Driver Dallas Ogle puts his blacksmithing skills to work
Dallas Ogle • Greenville, S.C. • Driving for 34 years
I was a welder before I started driving a truck in 1973. Back then you didn’t have to have a CDL, just a chauffeur’s license. No one would hire me as a driver without experience, but my friend offered to sell me his truck. So I bought it and went down and took the chauffeur’s license test and passed it like I had been driving all the while.
I drove as an owner-operator until 2007, when I had a heart attack and was told I would never drive again. I had my own authority then and had to sell all my trucks. After four years I got back on the road though, working as a company driver for Venture Logistics.
About two years ago, I was at church in Greenville, S.C. A man from Uganda was next to me, and we just started talking like it was nothing, like we knew each other. His name was Pastor Angel. He was trying to raise money to finish building his church in Uganda, and he came to the U.S. to spread his word and take offerings for the church. I asked him if he had seen much of the U.S., and he said no, so I invited him to ride with me for a week. He was excited about the prospect.
On the road we were talking one day about raising money for his church, and right then my phone rang. It was Venture Logistics. They knew I was into hobbies like blacksmithing and asked if I would submit an idea for a sculpture to commemorate all the drivers and staff at the company. They said they would leave the design up to me, and if they chose my idea they would pay me to make them the sculpture.
Well, Pastor Angel and I started praying about it. I got a vision of what it was supposed to look like, so when I got home I scribbled it down on paper the best I could. Venture Logistics liked it and asked how much I thought it would cost. I told them I didn’t know, and what I would do was make the sculpture and they could pay me what they thought was right. I already planned it. Whatever they gave me, half would go to Pastor Angel’s church in Uganda and half to my church in South Carolina.
So I started building. It took me a year and 2,000 part-time hours. I used mostly scraps from iron, besides the stone for the base and the glass for the windshield. I hammered each piece into shape by hand. If you look at the details, you can see all the little hammer marks. It must be millions. The end piece is two iron truck smoke stacks side-by-side. Between the stacks, are a man and a woman’s hand holding a steering wheel. Vines of iron roses and lilies cover the piece, including the windshield adorned with the engraving to Venture Logistics employees.
They paid me $4,000 for the sculpture. I didn’t keep a penny of it for myself. I did what I said I was going to do. I gave half to Pastor Angel’s church and half to my church. I installed the piece in April 2011, and there was a ceremony for it. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be able to do any of that stuff. People kept coming to the house while I was making it and telling me how talented I was, but it wasn’t me really. It was all in God’s hands.