Road friends through thick and thin

Updated Sep 9, 2012

I have a lot of close friends at Randall-Reilly, the publisher of Overdrive and owner of The Great American Trucking show among other properties. After 12 years here, many feel as much like family as they do co-workers.

I also include a great many drivers with whom I stay in regular contact as close friends. I didn’t realize just how many there were until my hometown of Tuscaloosa was devastated by a massive tornado on April 27, 2011.Some of my trucker friends started calling me the very night

Marshall PlatterMarshall Platter

the tornado hit. They wanted to check up on me and my family and offer to help if they could. Among them were Steve Bixler, Charlie Hamilton and Marshall Platter.

When I was diagnosed earlier this year with cancer, and wrote in my Truckers News’ column about my medical issues, the calls and emails from the road came pouring in.

At this year’s Great American Trucking Show, I was stopped several times by my co-workers to relay a message that so-and-so was looking for me. I made my best effort to find all of them between press conferences and other assignments. I did get around to seeing most of them, but one in particular eluded me – Marshall Platter (what a great name, huh?). Less than 30 minutes before I was set to fly back home, into the pressroom walked Marshall, large cigar and all. He said he want to see me before I left, and find out how I was doing since my surgery (I am doing well, and thanks to all of you who have asked or wondered).

I was honored that he hadn’t give up on finding me. Marshall is a unique person, and we have unique relationship. He got fired from a trucking company after I interviewed him a couple of years ago for a story about electronic onboard recorders in Truckers News. Not many people can say you have a friend that you played a role in them losing their job and they are still speaking to you.

Even considering, no – especially considering — my personal turmoil of the past two years, there is no doubt, I’m the luckiest SOB alive.