I ran into Kari Fisher, progenitor of the Missing Truck Driver Alert Network, while roaming the show floor at the Expedite Expo in Wilmington, Ohio, a couple weekends back now — I wasn’t exactly surprised, of course, as Fisher’s been tireless in her efforts to gain eyes on the MTDAN Facebook page, a social media jumping-off-point for information sharing for families and fleets who’ve done all they can on their own to find drivers who’ve fallen off the radar for various reasons around the nation. I first met Fisher in person at one or another of the Truck Driver Social Media Convention events, where in 2012 she won the show’s “Making a Difference” award, and before that I’d become familiar with her via her online MTDAN efforts.
What was interesting about Fisher’s presence at the show was that she and her former owner-operator husband, Lee, were set up to talk about the Missing Truck Driver Alert Network with Joe Hammerslough in the booth of Lightning Logistics, a 20-some-odd truck fleet based in Las Vegas and Phoenix that Hammerslough grew with a co-owner partner from a one-truck operation over many years. The Fishers had recently jumped into a Lightning company truck, and with the fleet, Kari said, she’d found an able partner in her efforts.
Hammerslough’s no stranger to the occasional difficulty of locating a driver for family, and he applauds the Fishers efforts, happy to open up a portion of the small fleet’s both for them. “We met at MATS” this past March, he says of the Fishers. “Lee and Kari walked up and introduced themselves.”
Missing Truck Driver Alert Network was part of the conversation about Lee potentially driving a Lightning truck from the get-go, he says. “This company was started 20 years ago,” Hammerslough says, “but I’ve been running trucking companies since the early 1970s. I’ve seen several drivers over those years we thought had fallen off the edge of the world…. I’ve had drivers pass away in their sleepers” with only a vague idea of where to start looking for them.
“As a company,” Hammerslough added, “we’ve always been into community-type things.” Lightning helps put on a cultural fair for underprivileged children in North Las Vegas. Given Lightning’s specialization in trade-show hauling, the company borrows equipment from customer GES and then “we set up the booths and curtain walls there ourselves.”
It’s nice to see a fleet getting behind an independent effort such as Kari Fisher’s — as recent cases Fisher’s been involved in suggest, she says, such support can be in short supply.