Real deal

| June 01, 2006

Singer/songwriter GM Paterson’s latest album Real tells the story of his trucking life.

After driving 1.5 million miles and spending 13 years sleeping in the cab of a truck, GM Paterson knows what he’s singing about.

Paterson’s new CD Real is a compilation of 13 original songs, chronicling his life as a truck driver and country music singer. Paterson and his band Overdrive play a rock n’ roll form of country that appeals to both country and rock fans, he says.

“I’ve created my own genre of music,” Paterson says. “It’s country rock with a road edge, I like to call it.”

Paterson owns Tennline Incorporated, a fleet of seven trucks, five semis and two partial-load tractor-trailers that haul steel, lumber, produce and other freight. But his trucks do more than just haul freight. At the Great American Trucking Show last year, Paterson used several of his trailers as his stage.

Originally from Ontario, Canada, Paterson has been touring with his band in the lower 48 for four years. Paterson is a driver spokesperson for IdleAire Technologies, a service that lets truckers pay to hook up to electricity and an HVAC unit at truckstops instead of idling.

Paterson started driving in his late 20s, and owning a company has given him an opportunity to get to know the industry even more, he says.

“I practice what I preach, as far as being in the industry,” Paterson says. “I really do know what it’s like to be out here. I know the feelings and emotions.”

His new album is dedicated to North American truck drivers, Paterson says. He calls himself a “lifestyle performer,” because his lyrics and daily life cannot be separated.

“I have respect for those people who are willing to make those sacrifices,” Paterson says. “I try to make my lyrics indicative of the real side of that lifestyle.”

Paterson writes all of his own songs, including, “Pain by Numbers” and “Thousand Miles from Tennessee.” “The Real McCoy” talks about his life as a truck driver and musician.

Paterson will be performing at the Western Maryland Trucking Show Aug. 26 on his own flatbed trailer. For a complete touring schedule and album info, log on to www.gmpaterson.com.
–Rachel Telehany


Smokey and the Rescuer
Texas driver defies gunman to save state trooper

When you think of truckers and state troopers, you don’t always imagine a friendly relationship. But that didn’t stop James Hill, a Texas-based driver for Prime, Inc., from coming to the rescue of a trooper whose life was in danger.

Hill was driving his truck on I-95 in North Carolina when something caught his eye. On the opposite side of the interstate, Trooper Chris Horniak had pulled over a vehicle. Suddenly, Hill saw the vehicle’s driver get out and begin firing multiple shots at the trooper.

Hill reacted immediately. He blew his air horn to distract the gunman and pulled his rig off the road. Horniak’s attacker fled the scene, and Hill went to the badly wounded officer to offer help. He called for backup and provided a description of the driver and his vehicle to local police.

Within minutes, an ambulance arrived for Trooper Horniak, and the gunman was arrested.

Hill received the State of North Carolina Certificate of Appreciation Award for saving the life of a North Carolina State Trooper. For his bravery, Hill was also nominated as a Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel and declared a North Carolina State Honorary Highway Patrolman.
–Kristin Walters


Homeward Bound
Trucker reunited with his lost “best friend”

After 1,100 miles, $700 and eight months, John Withers finally found his best friend again.
Withers, a driver since 2000 for Hallco Transport, met his closest pal and driving buddy Sir Charles Nugget when he rescued the 4-year-old chow mix from an abusive home in Atlanta.

The two were inseparable friends until last summer, when Withers stopped in Lena, Wis., en route to a delivery. He let Nugget out of the truck to go to the bathroom. Nugget wasn’t wearing a leash, but he was used to traveling on the road with his master and had always come running back to the truck when he heard it start.

This time he didn’t.

“I looked for him for seven hours the next day,” Withers says. “I thought he had found himself a new family.”

Withers posted fliers with pictures of Nugget around the area where the dog ran away. A few months later, Withers received phone calls from people saying that they had found Nugget, but they proved to be false leads.

“I knew it wasn’t Nugget, because the people said the dog they found was wearing a red bandana,” Withers says. “Nugget doesn’t wear a bandana.”

Several months passed, when in March, Withers finally got the call he had been waiting for. Animal Control found Nugget six blocks from where Withers had last seen him in Lena, lying under a truck. The dog refused to budge, so Withers and his other dog, 8-year-old Moose Edward, left their home in Gainesville, Fla., and headed to Wisconsin.

When Withers and Moose arrived, they found Nugget under the truck, skittish and afraid. Withers and Moose played in the snow for 25 minutes until Nugget finally left his spot under the truck and walked timidly toward his master.

The pair was reunited, much to Withers’ delight

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