'Burnt Beans' – the trucking community loses a friend and activist

By Land Line staff | Monday, June 23, 2014

The trucking community lost a friend and activist on Monday, June 16, when OOIDA Life Member Don McKinley died of cancer at age 65. McKinley, known in the trucking community as “Burnt Beans,” was an owner-operator trucker and current president of the JRB Memorial Fund, a charity that helps truckers through hard times.

He was also one of the original founders of the group. The Jacob Russell Boulanger Memorial Fund started out as “Friends of Barb Wyatt.” The group was inspired by a woman who served as the moderator of the Truckin’ Bozo’s interactive website for many, many years and who was a friend to many truckers. Members of the group honored Barb’s memory by helping other truckers when they could, urging those who received the help to pay it forward instead of paying it back.

Many of the members of the group were also faithful listeners of the “America’s Truckin’ Network” on 700WLW. Radio personality “Bubba Bo” was well known for sharing Barb’s sense of community in trucking. When Bubba Bo’s son, Jacob Boulanger, unexpectedly passed away in July 2009, truckers rallied around their friend.

During the 2011 Mid-America Trucking Show, McKinley approached OOIDA Life Member Rusty Wade. The two tried to think of a way to honor Jake and also create a more official outlet to help truckers in need. It was during the truck show that the foundation meeting of the Jacob Russell Boulanger Memorial Fund was held. The JRB Memorial Fund is now a 501(c)(3) organization, and its purpose is simple: to fill a gap between other trucking assistance and charitable groups. Wade passed away Jan. 24, 2013, of cancer.

Notably, McKinley was also one of the first – if not the first – to get community activities and a cook tent going at the Papa John Cardinal Stadium’s parking lot during the truck shows like the Mid-American Trucking Show in Louisville each spring.

He lived in DeMossville, Ky. He is survived by his wife, Debi, and his children Megan, Cody and Donald Clifford, also an OOIDA member. The funeral is set for Monday, June 30, in nearby Independence, Ky.

Land Line Social Media Coordinator Kerry Evans-Spillman contributed to this article.

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