeks at a time.

“I miss them… but not as much as I would have if Katrina had snatched them away from me. At least I can go home to them. We got another dog to replace Buddy who died. We also had two more kids since then but there’s no way we could have replaced Shamika if Buddy hadn’t saved her.”

I was so curious how the baby wound up being saved by the dog so unashamedly I asked him that, too.

“The wall of the house caved in from all the water. My wife had been sitting there just holding the baby but was knocked down by the rush of water. She hit her head and was unconscious. It was almost dark and I didn’t see where the baby had gone. I was trying to save my wife. The baby was swept up and away from us. Buddy jumped in, swam to the baby and held her head above water until we could get to her. He swam and then drug the baby to a high place. Then he got swept away and drawn under by the strong current. By the time we got to the baby, Buddy had taken in too much water and died.”

I wanted to feel sorry for this man but somehow, I could not. He had a resiliency like few I’ve ever seen. He was happy, grateful, proud and prosperous, despite being caught right in the crosshairs of the biggest storm of the century. Milton and his family has built a new, albeit very different life than he ever imagined. They endured danger, destruction and death, but insist on continuing to live life, and living it to its fullest.

As we said our farewells and headed off in separate directions, I felt honored to have met this man, if not a bit guilty for complaining about anything that happens in my life. If I listened closely, I’d hear the heartbeat of America within him that, despite the hurricane force winds of adversity, is alive and well. 

Be the first to comment

Reunion With a Hero

Posted August 24, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

I wound through the hills and narrow curves until the familiar blue farm house came into view. Though it had been two years since I’d been here, it was almost as though I’d never left. Within moments, Willie Shelton opened the door with his distinctive smile welcoming me inside.

Well into his nineties, Mr. Shelton is a decorated World War II veteran. He was wounded in battle three times. Yet, today he is a mild mannered man who just farms his land and refuses to wear his medals of a distant war on his chest as he just goes on living life.

I met Willie while on the Road to Freedom Bicycle Tour 2013. He’d opened his home to me—a total stranger—and fed me with vegetables right out of his garden. He is humble but there is an unmistakable inner strength that guided him through Europe as an Army infantryman during the height of the big war.

I sat glued to Mr. Shelton on Saturday as he told how he and one other soldier captured fifteen German soldiers and while escorting them to a prison camp, they captured more and more soldiers. By the time the two soldiers reached the prison camp, they had compelled over seventy Germans to lay down their guns and march to the American POW camp.

When he was shot, Mr. Shelton survived by playing dead when the Germans came through, even when they poked him with bayonets to make sure he was lifeless. Once he survived attack by diving into a pile of manure.

As with most World War II veterans I’ve met, Mr. Shelton was not boastful about his experience. He just went. And he fought. Then he came home and lived his life to his fullest in the hills of Tennessee. He received a purple heart and two clusters for his wounds. Though he never ascended above the rank of Private First Class, he did the work of many while on the battlefield in France, Germany, Africa, Italy and Austria.

As I tried desperately to understand what it was like for him to be on another continent fighting for freedom, I also wondered what type of country I’d live in today if it hadn’t been for Willie Shelton. He willingly fought for my freedom over a decade before I was born. I don’t live in tyranny. I am not abused or mistreated, all because a quiet man from Tennessee and thousands just like him went across the ocean, took up arms and defended the most precious gift America as given me—freedom!

It’s not free. Mr. Shelton paid a handsome wage to secure my freedom. He has the scars to prove it. I am honored to know such a man. Today he lives his life in peace in the gentle rolling hills of Tennessee. I know there is nothing I can do to repay him for what he’s done for me. Even if I could, he would never allow it. That’s who he is. He is a patriot. A soldier. A hero.

Thank you Willie Shelton for allowing me to spend time with you once again. Thank you for your sacrifice so I can live in the greatest nation on earth. Because of you, the Heartbeat of America remains alive and well! 

Be the first to comment

Forever Joplin

Posted August 22, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

The sun peaked over the rolling hills to the east as I pounded the pavement on my early morning run in Joplin, Missouri. A cool, gentle breeze kissed my cheeks as birds sang out to encourage me to continue my trek.

I rounded a corner into a neighborhood just as a little old lady was bending to pick up the morning paper.

“You’re out early. Can’t say’s I blame you. Beautiful morning, ain’t it?”

I took that my cue to stop and strike up a conversation. Poor lady. She never saw it coming. Something had intrigued me since the tornado ripped through this town on May 22, 2011 and I needed to ask the local about it. Once I confirmed that she was born and raised there, I dove in.

“When the tornado hit and in its aftermath, what were you thinking about?”

“My friends, my family and neighbors who lost so much.”

“So the tornado did not strike your house?”

“Oh yes, they had to rebuild the whole backside of our house. And our barn was completely gone.”

I was astonished. “And yet, you were thinking about everyone else?”

Gertrude (Gerty) looked at me as if I’d just stepped out of an alien spaceship. “Why of course I did. Why on earth would I not?”

I went on to explain to her about the Road to Freedom Tour and how media, television, the movies and politicians have led us to believe Americans are not like that any more. That we don’t take care of our own. That the America I grew up in is gone forever.

A tear trickled down Gerty’s cheek as she gazed off into the past through the window of her soul. She took a long breath then said, “No one told Joplin. We’re a small town of good folks who love each other and our country. Right after the storm the biggest problem we faced was that we couldn’t find our loved ones, not because we were injured or missing. But we couldn’t confirm everyone was alright because we wouldn’t stay at home.We all insisted on going out  to help each other. Their homes were damaged, even destroyed and yet their first concern was for others. It took over a week for us to make sure everyone in the family was safe.

“That’s who we’ve always been and we’ll remain forever Joplin.”

I thanked her for taking the time to answer my question and jogged off. With each strike of my foot on the pavement, I clearly heard the sound of the Heartbeat of America with gratitude that once again I received confirmation that it is alive and well.

Be the first to comment

Tribute to a Pioneer

Posted May 13, 2015 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

In Sacramento, a single mom rose early in the morning, got kids off to school and then went to school herself. Not just any school, Dee Sova was learning to drive a truck. It was a day and time twenty five years ago that women just didn’t do that. Yet, Dee recognized it was a great way to provide for her family and was willing to endure the criticism and ridicule to make a better life for her family.

Defying the odds, this lady became a Class A CDL truck driver and has continued blazing the trail for other women for more than a quarter century. At the pinnacle of her success, tragedy struck in the worst possible way for a mom… and for a commercial driver. Her daughter was struck and killed by a drunk driver right in front of her high school. 

Suffering an insurmountable loss, Dee continued to forge ahead, only now with another commit to help spread the word about drunk driving and hopefully prevent such a needless tragedy for others. Through grief immeasurable, she pushed ahead, joining forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). She took her pain and is turning it into gain. 

Dee mentors women who are truckers and those who want to be. In fact, she is responsible for me making the final decision to become a trucker babe. She is the real deal and poured into me, a total stranger, in such a way I felt safe entering the strange and foreign world called trucking.

She gives every ounce of energy she has for others. And she helps others endure the horrific pain of losing a child, something so unnatural that no parent should have to go through it. Dee has partnered with her company, Swift, to raise awareness and funds to be able to continue the great ministry of MADD. This giver is asking for our help. Swift is matching funds she raises dollar for dollar. This will make available the help for others at a time they need it the most–when they are suffering through the senseless loss of a child because someone was so irresponsible, they consumed alcohol and got behind the wheel of an automobile.

My prayer for each of you reading this is that you never suffer the way Dee and so many others have when they get that dreaded call telling you your child was killed by a drunk driver. Unfortunately in our country, it happens every day. There is an army of mothers like Dee who stand at the ready to help during that moment and the emotional maze that follows. 

If you are able to contribute to Dee’s MADD team in any way, it would go twice as far to keep this needed ministry going. I did donate and count it a privilege to partner with her in this way. I’ve never done this before on my blog but this is one cause I hope we all support and never need.

Thank you, Dee, for being my truck driving mom. Thank you for sowing into my life in such a powerful way. Thank you for allowing me to give back to you in such a tangible way.

If you would like to read Dee’s story and make a contribution of any size, click here.

Through it all, Dee and thousands of moms like her are truly the heartbeat of America.

Be the first to comment