By Sandi Soendker
OOIDA Life Member Darrell Hicks recently went to a hospital near his home in Tulare, CA, for lung capacity and breathing tests. They thought he might have cancer, but the good news is, he didn’t. During the test, the guy the trucking industry knows as Uncle Darrell chatted with an attendant. Darrell mentioned that he had retired from the trucking industry.
The attendant, Greg, mentioned that his brother-in-law drives for a Utah-based company.
Uncle Darrell mentioned C.R. England and, of course, that was it. The brother-in-law has a dedicated run to and from the Dakotas. Darrell’s response: “That’s interesting. A couple years ago one of their driver teams rescued a little girl from a crash into a pond along I-94 in South Dakota. The husband of that team was awarded the annual 2007 Goodyear Highway Hero for that incredible deed. It was awarded at the Mid-America Trucking Show. I was there.”
The attendant’s shocked response was: “That was my sister and her husband!”
That would be Janet and Richard Filiczkowski. Our Land Line staff was at the same award ceremony. How well we remember Janet and Richard’s story and the moving appearance of the little girl they saved, who came to see this and be part of the occasion. Richard – a guy that everyone calls “Ski” – is an OOIDA member, too. Uncle Darrell calls this a small world story. I am giving this one to the theory of six degrees.
Six degrees of separation is the popular and interesting theory that every person is just one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know. Therefore, it’s feasible that everyone is six steps away from any other person on the planet. It’s also called the human web theory, and the segment of people who are part of trucking is a fascinating example. Thanks, Uncle Darrell, Greg, Janet and Ski, for again proving this.
Best man. In a business trip to Shelbyville, IL, OOIDA member Darrell Best spotted an old fire truck on the side of Illinois Hwy. 128. It was just a shell of a truck; the pump and tank were already gone. The sign in the window: for sale.
He told his wife Lisa and his three kids about it. Soon after, the family went back to Shelbyville to look at it and ended up coming home with the 1942 American LaFrance.
Eight months earlier, Darrell had been ordained as a minister. Although he had a good job as CEO of a credit union at the time, the fire truck ignited an idea he could not get out of his mind. He saw himself performing “red hot” mobile weddings out of the back of the fire truck.
But there’s more. When they picked it up, the former fire truck owner told the Bests about an old church for sale in Shelbyville. Two days later, they bought the church, too.
So Brother Darrell left the banking business, moved to Shelbyville, started the wedding chapel and began marrying couples.
“I never dreamed I would quit my day job,” Brother Darrell told me. “Twenty years as a CEO of a credit union? I never dreamed.”
The Bests put bus seats in the back and made the fire truck a wedding celebration wagon at first.
The family was watching “Trick My Truck” one evening and got the idea of fixing up the fire truck. After writing a letter to the CMT show, a couple of months later they got the call. Do you want your truck tricked? The answer was “Yeah!” and the rest is TV history. In April 2009, the segment aired, and the world got its first glimpse of the mobile wedding chapel, dubbed “The Best Man” by the Chrome Shop Mafia guys.
Lisa said the family was in shock when they saw it.
“We were amazed,” she said. “None of those trucks are done justice on TV; the paint is unbelievable. It’s glorious.”
The customized fire truck isn’t a road truck, says Darrell, as it will only go 45 mph, but it’s a familiar sight in the Shelbyville area. And at this year’s Illinois State Fair, it was a hit.
The Best Chapel offers traditional weddings as well as nontraditional wedding packages and wedding vow renewals. Brother Darrell does theme weddings such as fantasy, exotic, biker and hippie, just to name a few. To learn more, you can go to bestweddingchapel.com.
One more note. I heard from a friend the other day. She mentioned seeing the coolest thing at the Illinois State Fair. A mobile wedding chapel. I told her, “Hey, I know that guy! It’s Brother Darrell.” She was amazed.
Six degrees … LL