Monday, May 11, 2015

Trucking needs more people like Sandy Long

Sandy Long’s accomplishments and accolades are as vast and diverse as the trucking career she has embraced for more than 42 years. She’s seen a lot of just about everything out there.

Sandy has logged more than 3 million safe miles and has been a mentor to many other drivers over the years. She is a prolific and thoughtful writer, a social media moderator, a senior life member of OOIDA and a charter member of Women In Trucking.
OOIDA Senior Life Member Sandy Long
shares some wisdom and gratitude
during a ceremony that named a TA travel
center as the "Sandy Long Travel Center
Oak Grove, Mo." Photo by Sandi Soendker,
Land Line Magazine

And now, she has a TA travel center named after her.

Friends and family were on hand on Monday, May 11, to cheer Sandy on during the official renaming of the “Sandy Long Travel Center” in Oak Grove, Mo.

Sandy was as cool as a cucumber on this day, accepting of the award but also turning her appreciation outward to others she has looked up to – her mother and three brothers including her late brother, Tom, who was her trucking mentor and will always be her hero.

Sandy was named one of five Citizen Drivers by TravelCenters of America during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., back in March. Part of that award, which recognizes integrity and leadership in the profession, included having a TA travel center or Petro Stopping Center renamed in their honor. Sandy got to pick the TA, and she chose Oak Grove “because the food is good, the coffee is hot, and they have a Popeye’s!”

Anyone who knows Sandy or who has interacted with her online via various trucking forums and social media pages knows that in addition to being wise about the issues and caring about others, she also has lightning quick wit and a knack for putting others at ease.

The "Sandy Long Travel Center Oak Grove, Mo.," is located
at Exit 28 on Interstate 70
When asked to give a few remarks, she told TA’s Peter Ward that he may have made a mistake by letting a truck driver have the microphone and an audience. It had its intended effect and drew a good laugh.

In all honesty, giving Sandy a microphone and an audience is never a mistake. In fact, we need more people like Sandy Long to grab up the reins, to stand up to the issues, to share her knowledge and experiences and shatter any preconceived notions that people have about trucking or truck drivers.

It’s highly likely that Sandy is already teaching and inspiring future trucking ambassadors and Citizen Drivers. “It’s an old concept but a good one if you ask me,” she said about mentoring.

There were some nice tributes to Sandy, the Citizen Drivers and Women In Trucking. They came in remarks from TA’s Peter Ward, from Women In Trucking President Ellen Voie, and city officials from Sandy’s hometown of Marceline, Mo. They also came in song form by Lindsay Lawler, a very talented Nashville singer who is currently out on a truck stop tour.

With Sandy being a Missouri resident – and since Oak Grove is just down the road from OOIDA headquarters – we were glad to be there to show our support.

Click here and here to learn more about the Citizen Driver Award recipients. They’re an impressive group. Four out of the five recipients this year are also OOIDA members.