I trucked a long time. Didn't always do it the right way. I got out of the Army in '86 and climbed right into a truck. At first, all i had was a Commercial Chauffeur's License, some experience backing up on the freight docks in Jersey and a sincere desire in my heart to move forward. The first company that would hire me without going to an expensive school was Continental Carrier Corp. I worked out of their OKC terminal, which was a dirty motel room at the Sunshine Inn which is now the Best Western near the Petro. They were under Chapter 13 and i had to go to the L.A. County Court House to get paid. There was never enough in the fuel account to top off, so i was only permitted about 50-60 gals. of fuel per day and no cash advances. I earned eating money by polishing tanks and wheels on others' truck during my daily down time, because at 50-60 gals. per day, i never got very far. I can remember the last day i drove for them, i was in Santa Nella, CA at the old 76 Truck Stop on my way to the City of Industry terminal. I called in bright and early for fuel and was told, "Top that M****R F****R off, son, and come on in." Man, was i a happy camper. I could get enough fuel for a shower and a steak dinner in the restaurant.Well, i topped off and when the nice lady at the fuel desk ran the card, "FAILED TRANSACTION". When i called in, the other dispatcher said, "Who the f**k told you to top off? You figure out a way to pay for that fuel!" Back to polishing i went. When i got to the yard, the L.A. county sheriff's department was there shutting everything down and i was thumbing a ride back to Oklahoma. During my long periods of walking alone, mile after mile, i decided that the next job i get, i will run till the damn wheels fall off.
My next job was with JMI, a refer outfit outta Batesville, AR. If you couldn't run a six thousand mile week over there, they'd find someone else who could. Didn't take me long to figure out how so many of 'Top Hands" did it and soon i was a "Top Hand" myself. That company got bought out by the Builders Transport / Jay Lines off spring, Pro Staff Leasing and we were run into bankruptcy. So, off i went to M.S. Carriers, me and my new found addiction, which i denied, because, after all, i had a job...i worked for a living...it made me a better driver...blah, blah, blah!!!
After a year there, i went with an outfit in Frederick, OK with 6 trucks. And after 10 years and many, many miles i crashed through 2 marriages into my 3rd and sunk very deep into the world of Meth Amphetamines. By 2002, i could no longer hold a job and by 2006, i was in prison, having lost everything....my relationship with my kids, my house, cars, motorcycles....everything.
When i started trucking, i only wanted to see the country and enjoy the open road. The furthest thing from my mind was doing drugs and becoming an addict. I became everything that i despised. In April 1998, i jackknifed and slid towards a moving train in Ohio. By all rights, i should be dead. I said a "foxhole" prayer and accepted JESUS as L-RD and Saviour that morning, but did little to change. Oh, i changed everything form the outside in, but true change comes from within. On February 12, 2006, it was prophesied over me that i would enter the prison ministry. The next day, my bond was revoked and i went and did some time. Got out in November '06 on Thanksgiving Day, and was blessed with a good job by an owner operator named Paul Delemo. But within a month, i had my wife, (Now ex-wife) on the truck and within a week after, had relapsed again. I lost that job and found another, but i just got tired of being sick and tired and i refused to turn back to JESUS, because, after all, i've left HIM hanging before. I left the truck and walked off into the desert in Phoenix and then Barstow and polished tanks and wheels when i could. I never felt so low in my life. I remember in May '07, an owner operator for Martin Transport told me i could ride with him to Oklahoma if i helped him drive. I drove from Barstow to Sayre, OK in 16 hours, thanked him and took off on foot after being cussed out by another driver for asking for a ride. Drivers will always tell you what they think off you. I didn't feel to good about it, but i left the Flying J and took off towards Altus and walked nearly the whole way. I was so tired!!!
In Altus, i was wanted for a Motion to Revoke Suspended sentence and on May 7, 2007, i slammed my last shot and in the wee hours of the morning i was arrested. I had fought those 3 officers, and deservedly so, i got tossed into the car and driven off to the jail. I owed the State of Oklahoma 4 1/2 years, and could have been looking at 15 more, minimum, for assault on those officers, but, really, they just wanted me to get some help. I signed for my time on June 4, 2007 and recommitted my life to JESUS CHRIST. When i pulled chain, i was determined to make my time in the Department of Corrections productive, so i was entirely honest with the case manager that assessed me and they deemed my Substance Abuse needs as "HIGH" and i was stipulated for an SAP, Substance Abuse Program. The one i went to was called the C.A.R.E. Program, Chemical Abuse Rehabilitation Enhancement. It was a very stringent 6 month, 8 hour per day, 5 day per week program that i cherish today, although, i did not when i first started. Also, while in prison, i graduated an actual Bible College, not just a Bible study course, and i earned my G.E.D.
When i discharged my sentence, i went to a sober living program in Tulsa, OK called Wings of Freedom and graduated that. I also graduated Celebrate Recovery, while locked down and lead many 12 step studies since being released. The first, from the cab of a truck as i went back out on the road for 7 months, but the folks i worked for constantly reminded me that they hired a felon by the way they wanted me to run and by the way they "Don't care how you get my freight there, just f***in' get it there!" I left that job and now work at a Drug / Alcohol treatment center, of all things. But, i am very involved with the prison and jail ministry and that is very fulfilling.
These days, i am married....again, but for the first time in my heart, because i finally have a clue as to what a Covenant relationship is all about. And i have over 5 years clean and sober. Lately, i have been contacting former employers and making amends for not being the man/ driver that i could have and should have been. I called a man at BJ Trucking in Phoenix to apologize for leaving his truck in Needles and walking off into the desert. I did not mention that this man, Jerry, had filed a missing persons report on me. i found out when i was arrested in Oklahoma. Well, i called Jerry, and he graciously and mercifully accepted my apologies and forgave me.
I said all that to say this; for all the drivers out there that do it right and safely, i am sorry for being the "black eye" in the trucking industry, by which all drivers are judged.; to all the folks i've worked for and done wrong, i have no excuse. I will not blame addiction or anything else, because the truth is, i was irresponsible and thoughtless...please forgive me; to all the folks i've worked for who knowingly profited off of my drug use and put more freight on me while you knew i was jacked up...i forgive you, but will do my best to see you shut down for earning your riches off the blood of others. And, finally, to those who may be caught in the tyranny of addiction and see no way out, my prayer is that you will seek help....right now,before you kill yourself and/ or someone else. This industry has come a long way, despite the bad press caused by drivers like myself. Get help now, please and get your life back on track. I know of SOMEONE WHO will help you. HE's always just a whisper of a prayer away.