Allen K. Parker - Werner Enterprises
Allen Parker is an easy-going, active and motivated truck driver. He has been driving for over 21 years and feels at home on the road, no matter where in the country he is. With his radio on, Parker passes the time singing his favorite southern and country gospel songs. He admits he gets so into his songs that at times his wife can hear the hoarseness in his voice. It’s hard to believe this seemingly carefree driver found out this past January he has cancer.
Parker has lived in Fairbury, NE his whole life, and he’s wanted to be a truck driver for almost as long, mostly because his family has a deep-rooted history of truck driving. His dad is a retired truck driver, and his three brothers at some point throughout the years have driven trucks as well. This passion for driving was not just limited to his family. He said it was not uncommon to see as many as 10 Werner trailers parked near his childhood home.
When Parker started working for Werner Enterprises over 21 years ago, he said he lacked confidence as a driver. In his early years, Parker remembers picking up a load in Philadelphia, PA, terrified to death. He had a rough time backing up and it seemed everyone was pushing him to get out of there. “I crawled back in my sleeper and I was sitting back there feeling sorry for myself, thinking, ‘If I don’t accomplish this, it’s not going to get done. So I’ve got to do it or give up,’” Parker said. “And I don’t give up. So from that day on, I’ve had some troubles—here and there—we all do, but I just dealt with them and drove on down the road.”
Since those early years, Parker has grown to love life as a driver. He has two million accident-free miles on his record, and he looks forward to making it to three million. In addition, he represented Werner Enterprises on the Discovery Channel’s show “Modern Marvels” last year, and he was selected to represent company drivers for the Werner Enterprises’ 2008 calendar. He’s grateful for the chance to see the country and meet many extraordinary people whom he calls his friends.
Parker enjoys spending his home time with his wife, Connie, but during one weekend home last January, he received news that would change his life. After visiting the doctor with some terrible stomach pains, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
In February, Parker’s surgery, where portions of his digestive system were removed, went better than planned. Doctors told Parker he was 100 percent clear of cancer. After recovery, he will continue to drive for Werner, but he has to completely change his diet and eating schedule. Surprisingly, he continues to stay optimistic. “Yeah, I could get choked up about it. I could get upset,” Parker said. “But why? Why not look forward to the positive side of things? The doctor said I’ll lose up to 80 pounds.”
The staff of Over the Road and Pro Trucker magazines would like to wish Allen the best of luck in battling his illness, and continued success with Werner Enterprises. If you’d like to learn more about driving opportunities available now at Werner, give one of their recruiters a call at (800) 362-3077, visit their Web site at werner.com or see their ad on page 31 of this issue.