Citizen Driver Steen Gronlund honored with ceremony, puppy

May 31, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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When it comes to experience as a truck driver, OOIDA life member Steen Gronlund is in an elite class.

Gronlund, 73, has been a trucker for 49 years and possesses 5.43 million miles in his career. Even better, he’s done so without one crash.

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, young Steen immigrated with his family to Canada at the age of 9 and moved to the United States in 1968. He now resides in Longmont, Colo.

In recognition for his distinguished career as he was named to the 2019 class of TA & Petro Citizen Driver award honorees. As part of the award, the Laramie, Wyo., Petro off Interstate 80 was dedicated to Gronlund. About 50 people attended the ceremony on Saturday, May 25 at the truck stop in Laramie.

“We had an awesome day,” Gronlund said. “I’m flabbergasted and overwhelmed.”

A plaque and photo with descriptions of Gronlund’s career were unveiled at the ceremony. His family members also presented him with a new puppy named Daisy.

“We had to put down our golden retriever. It was the best dog,” he said. “But now I got a new puppy. They brought me a golden retriever from a breeder in Chicago. It rode first class on the plane.”

The Gronlunds were also treated to a prime rib dinner and music from Nashville recording artist Lindsay Lawler.

“I asked her to sing ‘18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses,’” he said. “My wife (Linda) used to work in a flower shop, so I thought that was pretty fitting.”

Gronlund hauls for Mile Hi Specialty Foods out of Denver. He’s been named the driver of the month in Colorado four times and received the Colorado Driver of the Year award by the Colorado Motor Carriers Association in 2007.

He credits his exemplary driving record to patience, professionalism and luck.

“A lot of it is luck, but you learn patience,” he said. “You just have to look at the big picture down the road and let everything else go. Don’t let things bother you. I’ve always been big on safety.

“You have to remember that you are a professional. You act like a professional. You dress like a professional, and you have a positive attitude.”

As part of a February 2016 feature in Land Line Magazine, Gronlund said that he loved truck driving and had no plans to retire.

“Most people work to live. I live to work,” he told Land Line in 2016.

A few years later, Gronlund’s attitude hasn’t changed.

“I figure I will go another seven years and see how it feels by then. I will only be 80. As long as I can pass my physical, what else would I do? I love my job, and I love the scenery.”

This is the sixth year of the Citizen Driver program. The other recipients for 2019 are OOIDA life members Kenn and Beth Zelten. Their celebration is scheduled for Friday, June 7 at the Chicago North TA in Zion, Ill.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, staff writer, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.