1. Why I got into trucking… There is no short, easy answer. Trucking was something I always wanted to do, it was like an infatuation I had growing up playing with cars and trucks instead of dolls, and traveling with my mom and dad in their camper with the “big rigs”. Having my first son when I was 17, being a single mom, getting married when I was 20 and having 2 more children before getting divorced when I was 24 and becoming a single mom again of 3, trucking was not an option for me. Other things that kept me from pursuing trucking was, I felt I couldn’t do it because I was a female, and then medical issues with my leg would prevent me from doing the job.
I worked at a trucking company for a short time in the payroll and safety departments during 2006-2007 until I was laid off due to the economy crash. I had a hard time trying to find work after that and lost my apartment, had to have my kids move in with their dad, and I started moving around looking for work.
In 2008 I found a job as a small package delivery driver in Green Bay, WI delivering to factories, warehouses, banks, etc. and this was when I found my love of driving and the industry. I spent a great deal of time around the big trucks and really wished I could drive one. Later that year I started having trouble with my leg and losing my ability to walk normal. I was sent to get it checked out and unfortunately was put on a medical leave and was never able to return.
In 2010 I moved back to my hometown where I worked for a friend of mine on her farm and her group home for cognitively disabled men as a live in caregiver.
In February of 2011 I fell down a flight of stairs which is when I wrecked my knee so bad I had to have it replaced in March. My surgery recovery did not go very well, had to have a second surgery, and for the entire first year I had to use a walker, crutches, and a cane. I didn’t think I would ever walk again. Finally after a whole year, I started regaining normal function of my leg and it just kept getting better than it had ever been in over 10 years.
In November of 2012 I went on a trip with a truck driver friend of mine for about 5 days which was when I got the feel for “life” on the road and realized how well it fit me, my personality, and who I was. That’s when I decided I was, “going for it”.
I wanted to do something positive for once in my life, and I felt like the time was right that I could finally improve myself and my life. I was always taking care of others, and now it was time for me to take care of myself. My kids were older developing their own lives and routines with jobs, school, and extra curricular activities. I talked to them about my intentions and they all gave me their blessing and told me to go for it. I now had the determination to prove to myself that I really could succeed at my dream… So that’s when the chase began.
By December I was enrolled in school which began in February of 2013. I continued to work part time on weekends at the group home, bartended Thursday nights till close, and attended school 5 days a week full time. In May I graduated in the top of my class, with honors. I did it!
Just days after graduation, May 23rd, I went to work for Halvor Lines in Superior, WI which is where I am currently employed. I have just completed my first year of driving today, safely. I really had it handed to me this winter, but I made it through my first winter which was the worst in over 20 years. All I can say is I am proud to be here, proud of who I am, and what I have done for myself and the industry. Hoping for many more years to come!
2. Who would I take with me and why? Well, I feel like I already accomplished this last month when I took my daughter for a week during her spring break. The things I got to share with her and the way we got to bond was priceless. I had the opportunity to show her my new life on the road, how I have improved myself as a person, and done something positive for my life, and show her places she has never been. She got to see how happy I was and my passion for what I do. We both had a blast and she is very happy to see me in a better situation in life and is very proud of me and my accomplishments. She respects what I do and learned a lot about rules of the road and how to share/respect the road with other drivers and big trucks. She just recently got her driving permit, so this was a great teaching experience for her. She also learned a lot about how trucks transport goods around the country to make the products and deliver the things we buy and use every day. It was very interesting to her to see “the chain” of where everything comes from. I really never had anything while my kids were growing up or accomplished anything in my life so it really is a great feeling to have my children be proud of me seeing me live my dream.
I would like to take one of my sons on the road with me sometime too. My oldest really doesn’t show much interest in going along but my younger son does. It’s just a matter of finding time in his busy schedule to go. I think he and I would have just as great of a time as my daughter and I did.
3. What would I tell a young female who is considering a career in trucking? I would tell her that if she really has the passion and desire to live this lifestyle, that she should go for it and don’t let anyone tell her she can’t. I would share my story with her of how I got to be here and made it. I would reassure her that she can succeed in this industry.
So many people tried talking me out of it for years, and I believed them that it wasn’t for me or that I couldn’t do it and succeed.
However I feel now that the timing in my life just wasn’t right at that point and once I got myself taken care of and took the steps to be prepared for this lifestyle, it all worked out.
Fortunately I had good friends and connections that helped me get the best education I could at a technical college where I graduated cap, gown, the whole nine yards, with honors! From there my friends got me into an excellent company who is one of the 2013 and 2014 Best Fleets to Drive For. I feel very proud to be where I am today at Halvor Lines, and am glad I had the right people in my life to get me here.
4. What I think makes a woman a beautiful trucker?
-Her love, ambition, and drive to succeed and live a lifestyle that society sees as a predominantly male world.
-The motivation to do what others say she cannot.
-The desire to follow and live her dream.
-The courage to be alone, if solo, and deal with the treatment women are sometimes given by other drivers and the general public.
-The passion for the industry and helping others, working as a team to keep America moving.
-The strength to survive and succeed at a career many are intimidated by due to the size of the vehicle, bad weather, and just some of the day to day challenges, both on and off the road.
-Being able to juggle this career and lifestyle with their family and home life.
5. Why should I be chosen as the winner? I have only been driving for 1 year as of today, May 23rd. I have had a lot of obstacles to overcome in my life to be able to even start truck driving. At times I gave up and lost hope in ever being able to live my dream.
Somewhere along the way, I changed my way of thinking, I took care of the things that needed to be taken care of, I took the steps to get here, and so far I did it with flying colors.
I have never been more proud of myself for accomplishing something in my life. I dug my way out of darkness, pulled myself up, brushed myself off, and told myself that if this is what I really truly wanted to do with my life, that I could do it and should.
I’m living my dream, I’m happy, and I love feeling like I am finally doing something productive and in a small way helping others my keeping America moving, one truckload at a time.
I feel like I can be a great influence and mentor to others through my experiences. I think there is so much more I can do to help other women considering coming into the industry, or that are already here and maybe struggling. I just need the right door and opportunity to reach out to those I can help. It would be a great honor to be chosen as Overdrives Most Beautiful, but even if I’m not, hopefully making it this far will help open those doors to reach out to others. Thank you for your consideration.
Aka “Bashful” …but Beautiful!