Have you ever wondered how you can give back to the industry and honor a valued member of our large trucking family at the same time? We have the answer for you!
Jim Johnston believed in the mission of St. Christopher Fund and was an avid supporter since its inception. In 1973, Jim with the help of others, formed Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, OOIDA. Jim was elected president of OOIDA in 1974. This was a title he held up until his passing. After Mr. Johnston’s passing, Dr. John McElligott and Dr. Donna Kennedy were discussing ways to honor his legacy of helping drivers during a medical crisis. Hence, ‘Jim’s Day’ was created. People could honor Jim on his birthday by offering a memorial in his name. All donations will go directly to SCF and will be used to help “Save Lives & Families, One Driver At A Time’.
We, at St. Christopher Fund, are privileged to be allowed to carry on Jim’s legacy of generosity. He was known in the trucking world as having an unrelenting commitment to small business truckers. It was his passion.
All donations are tax deductible. You can make your donation in honor of Jim Johnston by clicking Here.
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.
Things like eating healthy, finding time and space for exercise (not to mention quality instruction), back pain, hip pain, neck, shoulder and wrist pain. Sleep issues, focus and concentration challenges and on top of that, fatigue.
Ask anyone who lives on the road and they will tell you taking 60, even 30 minutes out to exercise, let alone figure out where to exercise, is easier said than done. Now add in your living space and workout space being the cab of your truck, and you got yourself a real fitness dilemma.
So many drivers feel they are just spinning their wheels, with real pains from long-term sitting, sitting that you cannot just get up every 15 minutes from and stretch, walk around, and “move around”. Leaving them with chronic back pain, hip pain, and shoulder issues, are just the tip of the ice berg.
So, what’s a tucker to do?
Here are 3 NEED TO KNOW yoga stretches every trucker (or over the road traveler) needs to be doing every single day. Because what if one move could make all the difference?
Road Rage Wrist Stretches:Death gripping the steering wheel is a truck drivers computer mouse. Combat wrist, forearm and elbow pain with a quick traffic jam wrist revival. Try to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds or until the tension dissipates. (TIP: work to keep the fold of the elbow facing upward when stretching the wrist).
Twist It Out Back Pain Revitalization: Our spines are made to twist more than shout, combat chronic back pain with a few more twists added into your long haul. While driving we tend to do more rotation to the left due to lane changes, so try to be conscious of supplementing that movement with a twist the other way. When twisting focus in where your body doesn’t twist and try to rotate there. Don’t force the body, but rather ease into the twist like going up in an elevator bottom to top of the spine. Remember to show your spine some love every moment you can get.
Hip Helpers-Sciatica Soother:After a long day in the drivers’ seat and that pesky hip pain still angry, find some space to sit (with room in front of you) and cross one ankle over the opposite knee, flex the foot and with a long spine work to hinge forward. Just go as far as you feel a good stretch on the outer hip of the crossed leg and lower back. Hold this stretch until the sensation settles.
When your home is the road and your tiny house on wheels goes wherever you go, getting to class, quickly goes out the window. And considering the average age of a trucker is 55, and most in trucking struggle with bad backs and knees leaves things like running around the truck, push-ups, and high intensity training around the truck, virtually impossible and unrealistic.
I believe that one stretch, or one pose is yoga. And when you focus on the little things, they eventually turn into big results.
And when the moves you choose to add into your day, are packed with purpose. You now can begin to restore the body. That means you, the trucker, gets to keep doing what you love… Driving truck…Except now…with a lot less pain.
A question that a few years ago could have been more easily answered. But in todays modern western world one that is a bit more complicated to answer.
Many equate yoga to stretching, or even impossible poses followed by sitting still and meditating (what is that exactly?).
And for some, that is true. But yoga really is way more than physically stretching or mastering the impossible pose. It’s about stretching ones’ self beyond their current situation and striving to master the quest to get to know ones’ self.
In a world that thrives on compartmentalizing everything from school children to medical care, from diets to fitness, yoga is all encompassing. And that may be the very reason why many struggle to understand it, or choose to extract only parts from such a well rounded practice.
So,what is yoga really?
I often explain it to my students that yoga is a lifestyle, a way to approach life and everything in it. And the part of yoga we are most familiar with is only ONE aspect of such a huge life application. Which is why I believe many thrive to pick it apart and twist it around.
Asana (pronounced ah-sa-na), better known as poses, are the physical exercises performed on the rectangular thing called a yoga mat. Extract asana from yoga and you have physical fitness. Which in today’s western world is what many equate to yoga.
I believe that how you practice yoga is a mini incubator for how you live your every day life.
Timid, forceful, aggressive, unsure, rough, questioning, full of comparison, anxiety, fear, joy, happiness, confusion. These feelings and then some are the exact feelings, emotions and attitudes you are experiencing in your every day life. The only difference is now you are in a controlled setting with no where to run, unable to talk back, no cell phone to distract you, and you are now asked to sit with your feelings and…feel.
Yoga for me personally was a tool to help me overcome a life strangling eating disorder and develop tools to manage and overcome very high levels of anxiety.
So, what is yoga to a trucker?
Yoga can be that missing tool to help you improve that aching back or painful sciatica or plantar fasciitis. Or aid in a better night’s sleep, manage stress, improve breathing, step away from addictive patterns. Yoga can help balance out a change in diet and my favorite…help you start to live a more mindful centered life.
When the road is your home yoga can become that constant for you. Those few moments in your day where you feel centered, calm and relaxed. And because yoga can be done anytime, anywhere, yoga is perfect for a road warrior.
Still not sure?
Here are a few more amazing benefits to what yoga can offer you.
Strengthens muscles, conditioning us from arthritis and back pain
Realigns the spine & help to distribute weight evenly
Moves all 300 joints
Helps to keep your spinal disks supple giving them the nutrients they need.
Natural weight-bearing exercise, increasing bone density
Gets your blood flowing, getting more O2 to your cells and helps boost hemoglobin & red blood cells.
Increases the drainage of lymph, helping to destroy & fight cancerous cells
Gets your heart rate up lowering the risk of heart disease
Gets you breathing
Lowers blood pressure
Lowers cortisol levels, helping with long term memory, also fighting depression
Helps to burn calories
Gets you to become more conscious of your being: eating, social, presence
Improves coordination, reaction time, memory and even IQ
Helps you to relax, shifting from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system
Increases body awareness
Reduces chronic tension, muscle fatigue, soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck & face.
Yoga becomes a way to cope with the business of life
Improve immune function
Helps to expand lung function and breathing capacity above the normal 18%
Yoga & and meditation help to build awareness
Helps to reduce anger and replaces it with compassion
Builds good karma-Karma Yoga, service to others
Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga, best-selling author, speaker, and lifelong yogi. Hope believes everyone deserves to “feel better, wherever” from yogis to truckers. Hope has helped change thousands of lives of the past 15 years, going beyond her experience in the fitness and wellness industry. Hope’s mission is to Help Others Purposefully Excel on and off the mat, in and out of the truck.
Mother Trucker Yoga Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/MotherTruckerYoga/]
Mother Trucker Yoga [www.mothertruckeryoga.com]
This may be the first time you have ever heard the term, Rhabdo. You may be asking yourself, “What is it? Can I get it? Is it contagious?” In this article, written for Landline, Dr. John McElligott tells us all about “Rhabdo”. Take a few minutes and get your questions answered! Read it HERE!
Progressive Insurance’s Keys To Progress program has been giving personal vehicles to deserving veterans for several years as a way to show their appreciation for their service. This year, Progressive Commercial wanted to expand the program and give a truck tractor to a truck driving veteran. Progressive Commercial reached out to St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund to help find the perfect candidate and to source additional donations.
That perfect candidate was James Rogers. James served eleven years in the Army. After suffering a spinal injury, James was medically discharged in 2014 and spent 2 years recovering from physical and emotional injuries. James spent some time behind the wheel of a truck prior to his service in the Army and found that returning to trucking was therapeutic for him. He immediately began to “pay it forward” by training a veteran buddy to be a driver as well. James is a great example of how the trucking industry can benefit from hiring our veterans.
On April 7th of this year, James’ dream of becoming an Owner/Operator became a reality. James’ family, friends, co-workers and others celebrated at Select Trucks in Houston, Texas as he received his full updated 2015 Freightliner truck.
“It’s going to allow me to accomplish my dreams of being a small business owner and financial independence. It’s also going to set it up for generations to come for my family, but the biggest thing is it’s going to allow me to do the other part of that dream, which is to help others,” Rogers said about receiving the truck. Now that he has his own authority he wants to build his business and employ other veterans. “Now I have the ability to possibly change somebody else’s life. I don’t look at this as just about me. I look at it as this is something that is going to continue to give as long as I’m alive. This has just been a blessing that I don’t want to keep to myself,” Rogers said.
Shannon Currier, Director of Philanthropy and Development, was in attendance, along with representatives from Progressive. Currier states, “I am so honored to be a part of this special time in James’ life and to call him my friend.”
It has been an honor to work alongside Progressive Commercial to make this dream come true for James.
And thank you to our sponsors for these additional donations:
TravelCenters of America – UltraOne Platinum Status for 1 year – first gas fill up – Rand McNally GPS & ELD product donations
Blue Tiger USA – Blue Tiger Elite Premium Headset/Blue – Black Box Dual Camera by Blue Tiger – The Hook, Blue Tiger Dash Mount, Microphone Covers x3, Bluetooth Mini Speaker/SoundPOD – Blue Tiger USA hat in Camo
Truckers provide a very important service to all of us. If you’ve got it, a trucker brought it, as they say. This extremely important career often sets the stage for relationship problems, depression, stress, and physical health problems. Lack of vacations, being away from friends and family for weeks on end, getting little respect, isolation…the list goes on—these are a few of the reasons trucking has become a very difficult career for many.
Although there are many challenges in the life of the trucker, the career can be quite rewarding. That is why it is very important to focus on what is going right in one’s life. The more a trucker dwells on the negatives, the worse life becomes. One of the major hazards of the job is having too much time to think. How many people have a career where they spend hours alone? To top it all off, many truckers listen to talk radio (which is often quite negative), the frequent gloom and doom CB chatter and the limitless drama of social media.
Relationships are often the biggest source of stress for the trucker. It is important to realize that since many truckers are away from home for weeks at a time, they are automatically having long-distance relationships. Given that relationships are hard enough as it is, distance only adds to the complexity. As a result, there are more miscommunications, heartaches, and arguments. Make it a priority of call your loved ones on a regular basis. Remember, texting is often good, but an old-fashioned phone call is more personal and less likely to result in miscommunication.
Physical health is often another challenge for the trucker. The mind and body are truly connected. Believe it or not, when you feel better physically, your ability to handle stress and other emotions will greatly improve. Many argue that it is impossible to eat a healthy diet when on the road. However, there are many healthy choices that can be made when it comes to meals (eating chicken instead of hamburgers and skipping the fries). If you feel that you do not have time to get exercise, keep a few weights in your truck or do some pushups or sit-ups. You can even make a few laps around your truck when parked for the night.
Remember, being proactive is the key to keeping in good spirits. Working to increase communication with your loved ones, keeping your mind occupied, remembering that the better you eat, the better you will feel, and getting some exercise are all ways to help keep you on the right track while on the road. The more you focus on improving your mental and physical health, the better your home and work life will be.
Stress and Anger reducers:
Keeping a log of what is going well in your life and want needs work Keeping in contact with friends and family
If you allow others to make you stressed, you are allowing them to control you. Do you really want others pulling your strings? Look at stress as a test. Do you want to fail that test by getting stressed out? The only person responsible for your stress is you. Stress is energy. Are you going to use this energy for something productive or destructive?
When faced with a stressful situation, ask:
Will it matter tomorrow?
Next week? Next Month?
About Buck Black
I am a licensed therapist (LCSW, LCAC) who focuses on anger, stress, and relationships with truckers and their families over the phone and on video conference at www.TruckerTherapy.com.
March is National Nutrition Month. What’s the big deal? Why would there be a month dedicated to this? Nutrition equals health. We all want to be healthy, and we all want quality of life.
In my early years, I never knew that there was a way to eat right. I thought any “food” was, well, food. Then, as a young adult, I learned about “healthy” food and back then it was all about “fat free.” I thought that I was eating right. I made homemade meals and didn’t eat out every day. I even made sure that I ate a good breakfast at home before work. So, in my early twenties, why did I feel sluggish, have four different health problems and carry extra weight? I was young and supposed to be in the prime of life. Health, education and life has happened to me since then, and it has been a very eye-opening journey that has taught me what nutrition is all about.
Your body is designed to run on fuel just as your vehicle is. Think about your truck and the way it was designed. You know that it takes one certain kind of fuel to make it run efficiently or to run at all. If you don’t give it that certain fuel, it is not going anywhere and it might even become damaged. We work the same way, just a lot more complicated. Your body needs certain natural nutrients to run on. The more of these nutrients you have, the better your body will run. When you don’t receive these essential nutrients, your body can’t function as it was designed to.
Unless you are in a health crisis, your nutrition should be coming from your food. There are some cases in which supplements are necessary, and I am grateful for them. Getting the nutrients that we need from food is a simple concept, yet it is a challenge for many. These nutrients that are essential to our health and well being appear in all natural foods. Every natural food has some kind of benefit and some much more than others. Here is a tip: Do an Internet search and check out the ANDI scores (aggregate nutrient density index) of the food you buy in the produce section of the store. This might give you insight into which foods have more nutrients than others. For example, kale is at the top of the chart at 1000 and carrots are 458. Here is a handy link to the chart. https://www.drfuhrman.com/content-image.ashx?id=73gjzcgyvqi9qywfg7055r Processed foods, on the other hand, have been stripped of nutrients and are usually full of synthetic and harmful additives.
I encourage you to educate yourself and really know what you are eating. Eat for health. Quality of life is worth it. You are worth it! Blessings on your journey to health.
Article by contributing author, Carolyn Obyrne.
Carolyn O’Byrne, CHT, author of Gut Instinct, is a colon hydro-therapist, life coach and wife of a truck driver. In the heart of the trucking industry, she directs her passion and knowledge towards drivers and their families by life coaching. https://www.lifecoachservice.net/home.html