Following the Career Path of a Truck-Driving Parent

By on May 2, 2011
dad

Is it something in the genes that leads to a love of the open road? Or does merely spending time with a trucker make the job so attractive? You start to wonder when you meet so many truckers with a dad or mom who also drive. Whether nature or nurture, parent and child drivers share a bond that lasts a lifetime and brings them closer with each mile logged.

Josh and Ray Haynestock

Ray Haynestock grew up in Iowa, helping out his dad, who was a farmer and truck driver. So it was only natural that he would eventually combine the two. At 21 he got a job hauling livestock, and after about five years he bought his own truck. His son Josh was a big fan.

“I was in a truck from the day I was born, pretty much,” Josh says.

Ray took him out on the road to Pennsylvania when Josh was just 4 years old. “I’ll never forget that first time,” the proud papa says. “He missed his mama, but other than that he watched and learned. He’s been alongside me with the trucks since he was in kindergarten.”

As the years went by, Ray wanted to be home with his family, so he started his own trucking business. He and Josh would hit the road in a truck two weeks of every summer. Josh learned how to drive by the time he was 12, and he spent a good deal of his spare time at his dad’s business.

“He had 15 trucks and a shop, so I was always working down in the shop,” Josh recalls.

“I think he didn’t always like it that his dad made him work when he was a teenager,” Ray says with a chuckle.

He must have liked it well enough. Josh started driving for his dad locally at 18, then bought his own truck at 22.

“I went to college for a year, and that made me know that I wanted to drive a truck,” Josh says. “It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Ray, meanwhile, decided a few years back that he wanted to get back on the road himself. Both father and son are leased to Long Haul Trucking out of Minnesota.

“The two of us, oh, we probably talk a couple of hours every day,” Ray says. “I’m very fortunate as a dad that we can be that close, and trucking is part of that bond.”

Heather and Sherri Fronko

When Heather Fronko started the second grade, she was the only kid in class who had been to 48 states and Canada. That’s because she rode in a truck since she was 5 weeks old.

Heather’s mom, Sherri Fronko, thought that she would be a pilot when she was younger, but after years riding long hauls with her husband she studied to get her CDL in 1991 instead. When she had Heather, she took her along for the ride. Sherri drove nights and her husband drove days while Sherri home schooled Heather for five hours each day.

“I hate to say it, but I bet that kid saw every mall in the country. But it got tough, and I felt like she needed to be in school to get a good education,” says Sherri. “I don’t regret any of it. I think the road fueled Heather.”

“I had so many fun adventures. We would be in a place where it was snowing one day, then in a day or two we would be in the sun on the beach,” says Heather, now 22 and a driver herself. “I knew when I was 17 I was definitely getting my CDL. I had a friend who said I couldn’t do it, so I had to prove him wrong.”

The mother-daughter duo now drive for the same trucking company in Coldwater, Mich., and are proud members of the Women in Trucking Association. Last summer, they joined Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie in getting tattoos of the group’s logo on their right shoulders to show their dedication to women in the trucking industry.

“I like the fact that I’m doing something that people don’t regard as a woman’s job, even less back when my mom started,” says Heather. “I like the challenge. When I get discouraged and someone thinks women shouldn’t be out on the road, it pushes me to get out there and prove them wrong.”

Sherri doesn’t take her two younger children out on hauls during the school year these days, but she spends all summer out on the open road and brings them along often. Heather, who is expecting her first child in June, plans to have her baby boy in the truck, along for the ride like she was. As for their next adventure, mom and daughter will be featured in an episode of a Discovery Health show titled I’m Pregnant … and a Truck Driver!

“My true love is the road. I love that Heather is on the road too,” says Sherri. “It’s not about her following in my footsteps. It’s just empowering if you can do something like this and feel comfortable doing it.”

About Nancy Henderson

Nancy Henderson is the managing editor of Road King magazine.

14 Comments

  1. thaddeus

    May 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I just got my cdl and on the road thinking about getting my son and I working together. I’ve written for magazines and look forward to submitting one to you. God bless. Thaddeus

  2. Cheryl Frawley

    May 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I have a CDL class B with airbrakes, passaenger endorsements. I have driven a 72 passenger school bus for 26 years. looking to upgrade my license to drive a truck, what do i need to do? I’m in school right now for massage therapy, I grad in 7 weeks. I also, help other drivers with a nutritional program that will keep them healthy while being on the road. I look forward to hearing back from anyone who wants to partner and guide me. Blessings, Cheryl

  3. Cheryl Frawley

    May 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Please contact me if you would like to know more about this nutritional program. This will change ones life physically and financially… cherylfrawley959@yahoo.com

  4. cheryl frawley

    June 28, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    stay in message therapy trucking is not worth it i have been trucking for 18 years long haul some local prestenly up and down i5 corridor wa to ca wa state bruce w 6-28-11

  5. JLM

    July 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    If you can call wilcox trucking a trucking company. I don’t thank I wood have my kid drive a that wilcox Junk up and down The road

  6. DV

    July 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    sherri is a dispatcher most of the time

  7. Sherri

    July 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Sherri is exactly what the article say…

  8. Sherri

    July 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Wilcox is a great compant to work for, Dispatching and driving! Were not like a huge company where your just a number! They actually care about the people who work for them and work with them if they have problems!

  9. Gtisupergirl

    July 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve been a truck driver for 7years and I’m now 6 weeks pregnant. Nervous how my company will react when they find out… My husband & I team but I’m pretty sure taking the baby out in our company truck will be out of the question :( not sure what to do in 8 months when we get closer to the due date…

  10. blr

    August 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    you bet wilcox’s is a great job That is if you like work of free

  11. bob

    March 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I Am pregnant and a trucker what a joke

  12. Andrew

    June 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Yea Heather your my baby I love you so much the more I read stuff like this from before we met the prouder I am of u…

  13. robin

    April 29, 2013 at 5:38 am

    helo my name is robin and me and my husband are so new to truck driving right now we have been working on gettin my husband a cdl for a long time and we have been through so much struggle trying to makeend meet we have a beautiful 1 year old and dont know what to do with her my husband wants to take us on the road with him but to be honest im a fraid the police wil catch us and fine us for her rideing with or yank hin licence if their is anyone one who can help me to a lil thinkin i will re check my post in a few days to see if anyone replied to my message if you can also send me or my husband a message at blakemezzell123@yahoo.com thank you every little bit of advice helps

  14. Katrina

    May 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    My husband and I both have our CDL.He’s driven for 14 years. I have had my license for 5 years, but have less than 1 year actual experience.We have a 4 year old son.I have been miserable in other jobs and want back out on road.Our solution, we are lease purchasing a truck and getting our own authority so that as our own company we can establish our own passenger guidelines which allow our son to travel with us. Our state laws require a child be enrolled either in public school or registered as home school by age 7 so we have a little time to worry about that, however with the new online public school another option is available. Just a little food for thought.

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