Roses & Razzberries
Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, "Land Line Now" senior correspondent

ROSES to Love's Travel Stops for their efforts in raising $2.15 million for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. The stores ran a five-week campaign this fall that consisted of bake sales, golf tournaments, cookouts, 5k runs, rummage sales and a number of other events across more than 350 stores and 40 states.

They sold Miracle Balloons for the cause and everyone - including staff and family members of employees - worked together to beat this year's goal of $2.1 million. To date, the chain has raised more than $14 million for Children's Miracle Network since 1998. So thanks, Love's, for more than living up to your name.

ROSES to the judges who helped see that a pair of RAZZBERRY-worthy trucking execs got their just desserts. Doug Pielsticker, former CEO and all-around slimeball for Arrow Trucking was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. His partner in crime, former chief financial officer Jonathan Moore, got 35 months but only because he pleaded guilty and testified against Pielsticker.

In case you've forgotten, these two ran Arrow Trucking into the ground, forcing the company to shut its doors three days before Christmas in 2009, leaving hundreds of truck drivers stranded with bad fuel cards and no way to get home. The pair siphoned millions from the company and spent it on things like Bentley cars, private jets and Pielsticker's own wedding.

Pielsticker's lawyer tried to get him house arrest instead of jail time because of a heart condition but the judge didn't go for it. He, like us, must have realized Pielsticker would first have to have a heart.

ROSES to Women in Trucking for reaching out to a longtime opponent of the trucking industry and - if not making an outright convert out of him, at least getting him to see that maybe truckers aren't so bad after all.

Ron Wood's mother, sister and three nephews were killed in a crash involving a semi in 2004. A fatigued driver crossed the median and hit the SUV they were in head on. Since that time, he has become active in the Truck Safety Coalition and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and has continued to see trucks as bad news.

That changed when he met Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking as they both served on the Entry Level Driver Training Advisory Committee. She invited him to go on a ride-along and, after some initial hesitation, he accepted. He rode along with Carol Nixon, a driver with Wal-Mart for 25 years. Though he spent only two hours in the truck, Wood said it was "an unexpected, important step" in his healing process. He also said he was impressed with the safety measures used by Wal-Mart's fleet and would like them to be standard on all trucks across the U.S.

Like we said, not a convert, but at least a step in a positive direction.

ROSES to the family and friends of OOIDA Life Member Keith Lage of Gibson City, Ill. Keith, who was also an Army vet of the Vietnam War, sadly passed away in September, and his family wanted to do something to honor his legacy. Naturally, they thought of our own Truckers for Troops program.

Keith's daughters, Darcy and Janna, initially called in with a $500 donation to get an early start on this year's effort. That was matched later that same day by Cardinal Transport, the trucking company Keith was leased to for much of his trucking career.

Since that day in September, donations have ballooned to more than $2,800 and that was before the telethon even got going. So thank you to Keith's friends, family and co-workers for honoring the memory of a good man and helping out even more good men and women.

RAZZBERRIES to Dr. Gerald Surya, a doctor in New York who was charged earlier this year with falsely certifying medical exams and got himself decertified from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

He worked out of an office at JFK Airport in Queens, N.Y., and was certified to conduct DOT exams himself. However, he didn't do any, instead letting staff members who were not certified do the work. It's difficult enough for truckers to find real certified docs to do their exams without clowns like this making things worse.