Friday, April 1, 2016

What are the odds?

You don't get to be named one of TA Petro's "Citizen Driver" award winners unless you've had a profound impact on the people around. Heck, it's pretty much a requirement to even be nominated. But two of the 2016 award winners  OOIDA Life Member Mary "Candy" Bass and OOIDA Senior Member Jon Osburn (yes, THE Jon Osburn, Skipper of the Spirit Tour Truck) – share a connection that's incredible.

Candy, "Grandma Candy" to nearly everyone she meets and a 40-year trucking veteran, was the victim of a horrific highway crash in New Mexico back in April 1987. Life flight paramedics were called in. The lead paramedic on the flight? None other than Jon "Doc" Osburn.

Thanks in no small part to Osburn's efforts, Candy survived and was able not only to continue trucking, but to continue being a positive influence and role model for her community.

The pair have known each other for years, but only recently figured out the role they played in each other's lives. Today, they shared the stage together, each being honored for their dedication to their profession and their community. Check out the video:

The Citizen Driver program recognizes professional drivers who help bring respect to the truck driving profession. TA Petro said they received 104 nominations this year, a list that was painstakingly whittled down to 15 finalists, and ultimately seven winners. The winners get to pick their favorite TA or Petro truck stop to be renamed in their honor.

The winners and the location of their truck stops are:

  • OOIDA Senior Member Jon Osburn, -- J.D. 'Doc' Osburn Travel Center, Boise, Idaho
  • OOIDA Member Bill Underwood -- Bill Underwood Travel Center, Greenwood, La.
  • OOIDA Life Member Michael Zanella -- Michael Eugene Zanella Travel Center, Hebron, Ohio
  • OOIDA Life Member Bill Ater, Jr. -- Bill Ater Jr., Petro Stopping Center, Carl's Corner, Texas
  • OOIDA Life Member Mary "Candy" Bass -- Candy Bass Travel Center, Nashville, Tenn.
  • OOIDA Member Denis Litalien -- Denis Litalien Travel Center, Greenland, N.H.
  • OOIDA Life Member Bill and Robyn Taylor -- Bill and Robyn Taylor Travel Center, Southington, Conn.

This group of honorees brings the total number of TA or Petro Stopping Centers renamed in honor of drivers to 19.

The 2017 Citizen Driver Award nomination process is open right now. Nominees from previous years are encouraged to reapply. More information is available here.