Experiencing life as a trucker

For most people who haven’t ever driven a big rig, pulling the cord to sound those big horns is something you always dream about being able to do. Today, the consumers and staff of the Cache Employment and Training Center had the opportunity to do just that.As part of the Wal-Mart Heart program, semi-truck drivers Mike Stika, Tim James and Roger Hunt pulled two 53-foot long dry van trailers and one 53-foot refrigerated truck into the CETC parking lot this afternoon to share what truck drivers do and allow the developmentally disabled to get a chance to climb into the cab and experience what it’s like to be a truck driver.”We typically visit critically ill children and take their minds off of some of the pressures they’re having,” Stika said, in explaining the program. The Wal-Mart Heart program was started by Wal-Mart truck drivers to lift the spirits of children or adults with chronic medical conditions or special needs around the country.The Cache Employment and Training Center, located at 275 West 400 South in Logan, provides services for individuals with developmental, mental or physical disabilities to help them learn job and life skills. Kae Lynn Beecher, Executive Director for the center, says her staff combined their two centers for today’s event and had nearly 150 people on hand.”They’ve been great with them today,” Beecher exclaimed about the truckers, “helping them in and out (of the trucks), letting them talk on the radio, honk the horn.”Beecher says the center was contacted about the program approximately a month ago by the truckers after they had recently done a similar event in Idaho Falls, Idaho.”It’s exciting for the clients and different than what they normally do,” says Stika. “We tailor the program to the recipient because each person’s needs are different.”Beecher says today’s event will certainly stand out for her consumers. “It’s something new and exciting for them. They enjoy interacting with their peers, but they really enjoy interacting with others and being involved.”Stika, a truck driver for the last 15 years, has been volunteering with the Wal-Mart Heart program for the last three years. It is a completely voluntary program, he explained, but drivers do have to meet strict criteria in order to participate. Drivers try to hold one of these events at least once a quarter.After letting the CETC clients experience the trucks, the drivers went inside to tour the facility and answer any questions people might have about the life of a truck driver.”We love it,” Stika said. “It’s our favorite thing.”

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