4.5 Million Miles and Counting
When loading and unloading dangerous chemicals, he wears safety gear like rubber boots, chemical rain gear and rubber gloves.
Dieu credits the truck maintenance team at Equipment Mobile Service for helping keep him safe on the road. “They find things I don’t even find sometimes,” Dieu says. “They’re exceptional.”
Team Transport is also dedicated to safety, says Dieu. “If a truck isn’t safe, they don’t want you to leave the yard,” he says. The company’s mission statement begins with the words “safely serving our customers.”
Dieu’s wife Patsy says she doesn’t worry about him because he never takes chances. “When he comes in at night, if there’s something wrong, he wants it fixed,” she says. “He does demand the good tires and equipment. He knows he’s going from point A to point B, and he wants to make sure he gets there. I know if it wasn’t up to par, he would say, ‘I won’t drive it.’”
Dieu says he learned everything he knows about trucking from his father, including how to care for his truck. “My dad always kept his truck clean, and he always appreciated his truck,” he says. “So I appreciate my truck.”
Even though his father sparked his interest in trucking, Dieu says his wife of almost 43 years is the one who keeps him going. “She has been a good supporter,” Dieu says. “We’ve got five kids, and she more or less raised them.”
He met Patsy when they were children and knew right away she was the one for him. “Believe it or not, I was walking across the O’Henry Street Bridge in Coquille,” Dieu says. “She was in a cherry tree throwing cherries at me and singing that song, ‘Georgie Porgie.’ I said, ‘I’m going to marry you one day!’”
He was about 12 years old then, and they started going together soon after. They married on May 28, 1960, and have lived in the same house for 43 years.
Dieu keeps photographs of his 12 grandchildren around him in his truck, and he plans to take them on a trip to Disneyland soon. He and his wife are members of the Coquille High School Bleacher Club, supporting the football program at the school where their five children went and now their grandchildren attend.
When he gets home from a run, the first thing he does is call his children and grandchildren. “When they’re not home, he loves leaving messages on the answering machine for the grandkids,” Patsy says.
Dieu tried bringing his wife along on his runs a few times. She enjoyed it, but Dieu had trouble keeping her awake. “I’ve got the sleeper, and she falls asleep on me all the time,” he says.
Dieu’s grandson Clayton Dieu loves to ride in his grandfather’s International Eagle.
He takes his grandchildren for rides in the big rig sometimes, particularly his 11-year-old grandson, Dyllan, and 4-year-old grandson, Clayton.
“Clayton wants to be in that truck constantly,” Patsy says. “He could go for hours in that truck if he had to.”
Dieu would like the family tradition of truck driving to continue, but he doesn’t know if any of the grandchildren’s interest in trucks will hold.