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Under the influence
Covering member news and the happenings in trucking is much like reporting community news; it’s just that our stomping ground is bigger than most. Keeping up with the "community news" keeps our big old coast-to-coast neighborhood connected.

By Kerry Evans-Spillman
Land Line staff 

 

Two peas in a … cab
Trucking is “a family tradition” according to OOIDA Member Gary Dulaney of Springfield, OH.

His dad is a retired trucker, his younger brother is a trucker, and Gary has been driving for more than 30 years. Eventually, you can expect to meet Gary’s grandson, Aaron Dulaney, out there on the road, behind the wheel of a truck.

Eight years ago, a 4-year-old Aaron asked if he could ride in Grandpa’s big truck. Gary asked his employer, Woeber Mustard Co., if it was possible to take Aaron with him. Their passenger policy had no age limit, and they permitted him to take his grandson for a spin.

In the Dulaney family tradition, Aaron was instantly hooked. Ever since then, he spends summer breaks serving as grandpa’s co-pilot in the truck. Aaron has learned how to drop  landing gear, undo air lines, open the back doors, and keep the truck and trailer clean.

They love each other’s company. Gary especially enjoys the look on Aaron’s face as he experiences new things out on the road, like the first time he saw a buffalo. For Aaron, trucking is an endless adventure, seeing different places and people. MaryJo Dulaney, Aaron’s mom and Gary’s daughter, thinks it is great.

Aaron is just 12 but already making plans for his future. He intends to join the Marine Corps after high school and eventually follow in Gary’s tire tracks by driving a truck.

Shooting star
Incredible feats run in the Hagan family. OOIDA Member Mike Hagan of Whitehall, MT, has been the record holder since 2008 for the world’s longest tractor wheelie. His son, Layne, is only 11 but may someday be a world record holder in exhibition shooting.

“Impossible Shots” is a series on the Outdoor Channel. In August, they filmed Layne performing a number of amazing rifle tricks, highlighting his signature shot – splitting a horse hair with a .22 centerfire round from his Bushmaster AR15. He also ‘made breakfast’ by hitting a series of reactive targets that broke eggs into a skillet and lit a fire.

Using a Springfield Armory M1A rifle, he then shot an explosive charge that started a Walthers G Scale toy train. And for his finale, he shot another explosive charge that raised an American flag. They also filmed Mike doing one of his tractor wheelies.

Mike began sharing his hobby of exhibition shooting with Layne seven years ago. Just like Mike’s approach to trucking, his approach to guns is “safety first.” His philosophy is that using caution should be in the front of the mind and not the back.

He has ingrained the importance of safety in Layne. For “Impossible Shots,” Layne shares what he calls his “Cool Kids Concepts for Safety,” which outlines what kids should do if they find a gun.

Layne’s rifle skills are getting him noticed by a number of sponsors like Bushmaster and Walthers, which provided the $650 toy train.

Mike is developing a website to showcase fun things the Hagans do and share trucking-related information as well, at haganoutdoors.com.

Look for Mike and Layne on “Impossible Shots” sometime in the 2011 season on the Outdoor Channel.

Making the most of a second chance
Chance Rodgers was only 2 years old the first time he took a short trip in “Papa’s” truck. As Chance got older, the trips with his grandfather got a little longer. Papa, aka Jim Rodgers of Beatty, OR, would sometimes ask Chance if he got homesick. He never did.

The two of them, both OOIDA members, would be in the truck and Jim would check to see if Chance wanted to call mom. No. Did he want to call dad? No. Sisters? No.

It wasn’t that he didn’t love his family, but there was no reason to call home when there were things to do, loads to deliver, new people to meet and museums to visit.

Sometimes when Chance was at home, he would call Papa and want to know when he could get back in the truck.

When Chance was 11, he and his family got devastating news.

Osteosarcoma, bone cancer, was threatening his life. The next several months were spent in hospitals where Chance underwent chemotherapy and numerous surgeries.

During the 2008 Mid-America Trucking Show, OOIDA Life Member and country-western recording artist Leland Martin performed a concert, which was followed by an auction to raise money for Chance’s family. Truckers came together in a huge way, providing financial assistance and support for the Rodgers family.

Fast-forward to the 2010 Great American Trucking Show. Papa Jim was in attendance with a now15-year-old Chance who is doing great with his cancer in remission for the past year and a half. He had surgery in April, losing part of his leg, but that hasn’t slowed him down. Chance is walking with a prosthesis and enjoying his freshman year of high school. Jim says Chance recently joined ROTC and is looking forward to getting his driver’s permit.

During Chance’s last checkup, doctors found spots on one of his lungs.

True to form, Chance is maintaining a positive attitude, gearing up for another battle and moving forward. After he graduates from high school, he is considering joining the military, possibly followed by a career in trucking. LL

 

kerry_evans-spillman@landlinemag.com

Aug/Sept Digital Edition