Litalien calls Citizen Driver ceremony ‘the best day of my life’

June 1, 2016

Mark Schremmer


Days removed from the TA Petro Citizen Driver Award ceremony, OOIDA Life Member Denis Litalien was still soaking it all in.

“This was really over the top,” Litalien said. “Saturday was probably the best day of my life.”

As part of the 2016 Citizen Driver Award, the name of the TA in Greenland, N.H., was formally changed to the Denis Litalien Travel Center on Saturday, May 28.

“I’m still coming off the high of the ceremony,” the 61-year-old from Biddeford, Maine, said. “TA did such a tremendous job. They pretty much threw a party for me and 80 of my friends. Hearing all the people say nice things about me, it felt like I was at my own funeral. It all made me blush a little bit. All the nice things people were saying, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good.”

Denis and his wife, Debbie Litalien, were even provided their favorite meal of lobster rolls for lunch.

Denis Litalien, 2016 TA Petro Citizen Driver honoree
OOIDA Life Member Denis Litalien was awarded a 2016 Citizen Driver Award during a ceremony on May 28, 2016, in Greenland, N.H.

“The folks at TA did a fantastic job of doing this up well,” he said. “Everything was fantastic.”

Litalien isn’t a stranger to awards.

During his 44 years as a truck driver, he has been honored several times. He was awarded a Highway Angel Certificate from the Truckload Carriers Association for putting out a car fire on the highway in 1998. Litalien also earned the Shaw’s Good Samaritan Award in 1996 in recognition of his aid to motorists.

He also is a 14-time state champion in the New Hampshire and Maine State Truck Driving Championships and a seven-time top five finisher at the National Truck Driving Championships.

“You don’t do these things for the awards,” Litalien said. “When you do things naturally, it seems like the more of these type of things come to you.”

That is why winning the award still seems surreal to Litalien.

“It’s quite the feeling to see your name on a building,” he said. “They name buildings after politicians, celebrities and sports figures. I don’t fall into any of those categories. It’s pretty neat.” LL


Mark Schremmer, senior editor, 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 more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.