March 2002

| April 02, 2002

RETIRED OWNER-OPERATOR FINALLY GETS DIPLOMA

Lawrence “Bud” Yackley of Glen Ellyn, Ill., got his diploma in a one-man graduation ceremony at Glenbard West High School – 58 years after his junior year was interrupted by World War II.

“It’s really wonderful,” says Yackley, 77, one of the first to benefit from a new Illinois law that gives veterans academic credit for military service. “Everybody at church was congratulating me. Old friends have been calling from Arizona, Texas, Florida, Maryland. I got 20 cards already and two big bouquets of flowers.”

Yackley’s late father, C.F. Yackley, was a five-truck owner-operator leased to road contractors in the 1940s. During the manpower shortage of 1941 and 1942, young Bud went to school half time and drove for his father the other half. That made him older than most of his classmates, and he was drafted into the Navy before he could graduate.

After the war Yackley became an owner-operator, working from one truck up to five. He hauled for several companies, but never considered himself leased. “I never had a lease,” he says. “We just did it on a handshake and on our word in those days.”

His father died of a heart attack in 1950, and Yackley had one of his own in 1969. “The doctor gave me less than six months and said I’d leave my wife a rich widow. It was the pressure of operating all those trucks.”

He sold his business and went to work for the Forest Preserve of DuPage County, Ill., as a motor-shop supervisor, which he says was a breeze compared to being an owner-operator. “The government took care of the payroll, so I didn’t have to worry about that, or about lining up work. Plus, I retired after 17 and a half years with a pension.”

His own father, Yackley says, had to leave school in the eighth grade to support his family, so the diploma fulfills two lifetime dreams. “I feel my dad is right beside me,” Yackley says.

- ANDY DUNCAN


XM RADIO REPORTS HAPPY CUSTOMERS, FEW GLITCHES

In its first few months of service, XM Satellite Radio has received almost perfect customer-satisfaction ratings and is using feedback from truckers to help uncover the few bugs in the system. Its competitor, Sirius Satellite Radio, was planning at press time to begin a limited launch in February.

Owner-operator Chuck Paar of Mount Jewett, Pa., bought himself a nice Christmas present this year: an XM Satellite Radio system, which he installed in his 1999 Kenworth on Christmas Eve.

Paar says that like many long-haul truckers, he had been waiting a long time for the clear, uninterrupted, nationwide channels provided by satellite radio. “The system worked fine initially, and for two days I was like a kid in a candy store,” Paar says. “With 100 channels to choose from, there is something of interest for everyone, 24 hours a day.”
Unfortunately, Dec. 28 was the day Paar’s music died. When he called XM’s Listener Care Center at (800) 852-9696, he learned the problem wasn’t with XM’s signal, but with his new receiver.

When he called the receiver manufacturer, expecting to be directed to the nearest dealer, he was astonished to discover that he had to return the unit in person to the retail store where he bought it in order to get it fixed. “I was now 2,500 miles from Rochester, N.Y., the point of purchase,” Paar says.

Paar has advice for other truckers buying a satellite radio system: “Make sure you clarify from the retailer what the warranty and replacement policy is.”

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