Saturday, October 19, 2013

'I'm still alive'

The old Pearl Jam song could be the official song of a number of truckers who've survived an injury or illness and benefited from a not-for-profit organization known as TransAlive USA.

OOIDA Member David Gilland and TransAlive USA's
President and founder Bob Hataway
OOIDA Member David Gilland had a stroke a couple of years ago and found himself far from home and unable to get home. 

“No one but my family really knew where I was, but you know how it is in trucking. They tracked me down,” he told me today. David, aka “Bullwinkle,” got a call in his hospital bed from Lance Wood, a friend (and OOIDA member).

“After a stroke, you can’t just get back behind the wheel, or even take a plane,” says David. “You’ve got to have a way home that is specially equipped.”

The next thing he knew, he was hooked up with Bob Hataway and TransAlive USA’s AmCoach and headed home.

Bob and his wife Carol started the national ministry in 1984 to help injured or sick truckers get home. The effort has been such as success, it’s earned itself some great operational sponsors. Fuel, for example, is provided by Pilot Travel Centers, lube services by Speedco, and tires from Bridgestone Bandag. J.B. Hunt, Great Dane and Alcoa provide operational financial services.
TransAlive USA is here at the Heart of America Trucking Show at the Kansas Speedway. And I got a chance today to visit with Bob, who is at the truck show promoting TransAlive’s new deal. It is partnering with Air Ambulance Card from Birmingham, Ala., to provide air service for critical medical issues with drivers.

I was curious about the program so I checked out some quick facts. The Air Ambulance Program transports drivers from medical facilities by ground ambulance to local airports. Drivers are loaded on aircraft and flown to their destination in a matter of hours as opposed to days with the AmCoach. They are taken to the nearest destination airport and transported by ground ambulance to a medical facility of their choice. Medical staff, as needed, accompany the driver, and family members are allowed to travel as well. All services are free to members of Air Ambulance Card.

What about the trusty AmCoach? Bob says the AmCoach service will still be available as before; however, it will be replaced with the air service over the next two years.

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