Monday, June 13, 2016

Bill Ater Jr. ‘shares’ award with late father

OOIDA Life Member Bill Ater Jr. says his Citizen Driver Award ceremony on Saturday, June 11 in Carl’s Corner, Texas, was almost perfect.

Bill Ater Jr. and Kathi Ater pose in front of
the Bill Ater Jr. Stopping Center on June 11
in Carl's Corner, Texas. (Submitted photo)
The only thing that could have made it better was if Bill Ater Sr., who also made a career as a truck driver, could have been there to see the Petro in Carl’s Corner officially renamed the Bill Ater Jr. Stopping Center.

“My only regret I have is that my dad died four years ago,” he said. “I knew dad was proud of me, but I would have loved him to see our name on the truck stop. If dad was still alive, I would have left the Jr. off, so that he could share.”

Ater, a resident of Arlington, Texas, used his time to speak at the ceremony to honor his dad, who was still trucking at age 85.

“I thanked my dad for raising me right,” he said.

Ater said his father’s influence helped him decide what he wanted to do for a career when he was a teenager.

Bill Ater Jr. was joined by several family
members and friends at the Citizen Driver
Award ceremony on June 11. (Submitted photo)
“I didn’t have good grades in school,” he said. “I already knew what I was going to do. Actually the day after we got let out as seniors even before the graduation ceremony, I was delivering a load of gravel to my government teacher’s house. I knew what I was going to do. I was going into the trucking business.”

Ater has been a truck driver for more than 40 years. Ater earned the Citizen Driver Award for being an ambassador of the trucking industry and for his work during natural disasters. Ater has delivered supplies to devastated areas hit by storms, including Hurricane Katrina and tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Again, Ater credits his parents for teaching him to help others in need.

“It’s just helping people,” Ater said. “You’re just supposed to help people. My dad always helped people. You see a need. You fill a need.”

In addition to the Citizen Driver Award, Ater achieved Landstar’s Million Miler award this year and will be one of 10 to receive Landstar’s Roadstar award at a July ceremony in Orlando, Fla.

“My dad and I used to always say that if you do something you love, then you never have to work a day in your life. I just love my job.”