Putting A best Foot Forwards

Drivers and the public in general are often presented with a variety of products that claim to improve out health and life in some manner. All manner of odd inventions are presented to us with claims that they will make us feel better, loose weight, be more attractive, win the lottery and so on.


Welcome to GATS
Welcome to GATS

So when I was told about a product being introduced at the Great American Truck Show (GATS), in Dallas, TX. That would help prevent fatigue, help my cardiovascular health, help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis, as well as a few other things. I was a bit skeptical. Continue reading Putting A best Foot Forwards


Driver Wellness Tour 2014

Bob Perry and the Rolling Strong Coaches at GATS
Bob Perry and the Rolling Strong Coaches at GATS

At  GATS in Dallas TX, this year was the lead off to a major event that will be taking place for driver health and wellness.  Rolling Strong, along with Freightliner, and the Truckers Rolling Against Hepatits-C Campaign, had a driver wellness pavilion at GATS.  At this pavilion one could have their blood pressure, weight and BMI calculated.  Talk to a health coach about their fitness level, try out the FIT System,  take the Big Rigger Fitness Challenge.  As well as be screened to see if they had Hepatitis-C.

Bob Perry demonstrating the FIT System

The first on the road event will be taking place in Carlisle, Pa at the Petro Stopping Center on U.S. 11. It will be on Sept. the 23rd, and run from 10-6.  Bob Perry the Trucker Trainer will be there to encourage drivers to see how many times they can press a tire. This event and tires is being sponsored by Michelin. The winner of this Big Rigger Fitness Challenge will get a FIT System for their truck.  As well as qualify for a chance to compete against Bob and other qualifiers at an event in California in December.

I tried the challenge at GATS.  Lets just say I did not come close to meeting the 100+ of the winner and will be looking to redeem myself on Tuesday.  Due to my schedule at GATS I was not able to do many of the screenings, so will be using this opportunity to make use of the FREE  tests.

Coach Mary Zirk With a contestant
Coach Mary Zirk With a contestant

There will be workout sessions with Rolling Strongs CDL Wellness Coaches.  Their Master Trainer Laura York has already threatened me with a personalized work out session. Freightliner will have a Cascadia there to show off a fully installed FIT System.  Lastly and hopefully not least,  there will be some cooking demonstrations to show how easy it is too cook on the truck.  These demonstrations at to be done by Tom Kyrk from Road Tested Living.  (Note cooking demonstration has only been scheduled for the Carlisle event)

Tom cooking on a truck
Tom cooking on a truck

I have been given a challenge.  To bring nothing but my kitchen gadgets, (hopefully a few spices will be allowed), and a roll of duct tape.  (No I am not cooking the Duct Tape.) From this I will have to go shopping inside the PETRO, and cook a meal, and snacks with just ingredients I find inside.  The duct tape is to tape off an area the size I work with in the truck to show how easy it can be.

It is always a good idea to have an idea of where you stand on your overall health picture such as BP, Weight, BMI etc.  Being on the road it can be a challenge to find places to have these screenings done.  When you have a group of people who set up an event for drivers that is FREE it is a win-win in my opinion.

An additional screening that is being offered is the Hep-C screening. One reason this is such a concern is Hepatitis-C can not show symptoms for as long as 20-40 years.  By the time symptoms show it can already have causes severe liver damage.  Early detection can lead to treatments that can prevent this damage.  Further more new treatments have been developed ot ensure drivers do no have to miss work.  Ora-Sure Technologies have developed a test that can show if you have been exposed to Hepatitis-C with a drop of blood in about 20 minutes.  AbbVie is a bio-pharmaceutical company that has worked to develop a treatment with fewer side effects than past treatments.  This allows people to maintain normal activities during treatment.

The reason Hepatitis-C should concern drivers is this.  Those of the baby boom generation (who make up a large part of trucking), are more likely to have Hepatitis-C.  This occurs for a number of reasons.  The main causes are lack of proper sterilization of needles, as well as shared ink, and blood transfusions in the past.  During the 1990’s as awareness of this disease and how it was spread grew. This allowed the development of methods to prevent its spread.  As a result due to test of blood, single use needles, and ink.  The spread rate from these sources has been greatly reduced.

There have been some preliminary studies that show Hepatitis-C may be more prevalent in drivers than in some other populations.  As a result of this OraSure, AbVie, along with the HTAA has developed the Truckers Rolling Against Hep-C campaign.  Rolling Strong and its partners are working with them to provides screening at the Rolling Strong Wellness events.  Those who obtain a positive result from the screening, medical personnel will be on hand to discuss options.

One of the contest winners with her FIT system.
One of the contest winners with her FIT system.

All in all this looks to be the start of a great driver focused health and wellness tour. Here is the current schedule of locations.  All events will be from 10-6 local time.

9/23 — Carlisle, PA, Petro Stopping Centers, I-81, Exit 52/I-76, Exit 226,                   1201 Harrisburg Ave, Route 11. Carlisle, PA 17013

10/7 — Bordentown, NJ, Petro Stopping Centers, I-295 Exit 57, NJ Turnpike, Exit 7
402 Rising Sun Rd, Bordentown, NJ 08505

11/4 — Tampa, FL, TravelCenters of America, I-4, Exit 10,off Mango Rd., 11706 Tampa Gateway Blvd. Tampa, FL 33584

12/2 — Ontario West, CA, TravelCenters of America I-10, Exit 57, Milliken Ave.       4265 East Guasti Road Ontario, CA 91761

More pictures, videos, and stories about these events to follow.

Thank You Smart Trucks!!!

Smart Truck BBQ at GATS 2014
Smart Truck BBQ at GATS 2014

At GATS in Dallas this year, drivers who had parked in the parking lot came out to find a pleasant surprise.  The folks from Smart Truck Systems decided to hold a BBQ for drivers of the second year in a row. They came up with the idea as a way to thank drivers for what they did.

Some of the good food that was provided.
Some of the good food that was provided.

Drivers were treated to a BBQ feast which was delicious.  The BBQ Brisket was fantastic, however the crowd pleaser and spotlight stealer has to be the smoked turkey breast.  It ran out well before the brisket.

Entertainment was provided by the country band Empty Pockets.  Brad James (interview coming in the near future) was invited on stage to sing a song and it was well received by the crowd.  In a later conversation Brad told me that this was his first time singing with a live band. He did a fantastic job.

Empty Pockets performing at GATS
Empty Pockets performing at GATS

It was an unexpected treat to come out and find this prepared for drivers.  Since this is Driver Appreciation week I would like to publicly express my thanks to the wonderful people at Smart Truck.  Drivers often feel overlooked. To have a vendor recognizing drivers in such a meaningful way was truly appreciated.  It did not matter if you used their products, were a company driver, or owner operator.  Their concern was to make sure you were well fed, entertained, and knew you were appreciated.

Some of the team from Smart Truck
Some of the team from Smart Truck

Anytime someone goes out of their way to show drivers appreication i beleive it deserves credit. Whether it is a stranger buying a driver a cup of coffee, another driver giving a fellow driver a shower credit.  Or one of the several other events that was done to thank drivers at GATS, I feel the deserve credit.  it is nice being shown how you are appreciated.

My personal thanks to you for the great dinner, and all you did.

Driver Appreciation

American Trucking Association 2014 Driver Appreciation Logo
American Trucking Association 2014 Driver Appreciation Logo

The week of September 14th through the 20th is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Many people will be writing articles on the importance of trucking and driver to our economy. While this is true I have decided to take a different approach to show my appreciation to my fellow drivers. Continue reading Driver Appreciation

Making It Happen at GATS

Christina and some of her loyal volunteers
Christina and some of her loyal volunteers at GATS 2014

For those of you have missed my earlier blogs on it.  Make It Happen USA a bone marrow registry group partnered with the Trucking Solutions Group at GATS.  They were there to raise awareness about the bone marrow/stem cell registry as well as to sign people up for it. This partnership was made possible with the additional support of Randall-Reilly Publishing, and ATBS.

Their efforts led to 160 people being signed up for the registry. In addition Make It Happen USA was just informed that 4 matches have been found from people that have signed up. As Christina Schnese the founder of the group often states.  “Each match we find not only saves a life but saves a family”

Tony and Misty Justice registering at GATS
Tony and Misty Justice registering at GATS

While 160 people may not sound like a large number of sign ups for an event that drew in over 40,000 people over its 3 days.  It is just the beginning. Christina spent a large amount of time networking and building relationships with a variety of groups.  Her and her team of tireless volunteers (ok by Saturday night they you could tell there were exhausted) have been invited to the MATS show.  In addition the National Minority Truckers Assoication have graciously agreed to host them at the upcoming expos being held across the country.

Christina’s story and her drive to make a difference to those who are suffering from leukemia and other blood based diseases have sparked an interest in the trucking community. Christina was continuously amazed throughout the event by the enthusiasm that the trucking community has for her project.

Personally I feel her compelling story of survival as well as one of hope resonated through out the event. You see Christina’s bone marrow transplant did not just save her from Leukemia it also appears to have cured her Lupus.  Due to the stem cell Donation that she received it appears to have cured both diseases.  Researchers are now looking at bone marrow stem cell donation as a cure for various blood cancers, as well as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and other diseases.

The registration process is simple and painless a short questionnaire, and a quick swab of your cheeks. You are then placed on the registry and if a match is found you will be contacted. Most people will give blood stem cells which is about a 5-6 hour procedure simple as giving blood.  In a few RARE cases they may still use the more traditional Bone Marrow procedure.  That is typically reserved for cases when the recipient only has a short time to live.

Tom Swabbing to Register at GATS
Tom Swabbing to Register at GATS

I along with 160 others chose to give others and their families a chance at life. I hope you will choose to do so as well.  For information on how to get a testing kit free of charge, become a volunteer, or to make a donation to help cover the costs of the kits.  Please e-mail ican@makeithappenusa.com

One important thing to remember is that their is no cost to the donor either for registering or for the procedures.  The testing of the kits currently costs 65 per kit to register a person. Make It Happen USA does depend on and gladly accept donations for those who are able and feel it appropriate.

The Trucking Solutions Group would like to thank Randal-Reilly Publishing, and ATBS for their genrous support in making this possible

I have already helped to make it happen. How WILL YOU help Make It Happen???

Trucker’s Rolling Against Hep-C

gats logo

This year at GATS there seems to be a heavy focus on Driver Health and Health Related Issues.  The Healthy Trucker Association of America (HTAA) is rolling out their Truckers Against Hepatitis-C campaign. It will be held at booth 23113 in the Health Pavilion Area of the show.

In the U.S. approximately 5.2 million people have been exposed or are infected Hepatitis-C.  Approximately 3 out of 4 people do not know they are infected or have been exposed to Hepatitis-C.  Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) make up 75% of those infected.  Which comes to 1-30 in this group.  Truckers are 5 times more likely to have it then any other group. Continue reading Trucker’s Rolling Against Hep-C

a son speaks about cancer…

Jon and Christina on a Mother and Son bonding trip.

This  is the third installment on the importance of Bone Marrow donation. Leading up to GATS bone marrow donation registry drive at the TSG booth, August 21-23, in Dallas, Tx .   This week is from the perspective of Christina’s son Jon.  His perspective is unique.  He is the son of a survivor, as well as being a donor himself.

Jon’s Story:


My mother(Christina Schense) is the most stubborn woman in the world, and don’t take this wrong, I do not mean it as an insult. Continue reading a son speaks about cancer…

On the Road to a Truck Show

Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen 365trucking.com
Photo Courtesy of Jim Allen 365trucking.com

Hard to believe that the first truck show I ever attended was this year. I managed to make it for the first day of MATS (Mid American Truck Show).  Needless to say I was hooked.  Not so much on MATS which is truly a great show, but on truck shows themselves.  Where else do you get such a diverse group of people interested in the same thing, trucking. Continue reading On the Road to a Truck Show

Should I Travel The Road Less Taken?


Indiana Toll Road Photo Credit: Dougtone via Compfight cc

This post originally came from my friend Jeff Clark a Freightliner Team Run Smart Pro.  Over the last several weeks we have had some debates on the advantages and disadvantages of Toll Roads.  As a company driver I am for the route that saves me the most time.  Where Jeff is looking for time, as well as cost savings.  While he has not totally convinced me yet. This post he did on a comparison of one of the non-toll routes verses the toll road in Indiana caused me to take a second look. Continue reading Should I Travel The Road Less Taken?

Doing for Others

I think many people will agree that we enjoy the feeling that we get when we are able to do something nice for others.  It can brighten up your day when you are able to help someone  else out, as well as bringing joy to their day.  As drivers we have the added challenge of figuring out how we can do this.  Many times, we are under a schedule that may prevent us from stopping and lending aid to someone. Others may have limited resources in which to give others support.  Yet other causes we wish to support we may be unable to do so as we are on the road and not able to be at that event.

Trucking Solutions Group Blood Drive at the GATS Truck Show in Dallas, 2013
Trucking Solutions Group Blood Drive at the GATS Truck Show in Dallas, 2013

This year at the Great American Truck Show (GATS ), 2014 Truck Show there will be 2 events that drivers, and those attending the event should take note of.  The first is the annual Red Cross Blood Drive, organized by the Trucking Solutions Group (TSG). Continue reading Doing for Others

Lessons In Living Well Taken from the Road

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