Though no one in his family was a trucker before him, over-the-road driver Lonnie Bledsoe of Lafayette, IN felt a call to the profession from a young age.
Lonnie had always wanted to travel and see the country, and felt that back in the day, truckers made good money. At 21-years old, he made the decision to pursue a career in trucking. As the years have passed, Lonnie simply can’t say enough good things about his position.
Before moving to his current job at Foodliner, Lonnie drove for Con-way Freight, acting as an auctioneer on the side. When the company closed its doors, Lonnie took an early retirement and spent much of his time coon hunting with his friends and dogs. “My buddy and I, we hunted every night together [for] almost 90 nights straight. We killed 396 ‘coons,” Lonnie boasted.
But even though he enjoyed his hobby immensely, he recognized that he couldn’t make a living off of it. A couple of years later, a friend of Lonnie’s reached out to him to let him know about an opening at Foodliner.” He said it was the best job he’d ever had,” Lonnie explained. Lonnie put in an application, was hired immediately. Eight years later, he says he’s never been happier. “I know there are a thousand jobs out there. I’m thankful I’ve got this one,” he said.
One of Lonnie’s favorite parts of working for Foodliner is the relationship he shares with his dispatcher.
“I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it again,” Lonnie explained. “I feel that I have the best dispatcher in the world, bar none. Not everybody can tell you that.” After he was released from Foodliner’s training, the dispatcher was the first person Lonnie spoke to. The communication between the two has always been open and honest, and Lonnie says it’s one of the best parts about his job. “I just tell my dispatcher to run me, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
When asked about his favorite part of the country to drive through, Lonnie sighed and said he prefers to drive out west. “You know you get into Idaho, you get into Oregon, Wyoming. I guess the reason I say that is because you get to see bears and moose, big game animals.”
Lonnie, who has a daughter, 39, and a son, 32, admits that he and his family have gone through a lot to support his trucking career. “I’ve sacrificed my family, but I’m not crying about it. My wife’s okay with it — I’ve got forty years with her. The kids are okay with it, too,” Lonnie remarked. He feels fortunate to say that he is still close with both of his children. Although his son lives about sixty miles away from him, his daughter lives right around the corner.
Looking back, Lonnie said that he’s very happy with his job at Foodliner.
“I really don’t call this a job,” Lonnie said. “I absolutely love it.”
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