Recently, Todd Dills, Senior Editor of Overdrive Magazine wrote an an article about taking a ‘new look’ at an ‘old favorite’. We are appreciative of the support given by such writers as Dills. Thank you, Todd Dills for helping us, help drivers. Together, we can Save Lives and Families, One Driver At a Time.
Below is the article originally written for Overdrive.
Most around the trucking community today will be familiar with the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, colloquially known by the shorthand “the truckers’ fund” for the benefits it’s offered to drivers over the years who find themselves in a health and financial emergency. Something the organization put together recently caught my eye for how it framed of its value — and for its simply novelty, given I don’t think I’ve seen the folks at St. Christopher do this before.
They offered up two testimonials from beneficiaries, individuals who have felt the organization’s impact directly in a time of need. I thought I’d share the two here. To get a clear picture of the variety of benefits that the Truckers Fund delivers to drivers and owner-operators, and to read past related coverage of the trucking community’s wide base of provided support for the nonprofit, scan back through related coverage here at OverdriveOnline.com. Plenty organizations and trucking companies recognize that, as Dallas-based trucker Sheri Frumkin put it (a more full testimonial below), helping St. Christopher is helping truckers. And you can, of course, find more about the organization via their website, TruckersFund.org.
I have been behind the wheel of a semi-truck for 17 years. During that time, I am ticket and accident-free, so I like to think I’m pretty good at my job – and I definitely love it, but truck driving also takes a toll on your body. At some point at work, I ripped my right rotator cuff, but without being able to pinpoint when it happened, I couldn’t claim worker’s comp. The injury forced me to miss nearly half a year of work, and without the financial help of St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, I may have ended up broke, depressed and even homeless.
There is so much to enjoy about being a truck driver, like the freedom of being on the open road – but it can also be a lonely job, and not just when driving. When you get hurt and are unable to work and meet the physical demands of the job, it can feel like you are completely on your own without any support. After I had surgery on the tear in my shoulder, it took a month and a half before my short-term disability started, so that was 45 days without any income – and when disability did kick in, it’s only 50 percent of what I normally make on the job. That’s not enough to cover taxes, insurance, food and essential bills.
With mounting bills and no income, I was beginning to panic when I remembered an organization that helped my friend, a woman truck driver in Ohio, who had a hysterectomy in 2010 and couldn’t work for some time after. That memory provided me with hope, but it was after filling out the paperwork and receiving a call from Dana with St. Christopher that I realized how fearful I had become. When she told me how much St. Christopher would pay toward my bills, I began crying. I was overcome by a wave of instant relief, and I knew I was not alone. There was an organization out here looking out for me and other truckers.
Two months after St. Christopher first helped me, my disability ran out even though I was still unable to return to work. I called St. Christopher and let them know I was out of money and my bills were piling up. Again, they helped with my bills – but money isn’t all they gave me. Dana spoke to me like a friend. She comforted me and shared her own experiences of needing help, and she cheered me up during a time when I was at my lowest.
Mark Clare of Arizona City, Ariz.
Being a truck driver can be an extremely dangerous job if you’re not alert at all times — however, my close call with death did not come driving an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler. I almost died because of a blood infection. The doctors saved my life, but it was St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund that saved my family.
I moved to the U.S. from the Philippines when I was 18, and after working in several different industries, including security and oil drilling, I discovered the trucking industry. While I have certainly encountered obstacles in my 18-year career, I don’t regret my decision to become a trucker one bit. I love traveling to new places, as well as meeting new people and hearing their stories. That’s why when St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund asked me to provide a testimonial, I eagerly agreed. I hope that my story can travel far and wide in the trucking community and help others learn about this amazing organization.
It can be hard to lead a perfectly healthy life style when you’re constantly on the road, but as a type 2 diabetic, I am extra cautious when it comes to my diet and health. What landed me in the hospital and then out of work for almost three months was a freak incident. I had my gallbladder removed some time ago, but some blockage of the duct area caused me to have to return to the hospital to have it cleared up. A week later, I was in a lot of pain, but they didn’t know why. It took a few return visits before a blood culture revealed a serious blood infection eating away at my pelvic bone.
Catching the infection in time saved my life, but the surgery to scrape the bone and inject antibiotics internally took its toll on me. I had to remain on an IV for 45 days, so they could keep me on antibiotics. As a truck driver, you’re either on the road or you’re not making money and providing for your family. Luckily, I remembered an article I read in The Trucker about another driver who received help from a nonprofit for truckers as he was recovering from cancer. The tighter money got, the more I began to wonder if this nonprofit could help me, too. I asked my wife, Carrie, to bring a laptop to the hospital and help me find the name of the nonprofit. After some searching, we found it.
Carrie filled out the application for me, and we heard back from St. Christopher right away. We were immediately approved for financial assistance regarding our apartment rent and electricity and water bills. Their support helped us keep our apartment and stay off the streets while I was in the hospital, and I will forever be grateful.
I’m now back behind the wheel, and while I still experience a bit of pain in my hip, the doctor says it’s to be expected given the amount of muscle he cut. Things are different now – I spend a lot of time thinking about the future and making sure I’m prepared for the unexpected. Knowing there is an organization around to help truckers impacted by medical conditions is a blessing, and it’s why I’m telling every new soul I meet on the road about the wonderful people at St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund. I hope that when the time comes, they will remember my story.