A degenerative joint disease hasn’t stopped Overdrive’s Most Beautiful finalist Mandy Cole, a tough single mother who’s been driving for eight years, from getting out on the road, hauling water in a tanker or sand or metal boxes on flatbed. The company she drives for, Hoover and Sons Inc., is contracted to an oil and gas company. “Wherever they start a new frac, that’s where we go,” she says. She’ll haul to and from a site usually for one to two weeks and then move on to the next one.
Oftentimes, this leads her into extreme winter and mountain driving across the Northeast.
“The majority of my hauls are extreme mountain driving in ice, snow in the winter and mandatory chaining up,” she says. “A lot of my runs I’m solo with no cell service or no one in radio range, so you get very used to relying on yourself and thinking on your feet.”
Cole’s joint disease was diagnosed a few years ago; since, she’s had a total reverse shoulder replacement. But even with all the physical challenges she’s facing, she can’t imagine quitting trucking. Manual labor is “all I’ve ever known,” she says. “That’s how I was raised, and I’m going to make it work.”
Cole, who lives in Towanda, Pennsylvania, says that if she had time for a hobby — her typical workday is about 16 hours long — it would be spending more time on her parents’ farm.
“I was raised on a dairy farm and my role model has been my father. He maintained the farm, worked full time at GE Railcar, then retired from there and now is employed full time as a crane operator. He taught us all the meaning of hard work.”
This is the first of 10 stories about this year’s finalists. Check back throughout March for the rest. The winner will be announced in April and presented at The Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Aug. 24-26.