A trucking missionary

Mike Krick
1950: Born in Auburn, Ind.
1971: Graduates from ITT Technical Institute with associate’s degree in electronics technical engineering.
1972-1974: Moves to Belgian Congo, now Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the
Peace Corps.
1974-1975: Returns to work as electronics technician at Harrah’s Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nev.
1976-1977: Works as heavy equipment operator for a logging company in Gold Beach, Ore.
1978-1981: Works for U.S. Forest Service.
1981: Buys a 1975 International Transtar cabover and forms Krick Trucking as an independent.
1985: Buys a 1985 Western Star extended hood conventional.
1990: Leases to TP Trucking in Central Point, Ore.
1995: Buys a 1995 Freightliner FLD.
2004: Buys a 2004 Freightliner Century Class.
2005: Wins 16-year Safety Award and Longevity Award from TP Trucking.

Mike Krick, 55, has been in trucking for 25 years, yet he never expected to be a truck driver. Starting out as an electronics technician and then working as a heavy equipment operator, he learned how to drive the trucks that carried his equipment from Jim Kelly, a friend and co-worker.

When Kelly’s uncle, George Anderson, retired from driving in 1981, Krick bought his 1975 International. “I rode with him for three months, and he taught me over-the-road trucking.”

Krick planned to drive for five years, long enough to build a nest egg, and then move on to something else. But three years later he happened upon a 1985 Western Star extended hood that had been repossessed with only 50,000 miles on it. He bought it along with a new trailer and locked himself into trucking for another five years.

“I was never a trucker. Even when I bought my third truck, I still didn’t consider myself a trucker,” he says. “It kind of sucks you in.”

Today, Krick hauls building materials and dry goods along the West Coast. He’s been leased to TP Trucking, based in his hometown of Central Point, Ore., for 16 years. He makes more than $60,000 a year before taxes and has never had a moving violation or an accident.

When Krick decided to get out of trucking, he sought advice from a pastor and ex-missionary, explaining to him that he could be more involved with the church and do missionary work if he weren’t on the road so much. The pastor asked him, “Did you ever stop and think that trucking might be your missionary field? Think about all of the people you meet.”

“It was like a light came on,” Krick says. “From then on, I never applied for any other jobs.”

Speaking with homeless people or with construction workers, Krick says, he simply listens and tries to apply biblical principles to their problems. “It makes this job rewarding in ways that don’t have to do with trucking,” he says.

Krick also watches costs closely. He buys oil and filters in bulk. He recently saved $600 by buying two full sets of tires while they were on sale. He takes advantage of rebates and card memberships that offer lower fuel prices. Krick calls TP Trucking daily to find out where he can get the cheapest fuel. He uses a Willis auxiliary power unit to avoid idling.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do about your fixed overhead like insurance charges and load tax, but the things you can get a handle on can add up to quite a bit,” Krick says.

Krick, who does all his own preventive maintenance, has been mechanically inclined since childhood, says his stepfather, Dick Leffler. “He was a very inquisitive kid, very innovative and mechanically really strong,” he says. “I remember his mother telling me that anything he got for Christmas, he tore it apart and put it back together again, even his sisters’ toys.”

When Krick bought his latest truck, he removed the passenger seat and installed a hand-built office nook with a cabinet, shelves and room for a small refrigerator and cooler. The top of the cabinet folds down to form a work surface.

He also removed a cabinet and installed a vacuum toilet, using the leftover cabinet wood as a top that converts the toilet to a bedside table.

At home, Krick built his own paint shop, mechanical shop and wood shop. His latest projects include building and painting a fence, designing a 3-acre irrigation system and helping his son build a guitar. He maintains all the family vehicles, including three cars, a pickup truck, a John Deere tractor and a riding mower.

“I try to make contributions when I’m at home, but it’s pretty easy to see who’s responsible for three great kids and everything running so smoothly at home,” Krick says, giving credit to his wife, who preferred not to be named, and their shared Christian faith for keeping the family strong.

Krick says he will keep trucking until he can’t anymore. “I don’t think retiring was ever meant to be. If you work, you stay healthy until you die.”

Trucker trivia
WHILE IN THE PEACE CORPS, Krick traveled to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and to Geneva, Switzerland, to learn French, the dominant language in the Congo.

KRICK PLAYS BASS GUITAR almost every Sunday at Bear Creek Church in Medford, Ore.

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