DALLAS — Twenty-year veteran trucker Edward Crumer is hard-pressed to say what has impressed him most about the myriad household moves he's helped people make, most of them during the most trying times of their lives.
“What’s a small situation to one person is big to somebody else,” said the Allied Van Lines driver who was named the Rand McNally Navigator of the Year here during the Great American Trucking Show.
Crumer, married and the proud father of three girls, Kazara, 4, Janee, 15, and Jamisha, 24, is a blue chip mover for the military, many times moving the possessions of soldiers who have been killed overseas serving their country. (He works through Sorensen Moving and Storage out of Melbourne, Fla., and has been with Allied since 2001.)
He recalls his first blue chip move for a woman who had lost two of her three sons in war and they were moving home her second son’s possessions from his barracks, including a drum set he had ordered while deployed.
When the mother saw those drums, Crumer said, she broke down but later “she was at ease because she had got it all [his possessions]. I cried myself about that. I was crying as I drove down the road,” he said.
But he was all smiles today during a formal presentation of a symbolic $25,000 check by Rand McNally Navigator of the Year sponsor NAVTEQ. He also won an all-expense paid trip to the show here, where he had driven to from California in his ’97 Freightliner.
It all started when Crumer, who was born on Father’s Day, asked for a Rand McNally 510 for a present. He told his wife, Krystal, “they make the maps; why would you buy a GPS from somebody that doesn't make the maps?“ When the couple saw that the company was holding Rand McNallly's 20-week Navigator of the Year event to scour the country for a truck driver who demonstrated the “phenomenal aspects” of what the trucking is all about, they decided to enter, hoping to win the contest and a GPS.
What won judges over was Crumer’s harrowing tale of a move that took him, Krystal and Kazara over the Canadian Rockies in the middle of winter making a haul from Calgary to Vancouver through Rogers Pass. They were stopped three times because of avalanches.
With chains on the truck and trailer it took them 48 hours as the road was opened and closed, opened and closed, and finally opened again in the pitch black middle of the night, mountains of snow piled up on either side of the road leaving only a narrow path for commercial vehicles.
It was the most harrowing and the most beautiful drive he’s made, Crumer said.
But the trips that have touched his heart are those where he moves household goods for people in stress: They’ve lost loved ones, are going through divorce or financial ruin, and sometimes they’re leaving familiar surroundings to enter a retirement or nursing home.
An ordained minister, Crumer said he never pushes himself or his ministry on people but that many times they ask him for help or hope or both and then he’s glad to share his faith in God.
The prizes, he said, he’s excited to receive, no doubt about it. But he said what’s most important to him is the chance to be part of peoples’ lives for the better and sometimes even become their life-long friend.
Dorothy Cox of The Trucker staff may be contacted to comment at email@example.com.
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