Honorees
Bill Ater

Bill Ater Jr.

For 42 years, Bill Ater Jr. has been a wonderful asset and ambassador for the trucking industry. He is a compassionate, hard-working professional with contagious positivity. He has a heart for people in need, going out of his way to make sure they are fed, sheltered and safe. Bill is an active member of his church, and values God, family and work—in that order. He has been very involved with FEMA’s hurricane relief efforts. He’s responded in the aftermath of 12 hurricanes, bringing truck loads of supplies to devastated areas. After Hurricane Katrina, he took a displaced woman under his wing to feed her and help her find permanent housing. He then made it a point to visit her and check upon her for several years afterwards. After an Oklahoma hurricane, he took a week off from work to volunteer and help clean up.

Mary Bass

Mary "Candy" Bass

Mary “Candy” Bass has certainly made the most of her 41 years as a professional driver, creating a model for others in the industry to follow. From her countless volunteer activities to her willingness to help others, no matter the time or cost, she’s an inspiration to all who meet her. When she saw a documentary on wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she became determined to do something to help. She wanted to let them know that they had not been forgotten. She founded the “Hats for Heroes” charity, a program that would donate baseball caps to those who have had head injuries or burns. The caps allow these veterans to go outside, and also hide wounds or scars that might make them feel out of place.

Denis Litalien

Denis Litalien

Denis Litalien has been on the road for 44 years and is a well-known, hard-working professional who has touched the lives of many individuals. Leadership and community service go hand-in-hand for Denis. It comes naturally to him and people gravitate to his gentle, positive nature and his great ability to bring people together. He was awarded a Highway Angel Certificate from the Truckload Carriers Association for putting out a car fire on the highway in 1998, as well as Shaw’s Good Samaritan Award in 1996, recognizing his aid to motorists. He is also a 14-time State Champion in the New Hampshire and Maine State Truck Driving Championships, and a 7-time Top Five finisher at the National Truck Driving Championships.

Jon Osburn

Jon Osburn

In all that Jon “Doc” Osburn does and has done in nearly 3 decades in the trucking industry, he believes in putting others first. He’s never too busy to lend a hand and goes out of his way to help those in need. He is intent on promoting a positive image for professional truck drivers—which is why he currently represents OOIDA as the driver and spokesperson for their “Spirit of the American Trucker” tour truck. Jon encourages drivers to make their voices heard by voting and commenting on issues relating to the trucking industry. OOIDA has awarded him their Safe Driving Award for 28 safe years and 2.79 million safe miles. Jon has also been an active volunteer for the World’s Largest Truck Convoy For Special Olympics since 2004.

Bill and Robyn Taylor

Bill and Robyn Taylor

Bill Taylor is a decorated veteran who began his trucking career over 30 years ago while servicing the Army in Vietnam. When he and Robyn met years later, she decided the ever-changing view from a truck window was much more interesting than her desk job, and decided to join him. She got her license in 1999, and they hit the road together. They support their local schools, sharing both their truck and experiences with the students. For years, Bill and Robyn have been involved with the Trucker Buddy program, a pen-pal program matching drivers to classrooms of children in an effort to educate and mentor them. They are currently buddies with 18 classes in 3 different schools! They were named Trucker Buddies of the Month in June, 2002. Bill and Robyn continue to contribute to their country and community. They are active in helping veterans. And they are strong champions for owner/operators, often lobbying congress in regards to the laws effecting the trucking industry.

Bill Underwood

Bill Underwood

Bill Underwood, behind the wheel for 53 years, has driven an unheard-of 7.9 million accident-free miles. A man of great integrity, he is intent on doing things right. He helped a young girl that was stranded in Mississippi, this past summer. Concerned about her welfare, Bill drove her to a TA that was near her hometown. Working with the TA general manager, they called the local police to see if they could lend some assistance. The girl revealed she was actually a runaway, and just 14 years old. Thanks to Bill’s compassion and immediate response, she was saved from a situation that could have been very dangerous. Though Bill is confident in his accomplishments and self-worth, he is a humble man. He does not see his acts as anything extraordinary.

Michael Zanella

Michael Zanella

After 24 years on the road, Michael Zanella still has the look and presence of a consummate professional. He’s driven 2.67 million miles without a preventable accident, and has received many safety awards, including honors from Road Safe America, OOIDA, and Pizza Hut’s Driver Safety and Production Committee. He was Pro Driver’s Driver of the Year 2005, Mid-State Systems’ Top Driver of 2003, and Midnight Trucking Radio Network’s 2003 National Award for 1 Million Miles. He serves as spiritual advisor to two prison inmates through letters and visits, and volunteers for various Masonic functions and works with disabled veterans as-needed in the community.


Honorees
Rick Ash

Rick Ash

In his 27 years on the road, Richard Ash, from Lakewood, Colorado, has traveled 2.8 million accident-free miles. A strong believer in paying it forward, Rick helps out his elderly neighbors by shoveling snow and checking in on them during the winter. He also hands out Hershey’s Kisses to fuel attendants, toll booth operators, and others—a simple act of kindness that lets these folks know he appreciates them. He is a life member of OOIDA, chairman and founder of Trucking Solutions Group, an annual volunteer at Feed My Starving Children in Denver, and a member of Trucker Buddy International. Rick stands out as a highly-polished professional, assisting others to be the best they can be. He feels that everyone benefits when we support one another to move the entire trucking industry forward.

Gary Busch

Gary Buchs

Gary Buchs, from Colfax, Illinois, has been driving professionally for over 25 years. He has logged 2.25 million miles without an accident. He is a man of deep faith with a strong moral compass, and follows this in all he does. Gary is extremely attentive to his family. When his son was deployed to Afghanistan, Gary took a full year off from driving and moved from Illinois to Hawaii to become a full-time caregiver to his grandchildren. He is 9-time winner of the Landstar Star of Quality Award, as well as the recipient of a Platinum Star, awarded after he came upon a car accident, and stopped to help. He pried the car door open and pulled a woman out, saving her life.

Robert Fernald

Robert Fernald

Westbrook, Maine’s Robert Fernald has been behind the wheel for over 21 years and 2.5 million miles. A driver for Wal-Mart’s fleet, Rob is very committed to safety and has received multiple driving and safety awards in his career. He participates in the Maine State Truck Driving Championships, which has stringent safety requirements. Participants must remain accident, incident and violation free for the previous year to compete. Rob is a 4-time State Champion in multiple classes of competition. He supports many charities, including New England Truck Drivers’ Charity Challenge, Maine Trucking for Kids Charity, Special Olympics Convoy, Pull A Plane for Wounded Warriors and Wreaths Across America. He is also a former Trucker Buddy, speaking with school children via pen-pal, then visiting them with a truck at the end of the school year.

Sandy Long

Sandy Long

Sandy Long, from Marceline, Missouri has been driving professionally for 42 years—that’s 3 millions miles without an accident! This has earned her 3 different safety awards from 3 different fleets! You won’t meet anyone who is more responsible or more positive about her profession—and she still makes caring for her elderly mother a priority. Sandy is a Senior Life member of OOIDA. She is a staff writer for ExpediteNow/Road Gorilla magazines and Canadian Trucking Magazine, and has contributed articles to OOIDA’s Landline Magazine, as well as maintaining her own popular blog. She is a charter and active member of the Women in Trucking Association, and was an Influential Women of the Year nominee in 2013.

Michael Sheeds

Micheal Sheeds

Former Marine Micheal Sheeds is from Bandera Texas, and has driven over 3 million accident-free miles in 25 years. September 6 will mark Mike’s 24th year with Werner Enterprises. In that time he has received the President’s Safety Award and EVERY safe driver award Werner has to offer. Mike is a leader, a Christian, and allows this to guide his every action first and foremost. When he witnessed a car erupt into flames, Mike grabbed the fire extinguisher from his truck and put the fire out. He and several others worked to free all the passengers until paramedics arrived. He is active in his PTO, regularly gives blood, and donates books. He and his wife, Donna, have adopted four daughters through foster care. He has spent countless hours advocating for change and assistance for foster children, as well as volunteering with a post-adoption support group. He is also involved in the Trucker Buddy program.

honorees-2014
Jimmy Ardis

Jimmy Ardis

In his 36 years of safe driving, Jimmy Ardis has earned safety certificates from many trucking companies, as well as the OOIDA Award and a Goodyear Highway Hero finalist for pulling a fellow driver from a burning vehicle. He’s accomplished all this with just one arm after having cancer as a young boy. Jimmy started a Trucker Buddies club at a local school, mentors young adults, promotes American Cancer Society fund raisers, serves on the Literacy Board and helps with Chamber of Commerce events. He’s an Ambassador for Mobile Delvac, a regular guest on America’s Trucking Network, featured at truck industry shows and was a 2012 Real Life Trucking Hero finalist.

Charles Endorf

Charles Endorf

Charles Endorf has dedicated more than 40 years of service to Werner Enterprises, and is possibly the only driver to achieve 5 million safe miles with a single carrier. He’s known as “Mister Safety” with countless awards for production, on-time service and safety, including Werner’s first Million-Mile Driver. Charles helped develop Werner training videos for professional drivers, allowing others to benefit from his knowledge and insight. He contributes to numerous trucker radio shows and supports his community as a Fairbury City Council member, as a church leader and Sunday school teacher.

Shawn Hubbard

Shawn Hubbard

Former police officer Shawn Hubbard has been a professional driver for 14 years. He is a Senior Member of the Owner/Operator & Independent Driver Association and a trained instructor in the Ruan Transport Megasafe 7 safety program. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Victor Valley College where he serves as safety advisor on their Environmental, Health & Safety Committee. Shawn runs several Facebook groups to support families in need, ran on a team ticket for City Council, and volunteers at the Victor Valley Rescue Mission Warming Shelter for the homeless. In November 2009, Shawn stopped at a roadside accident where he saved a man trapped in a burning vehicle and was honored with the “Highway Angel of the Year” award.

Norman Knight

Norman Knight

Norman Knight has been a professional driver for 25 years without a single accident. When he’s not in his truck, Norm’s on his motorcycle, taking part in charity fundraisers for the Patriot Guards, the American Legion Riders and Warriors Watch to help families of fallen soldiers. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 15 years, earning a “Most Active Responder” award. Norm supports cancer research funding through charity events, including the Relay for Life and his own “Boating for a Cure.” He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and is proud to continue serving others through charity organizations.

Bob + Linda Caffee

Bob + Linda Caffee

Team drivers Bob and Linda Caffee are true ambassadors for the trucking industry, donating their time to St. Louis schools, Trucker Buddy International and the Saint Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. They are founding members of the Trucking Solutions Group and serve on the FedEx Custom Critical Contractor Council. Linda is a board member for Women in Trucking, Chair of the Trucking Solutions Group Health Council and developed drivers’ Health Walks and the Expediters Online fitness forum. Bob and Linda are both Team Run Smart Pros, providing business advice to other owner/operators, and Bob writes articles for Expedite Now. Bob and Linda have been featured guests on the Dave Nemo show and earned FedEx Accident-Free and 4-Star awards.

Jerry Fritts

Jerry Fritts

Over 46 years, Jerry Fritts has earned numerous safety awards, including the Landstar Roadstar Award. He is a member of the Landstar Roadstar Hall of Fame. He gives input on truck safety technology to companies like Eaton, has been a Field Safety Supervisor, a finalist for America’s Road Team and invited to Washington as an advisor by the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration. When a serious injury nearly ended his career, Jerry volunteered with the Red Cross while working on his recovery. He managed disaster shelter operations, served as Chairman of fleet management and maintenance and accepted an AmeriCorps Vista assignment. After rehab, Jerry formed his own trucking company and continues to be an active Red Cross volunteer.

Henry Albert

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is a founding member of the Trucking Solutions Group, on the Driver Health Council, has served on the National Association of Small Trucking Companies and the OOIDA Board of Directors. He was also Overdrive Magazine’s Owner/Operator of the Year in 2007. Henry is a Trucker Buddy and supports Make a Wish in the Mothers Day Convoy. He’s on driver support panels at Expedite Expo, acts as a mentor to other drivers, and shares his tips on getting 11 miles per gallon on the ”MPG Masters” Facebook page. With 30 years as a professional driver, Henry works with engineers to improve product safety as a Freightliner Team Run Smart Pro.

Citizen Driver Contest Abbreviated Rules

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Nominee must be an over-the-road professional truck driver who is currently employed and driving at the time of the nomination and a legal resident of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec) who is a registered member of the UltraONE® or UltraONE® Expediter Driver Rewards Club Programs. Nominations must be received by September 30, 2016. See Official Rules for details. Void in Quebec and where prohibited. Sponsored by TA Operating LLC, 24601 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, OH 44145-5639