Six years ago, when Dorin Kauhi opened a new chapter of her life as a truck driver, it caught the attention of her sister, DeeAnn Kauhi-Borgner.
“(Driving a truck has) always been my dream, ever since I was 16 years old,” DeeAnn said. “We went to New Mexico with Mom and Dad on vacation. I used to watch all the 18-wheelers roll down the highway at night and it was so beautiful to me. I was like, ‘I’m going to be a truck driver. That’s what I want to be.’
“My husband passed away in 2018, and that’s when I finally decided to live out my dream, which, my little sister was already living my dream,” she continued. “So, I just decided I was going to follow in (Dorin’s) footprints. So that’s what I did.”
Dorin didn’t get necessarily get into the business to inspire anyone — her primary motivation to be a driver was financial. But once her older sister started the process, she was more than happy to encourage her.
“I was working at a Walmart at the time unloading trucks, doing about 18,000 steps a day,” Dorin said. “I’d see the truck drivers coming to do their load and I started asking them a lot of questions. I just decided six years ago. ‘I’m going to do this.’ So, I did. I was 49 years old when I got my license.
“(DeeAnn) completely followed my footsteps. I went to C.R. England; then she went to C.R. England. Then I was able to get her into FedEx with me and we’ve been together ever since then, almost a year now.”
The California-based duo has a dedicated run from City of Industry, California, to Amarillo, Texas. One week they’ll drive about 4,800 miles and the next week, about 6,800 miles. The sisters said that, in a male-dominated industry like trucking, theirs is a relationship that goes beyond just being sisters to being trusted fellow professionals.
“We were raised like twins, but we’re so opposite. We’re totally opposites. (Dorin’s) very personable, talks to everyone, dresses really girly, has the gift of gab and gets really mad really fast. She has no patience. I am the exact opposite; I can wait in a line for days,” DeeAnn said.
“But I know Dorin, so, the trust is 100%. I sleep like a rock on the truck because I trust my driver. I know that she’s not going to put me in a dangerous situation, and she is just as excited and just as anxious to get home to her kids and my kids,” DeeAnn said. “It makes the driving so comfortable. It’s better than husband and wife.”
Of course, the sisters run into their fair share of catcalls and innuendo, but both noted that the way a woman carries herself and how well she does her job has a direct impact on the number of rude comments she has to listen to.
“Because we’ve been raised the way we were raised, I was a fighter my whole life. I’m not afraid of no man. We’re not intimidated by men. And it’s not hard for us to make it in a man’s world. The majority of truck driving is still basically a man’s world, but we’re just fine,” DeeAnn said.
“And it’s becoming more of a woman’s world all the time. There’s a lot more women than there’s ever been,” Dorin added. “I think women are better drivers. We’re more polite. We don’t cut each other off. You get some real jerks out there on the road, but I think women are just more patient and more courteous.”
The biggest thing that’s taken fear out of the sisters’ hearts is the knowledge that they have stared down much scarier demons than anything they’ve seen in trucking.
“We were deep in addiction for over 20 years and we were in that together, too. It went from alcohol and pot to meth. That’s what I was into. Raised our kids in addiction and none of them are addicted today. None of them took our path. Now we’re clean and we love being clean,” DeeAnn explained.
“When I was an addict, I was a ‘good’ addict,” Dorin said. “Doing this, we keep each other accountable on a daily basis, absolutely. That’s how it is for me.”
With that chapter of their lives behind them, the two FedEx drivers have turned their attention to the future and the dream of one day owning their own company. They have confidence in that dream, leaning on each other and their faith to make it happen.
“We want to get our own truck and name it Two Girls, One Truck,” DeeAnn quipped. “Our goal in the next five years is to be owner-operators, both of us have our own truck, drive it for two years and then the third, fourth, fifth year of owning these trucks, we can get some young pups on the truck.”
Dorin said that once she “got clean,” she started setting goals.
“I’ve reached every single one of them,” Dorin said. “I rededicated myself to God recently and I was just like, ‘You know what you want me to do. I need to know what I need to do.’ None of this happens without God.”
Dwain Hebda is a freelance journalist, author, editor and storyteller in Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to The Trucker, his work appears in more than 35 publications across multiple states each year. Hebda’s writing has been awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists and a Finalist in Best Of Arkansas rankings by AY Magazine. He is president of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths, which provides editorial services to publications and companies.