Friday, June 3, 2016

Taylors considered ‘All-Pro truckers’

Bill and Robyn Taylor aren’t professional football players. However, that hasn’t stopped the truck driving couple from feeling as if they are All-Pros.

Bill and Robyn Taylor were honored with a Citizen Driver
Award ceremony on May 12 in Southington, Conn., which is
about 30 miles from their home.
The OOIDA members were honored with a 2016 Citizen Driver Award for their community involvement and leadership within the trucking industry. As part of the honor, the couple enjoyed a ceremony on May 12 to officially name the TA in Southington, Conn., the Bill & Robyn Taylor Travel Center.

“It was over the top to say the least,” Bill Taylor said. “I don’t think you can beat this. It’s like going to the Pro Bowl for truck drivers. It’s the top of the line.”

Bill Taylor is a dedicated military veteran and longtime truck driver. Bill and Robyn met in 1998, and not long afterward she decided to quit her office job to become a truck driver herself.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

From ‘Flood City’ to the top of the world

Persistence has paid off in a lot of ways for OOIDA Life Member Michael Zanella. It was persistence that got him through a seven-year stint in the United States Marine Corps, and it’s what’s kept him in trucking for 25 years.

OOIDA Life Member Michael Zanella reacts to seeing
his name displayed above the doors of the newly
rechristened Michael Eugene Zanella TA in
Hebron, Ohio.
It also took persistence on the part of those closest to him to continue nominating him for TA/Petro’s Citizen Driver Award, honoring him for his exemplary service in his professional life and to his community. After finishing as a finalist the past two years, the third time was definitely the charm.

“Growing up in a family of seven kids, we were taught to never quit,” he said in a phone interview with Land Line. “I think if you stay persistent at anything, you can succeed if it’s in your power. If you work hard enough at it, you can achieve your goals.”

Originally from Johnstown, Pa., better known as Flood City for a series of catastrophic floods that have plagued the town since the 1880s, Zanella now makes his home in Columbus, Ohio.

As a driver for Pizza Hut, he’s logged more than 2.67 million accident-free miles, and has an impressive set of safety awards, including honors from OOIDA, Road Safe America, and his company. He’s also been Pro Driver’s Driver of the Year 2005, Mid-State Systems’ Top Driver of 2003, and Midnight Trucking Radio Network’s 2003 National Award for 1 Million Miles. He serves as a spiritual advisor to two prison inmates, and volunteers for various Masonic and military veteran functions that support charitable causes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Litalien calls Citizen Driver ceremony ‘the best day of my life’

Days removed from the TA Petro Citizen Driver Award ceremony, OOIDA Life Member Denis Litalien was still soaking it all in.
OOIDA Life Member Denis Litalien was awarded a 2016
Citizen Driver Award during a ceremony on May 28 in
Greenland, N.H.

“This was really over the top,” Litalien said. “Saturday was probably the best day of my life.”

As part of the 2016 Citizen Driver Award, the name of the TA in Greenland, N.H., was formally changed to the Denis Litalien Travel Center on Saturday, May 28.

“I’m still coming off the high of the ceremony,” the 61-year-old from Biddeford, Maine, said. “TA did such a tremendous job. They pretty much threw a party for me and 80 of my friends. Hearing all the people say nice things about me, it felt like I was at my own funeral. It all made me blush a little bit. All the nice things people were saying, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good.”