By Land Line staff
Sometimes one of a million different unfortunate circumstances end a trucker’s career. For many of them, they can only dream of the day when they will be back on the road.
One trucker had that dream come true this year thanks to Arrow Truck Sales of North America. The company sponsored Arrow’s Back on the Road 2008 contest, an initiative designed to benefit a deserving independent owner-operator in need of a truck and a job.
People were encouraged to submit stories about deserving friends, family members, associates and even themselves for this opportunity of a lifetime.
OOIDA member Donald Turkelson of Battle Creek, MI, is back on the road thanks to Arrow and its partners in the contest. The presentation of the truck happened in conjunction with the Mid-America Trucking Show in late March.
Six years earlier, on March 19, 2002, Turkelson was in a company drop lot when he was shot. A gunman attempted to hijack his truck at 1:30 a.m. Turkelson refused to cooperate and was shot in the left leg as he tried to escape. After driving to the security gate, severely injured, Turkelson was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.
The injuries and recovery time took him off the road for years.
After completing extensive physical therapy, Turkelson, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army, served for more than five years as a pastor for the United Methodist Church and also as a truck-driving instructor at Lansing Community College.
He has dedicated his life to helping members of his community become productive and enlightened citizens. Despite having had rewarding experiences in his post-trucking jobs, he has not gotten the same satisfaction from them as he did when he was working in his chosen career.
“I’m honored to be chosen as the winner of ‘Back On The Road,’ ” said Turkelson.
“For many years I’ve been unable to drive full-time and I’m looking forward to once again doing what I love – working full time as a driver who is helping the American economy by delivering goods and services.”
As winner of Back on the Road 2008, courtesy of Arrow Truck Sales and its industry associates, Turkelson will receive:
A 2005 VNL 670 tractor donated by Volvo Trucks North America;
A one-year work agreement with Heartland Express;
A three-year/300,000-mile warranty courtesy of National Truck Protection;
Insurance provided by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association;
Business consulting and financial tools courtesy of ATBS;
Truck detailing provided by Dickinson Fleet Services;
Tires courtesy of Michelin; and
Truck accessories and fenders provided by Minimizer Products.
“Donald has an amazing story to tell and a great spirit,” said Carl Heikel, president and CEO of Arrow. “Arrow is proud to give him the opportunity to get back on the road with a quality truck from Volvo and a job from Heartland Express.” LL