Back On The Road winner

By Suzanne Stempinski
field editor


OOIDA Member Robert Snyder of Dunellon, FL, knew his life had become unmanageable.

His 1996 Pete hadn’t seen regular maintenance in two years, and he was one breakdown away from shutdown. Like so many drivers and owner-operators today, he struggled to manage his business and support his family. The bills piled up, the freight slowed down, and the challenges seemed insurmountable.

He wanted to keep doing the right thing, but the financial slide had become relentless. He was staying out on the road for up to two months at a time and losing ground.

Snyder’s daughter, Savannah, now 15 years old, saw the toll the strain was taking on her family. She read about the Back On The Road 2010 contest in one of her dad’s trucking magazines and wrote a letter nominating her dad.

Driving for 18 years, Snyder had been an owner-operator for the past seven years.

“The loads got slower, and between idling and deadhead it was pretty near like you’re out there working for fuel money,” said Snyder. “It’s been getting worse. I was slowly using up the little bit of money I had saved.

“The family car got repossessed; I got behind on the mortgage on the house. Four years ago I was doing good. There was money coming in, and the bills were all paid. I worked with good people, but there just wasn’t enough work.”

Arrow Truck Sales’ Back On The Road 2010 campaign, presented by Volvo Trucks North America, is in its third year. It is designed to benefit a trucker in need of a truck and a job. As the winner of Back On The Road, Snyder receives a 2007 Volvo VNL 670, courtesy of Volvo Trucks North America, a one-year work agreement with Heartland Express, and other products and services, including:

  • Insurance provided by the Owner-Operator
    Independent Drivers Association
  • X One tires from Michelin
  • TriPac auxiliary power unit courtesy of Thermo King
  • Monthly $500 fuel cards thanks to Pilot Travel Centers
  • Business consulting tools courtesy of ATBS
  • A three-year/300K-mile warranty from National Truck Protection Inc.
  • One year’s worth of filter products from Genuine Volvo Parts
  • Custom truck paint job courtesy of Dickinson Fleet Services
  • Truck accessories and fenders courtesy of Minimizer Products
  • Memory foam mattress provided by SleepDog Mattress
  • Paint provided by Sherwin-Williams

And what will his life look like going forward?

“I think it’s fixing to change. I believe it’s gonna get great, thanks to Arrow Truck Sales and Back On The Road. I’ve got hope that this will be the turning point. I’ll get back to living life instead of sweating bullets worrying about paying the bills.”

Savannah couldn’t be happier.

“I could see my dad smile again. He won’t just be looking on the bright side; he’ll be on the bright side. It’ll be good to have him in the bleachers for support when I play tennis,” she said.

His advice to other drivers facing the challenge of making ends meet in today’s challenging environment?

“Don’t give up. Keep doing what you’re doing. There’s an answer for your prayers out there. Back On The Road has been the answer to my prayers.” LL