Talley awed by Citizen Driver dedication ceremony

June 18, 2021

SJ Munoz

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Don Talley stands next to the plaque at the Petro Stopping Center in Gaston, Ind., that commemorates his being named a 2021 Citizen Driver. Also part of the recognition, a $2,500 donation was given to the charity of his choosing, the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund. (Photo courtesy TravelCenters of America)

 

For Don Talley, June 12 was in a word – overwhelming.

Talley, who was named a 2021 Citizen Driver by TravelCenters of America, learned of the honor in April. However, his dedication ceremony took place this past Saturday at the Petro in Gaston, Ind.

He took a break from training four new hires a few days after the ceremony to tell about his experience on that day.

“It was overwhelming,” said Talley, an OOIDA member. “People even came from out of state, and some of the Road Dog guys surprised me and showed up – it was all just overwhelming.”

As the plaque and signage at this Petro was unveiled, the accomplishment really began to sink in.

“The people at TA & Petro went over the top to make everything special,” Talley said. “It’s such a great honor. It was all good. Some of my family members knew I was good at my job but to get this kind of recognition with everyone there was unreal.”

He is now appreciative to be among an elite group of drivers.

“All the people who have won this award before me, we’re like a family now,” Talley said. “They have already reached out and talked to me. Dan Porter (who also won Citizen Driver in 2021) even contacted me and let me know he was sorry he missed my dedication because he was in Canada. We don’t push anybody down, we give them a hand up. That’s what we’re all about, and that’s what we’re trying to change in the industry.”

Talley credited former OOIDA tour trailer skipper and 2016 Citizen Driver honoree Jon Osburn for helping him restart his membership. For his part, Talley said he will continue giving trucking his all while helping as many as he can along the way.

“If somebody needs something we need to reach out and help them,” Talley said. “During coronavirus, wherever food, water or whatever supplies were needed, truckers made sure people got what they needed. Everyone appreciated the truck driver, and it means something to let them know they are important. If you’re a good driver or know one, nominate them for this award and give drivers the recognition they deserve.” LL

2021 Citizen driver Don Talley and family
Family gathered around Don Talley at the June 12 dedication ceremony at the Petro in Gaston, Ind. (Photo courtesy TravelCenters of America)

SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.