By Kerry Evans-Spillman
Land Line staff
Have you’ve noticed something new at trucking events, an RV-looking thing with the St. Christopher Fund and Safety First Sleep Solutions logos on it? That’s the Medical Resources Vehicle, or MeRV.
Dr. John McElligott has long recognized that truckers have challenges when trying to access health and wellness information. Clinics rarely have parking or hours that are convenient for a driver. With some help from Dave Nemo and Michael Burns, aka Rusty Wheeler, Dr. John found a way to bring the clinic to the trucker.
The MeRV is owned by Boardman Medical Supply and is sponsored by Safety First Sleep Solutions, a subsidiary of Boardman. OOIDA Senior Member Jon Osburn of Boise, ID, is the man behind the MeRV’s curtain.
Jon is a former paramedic with decades of medical and trucking experience. He joined the Navy at age 17 and became a hospital corpsman. Later he spent more than 20 years behind the wheel of a Mayflower truck.
It was trucking that led Jon to Dr. John nine years ago. They discovered a shared passion for truckers’ health and both had a military background.
Many of you may have come across Jon yourself during the World’s Largest Convoy for Special Olympics. He drove that gorgeous green Volvo with the World’s Largest Convoy logo on the trailer. In order to take the MeRV on the road, Jon sold his truck. He found the perfect buyers in OOIDA Members Richard and Jennifer Bolduc of St. Peters, MO, who are also huge supporters of the convoy.
No regrets for Jon. The MeRV is keeping him busy 300 days a year and he finds the work rewarding. If the lights are on, he welcomes truckers to come talk to him about health and wellness. He especially enjoys answering drivers’ questions about what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to current and pending recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from the Medical Review Board.
Among the health screening services that are available on the MeRV is the A1C test for diabetes. It takes only a few minutes and the cost is $25, less than some co-pays for a visit to the doctor’s office. Truckers can sign up for a sleep apnea test on the MeRV for $399, and OOIDA members receive a $100 discount.
Twice a month on the MeRV, you can meet OOIDA Corporate Life Supporter Greg McDermand, vice president of Safety First Sleep Solutions. Greg is an experienced respiratory therapist whose goal has been to provide reasonably-priced, quality sleep-tests for truckers. He understands that many drivers are underinsured or have no insurance but need testing and possible treatment for sleep apnea.
Greg was at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, enjoying lunch with Jon and Dr. John. They told Greg that launching the MeRV was still a year away. He made a phone call to Robin Savon Ivany, owner of Boardman Medical Supply, asking if she was interested in backing the MeRV. Just a few weeks later, the MeRV was on the road.
Future services will include retinal scans to test for high blood pressure and diabetes and cholesterol screening. Jon is hoping the MeRV will soon offer a rectal and colon cancer screening kit that truckers can take with them and mail back for results.
To meet Jon, Greg and the MeRV, check out their schedule at brownbearsw.com/freecal/scfmerv or call 330-233-5169. LL