Trio of OOIDA life members named 2019 Citizen Driver honorees

May 2019

Greg Grisolano

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The TA & Petro Citizen Driver award is TravelCenters of America’s way of recognizing the hard work, safety and commitment of professional truckers.

“Their impact on American life is largely unknown and underappreciated,” said Rodney Bresnahan, executive vice president of retail operations for TravelCenters of America, operators of TA and Petro travel centers, and master of ceremonies for this year’s awards banquet on March 29 at the Mid-America Trucking Show. “These drivers dedicate their lives to their careers. Their sacrifice and commitment … allows Americans to live comfortably.”

Steen Gronlund, an OOIDA life member from Longmont, Colo., and Kenn and Beth Zelten, a husband-wife team and OOIDA life members from Menominee, Mich., were selected as the 2019 Citizen Driver honorees.

Gronlund, who works for Mile Hi Foods in Colorado, has been driving for 49 years and has accumulated more than 5 million accident-free miles. The Zeltens, who work for Landstar, have been driving team together for 30 years and have more than 1.9 million accident-free miles.

The field of 10 finalists boasted 388 years of combined trucking experience and more than 36 million accident-free miles. Todd Spencer, OOIDA president and CEO, is one of the seven-member panel of industry professionals who helps determine the winners.

The program launched in 2013 to honor hardworking, professional truckers. The award places a premium on being positive role models within their communities. Now in its sixth year, the Citizen Driver program seeks to exemplify the good in the trucking industry by honoring drivers with exemplary records of safety, leadership and public service.

Honorees get the TA or Petro of their choice renamed in their honor, complete with a full unveiling ceremony and celebration for their families and friends. A plaque recounting their stories and service is displayed in each facility.

Gronlund has chosen the Petro in Laramie, Wyo., while the Zeltens have chosen the TA Chicago North for their site.

The three-member class of 2019 brings the total number of honorees to 34. Nominations for the 2020 Citizen Driver awards are expected to begin in June. LL

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.