Post Date - Jan 28, 2022
Our January Driver Spotlight, Rob H. works in the Indianapolis OTR division at Venture. The operations team often has Rob running loads around the Indianapolis area, and he pitches in wherever he’s needed. A veteran truck driver, Rob’s 79 years of life experience include more than 60 years behind the wheel. Along the way, he also fought with the Marine Corps in Vietnam. With a talent for understatement, Rob says, there’s just “nothing like the MC.”
Rob’s uncle, John, owned his own fleet of trucks and drove all over Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Rob got to ride along with his uncle and spend time on the road, starting when Rob was around 13 or 14. Uncle John had some advice called “The Three C’s” that make a good truck driver. It’s mostly a matter of how you approach the job and each day on the road:
– Common Sense
Uncle John was clean-shaven and even polished his belt buckle. As Rob explains, “Back in the 1950’s truck drivers dressed as professional as you would in an office.” Rob still holds himself to that same standard, like the old-timers who always tucked in their shirts and made an effort to look professional, whether meeting a customer or driving all day. Of course, some jobs and some situations make it pretty easy to get dirty.
The Vietnam War had some challenges for the young gentleman who prided himself on being tidy and clean-cut like Uncle John. A starched uniform and freshly polished shoes weren’t likely to stay that way for long. Rob can still remember one occasion when he tripped over the bar on a Huey helicopter, sprawling face-first into the rice paddy field. Since the mud was a couple of feet deep, it took Rob a couple of days to clean the mud out of his locked and loaded M14. The other men nearby were “laughing so hard they were in stitches.”
Baby Tootsie Rolls are Rob’s favorite snack, a candy with an interesting history in the Marine Corps. During the Korean War, a division of Marines in the Chosin mountain reservoir requested a resupply of mortar ammunition (code name “tootsie rolls”). When the air-lifted supplies came parachuting down, the Marines found pallets of candy instead of ammunition.
Rob mustered out in 1973, and it wasn’t too long before he met the woman he would marry. Joyce and Rob have been together 37 years and counting. Over the decades, Rob has worked for one trucking company after another, earning his way to retirement a few times over. He has tried to retire but retirement just doesn’t seem to “stick.” Twice, he began his retirement and then started a new job within 2 or 3 days. He likes to be in the truck and to keep moving, a feeling that resonates with a lot of other veteran truck drivers.
When asked for a piece of advice for other drivers, Rob said, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” That certainly sounds good to us. We all consider it a privilege to work with veteran truck drivers like Rob, which is why he’s our January Driver Spotlight at Venture Transport. Thank you for your service, both as a Marine Corps veteran and a truck driver!