A Healing Haul

By on September 1, 2008
RoadKing Mag

WHEN FORMER BOEING DRIVER Rick Hoy retired after 35 years on the road, he never would have pictured himself back behind the wheel just a few years later. But something happened that changed his life.

“I was going to remain retired, but my best buddy Skip ended up getting diagnosed with cancer and died,” he says. “I sat around for about a year, got a little bored and heard about this from one of the other drivers at work.”

What he heard was that the Cancer Institute at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle needed someone to drive a new Kenworth T660 equipped with digital mammography and satellite transmission technology to underserved communities in Washington state. The truck was a gift from Paccar and the hospital provided the coach.

“Paccar saw the opportunity to give back to the community that we operate in,” says Jeff Sass, director of marketing, planning and research at Kenworth. “Anytime we can help with the community, the Paccar Foundation will continue to do that as long as we continue to build trucks.”

And with Washington posting the highest per capita incidence of new breast cancer cases in the country, it’s a much-needed service.

“Women historically put their health behind the rest of the family, especially breast health,” says Darlene Fanus, supervisor of the mobile mammography program at Swedish Cancer Institute. Last year one unit provided 3,500 women with amammogram.

“We want to ensure no woman will be turned away,” she adds.

And Hoy loves the experience. Traveling to remote areas of Washington State, he brings the truck to health fairs or YMCA events and reaches a diverse population of homeless, under-insured and tribal women. “The coach has been blessed more by shamans than I have been in church,” Fanus says with a laugh.

Of course, the truck is pretty sweet too. With 72-inch AeroCab sleeper, GPS navigation system, and Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system, Hoy says it is the best truck he has ever driven. “I’ve been driving for over 35 years, and you when spend you whole career driving tucks, you never get the new truck,” he says. “This is the first time I got the new truck. It is an absolutely wonderful vehicle.”

And it’s just the beginning of the relationship between Kenworth and the hospital. In addition to the T660, they have already donated a day cab, which is just waiting for a coach.

“When my buddy died, I really think that this job was a sent from him,” Hoy says. “It is a complete turnabout from the driving I did before. I get the gift of being able to work with people one-on-one, when before you just jumped in your truck and drove. It is actually a joy.”

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