Fruits of their labor
Jerry Fraley is a former owner-operator who now drives a company truck with his wife Judy. “We were owner-operators for a long time,” he says. “We decided to sell out and relax. We run California and enjoy our time together.”
“We wanted to stop and smell the roses,” Judy adds.
All members of the family look back on long careers, numerous safety awards and other industry recognition with a sense of satisfaction and pride. “It’s amazing to be born into such a trucking family,” says Donnie Fraley.
“I guess the reason we have such a huge trucking family is we didn’t know anything else,” Jerry says. “I’ve driven a truck since day one.”
As for winning the Great American Trucking Family title, most expressed shock and excitement.
“I jumped up and down and bruised myself when I found out we had won,” LauraLee says. “I was just ecstatic. I married into this family, and they are just wonderful people. It’s wonderful that they are being recognized for all they have accomplished.”
‘Just Good Folks’
Bob Fentress is called the adoptive member of the Fraley trucking family. While he’s no blood relation to the clan, he considers them family.
Fentress got acquainted with the Fraleys while hanging around a Standard Oil station in Louisville when he was a teenager.
“I’d see these boys come in and I’d asked them, ‘how do you drive them big old trucks?” he says. “I got to know Jimmy, Wendell, Bobby and Sherman and the rest of them.”
Later on, while working at a factory, Fentress begin driving on weekends and during his vacation for the Fraleys.
“I didn’t need a vacation,” the 60-year-old says. “I loved driving a truck.”
He maintained his working relationship with the Fraleys for many years as he continued working a factory job. In 1982, he went into trucking full time. He owns three trucks, two of them leased to B&J Trucking.
“They are the finest people you’ll ever meet,” Fentress says. “If you can’t get along with them, you can’t get along with anyone.”
He says one incident when he was younger cemented his bond with the Fraleys. He was married, laid off at the factory and flat broke.