Editor’s Page

The “Survivor” feature was actually developed from an idea of Jim Johnston’s. Jim wanted LL to chat with Howard “Butch” Turner, a member from Largo, FL, who has some very definitive ideas on how to stay on course during volatile times. The chat became an article. Butch lives in Florida now, but he’s from Alabama. I really liked the wisdom he shares that was given to him by his great-granddad. “My great-granddaddy told me a long time ago, a man can walk up to a section of land that needs plowing, think of all he can plant, but he’s got to plow the field,” says Butch. “He can wish, hope and pray about it, but nothing happens until he hitches up the mule.”

At the same time we were furiously taking notes on what Butch had to say, our paths crossed with the other survivors featured in the article. They are Freida and Jim Johns, Houtzdale, PA (Freida’s doing the talking in this piece); Donald and Roxanne Tracy, Homosassa Springs, FL; and LaDonna Salo of Rossville, GA. At OOIDA, there’s never a loss of professional truckers that volunteer to have their brains picked.

This story takes another turn. In November, OOIDA’s board of directors gathered here for the annual fall meeting. These are days that bring to OOIDA headquarters dozens of trucking board members, our attorneys from DC, special guests, academics and other wildly interesting people. It’s a trucking journalist’s heyday. One of our board members is Bill Rode of Eagle, ID, who is recently retired (this may not last long). I’ve always found him to be a great source, so when he was here I asked him to help out a bit on the “Survivor” article and he offered some great advice and made some cruel edits. I didn’t include what Bill had to say in the article and for a good reason. I was suddenly struck with the value of his advice and knew that “Survivor” was destined to be part one. By the time we finished talking, part two was well on its way to being written. Inside my head at least. Anyway, watch for it after the first of the year. Meanwhile, part one is on page 24.

On a related subject, another board member I much admire is a man named John Taylor. He and his wife, Martha, are extraordinary people who live in Cross Junction, VA, in a house where John has lived since he was two years old. The cabin where he was born is just down the road.

John is one of the safest drivers on the nation’s highways (50 years no chargeable accidents). Up to last year, when he had a fender bender in a truckstop parking lot that was not his fault, John had no accidents at all. He’s never been honored with a safe driving award. Why? Because most drivers, says John, who hear of a driver claiming five decades of safe driving, they’d say “that lying bastard!” So, he never applied for the award under OOIDA’s program.

On Saturday, the chairman of the OOIDA Safe Driving Awards committee, Jay W. Hosty (board member from Mississippi) conducted a discussion on safe driving patches, pins, decals, etc. available through a special OOIDA program. It was quite a surprise to John when Jay awarded him with the association’s first 50 Year Safe Driving Award. In his acceptance speech, he credited his 50-year record to “part skill and a lot of luck.” Congratulations, John Taylor. It’s the industry’s great loss that the changing times have not restocked the ranks of trucking with professionals like yourself. For a report on the fall board meeting, go to page 18.

Also in this issue: For all of you who have written, called or e-mailed us regarding business software for truckers, here it is. On page 31 is our annual computer software round up.

Collections, conflict resolution, compliance, permits, fuel taxes and getting your own authority are just some of the important areas where owner-operators require professional support. So where do you get that support? Maybe you already know about OOIDA’s Business Services department. If you do not know what this team of professionals can do for you and your business, you are not using the right book of tricks. On page 42 is the first of a series on OOIDA’s member services and programs.