Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rick’s last ride

Over the Memorial weekend, many truckers were watching Facebook, tracking OOIDA Member Ralph Acocella’s route as he took home the cremated remains of his good friend, OOIDA Member Rick Rogers.

Rick did his part to improve the image of trucking as a Trucker Buddy Ambassador and by participating in the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish convoys. He was also a founding member of Trucker Charity Inc.

Many of Rick’s friends said he died doing what he loved – driving truck. He was trucking near Lake City, FL, on May 19 when his truck left the road, hit trees and an embankment, then caught fire. Both he and his dog, Emma, were killed in the crash. Ralph said Emma’s cremated remains will be returned to Rick’s family soon.

With a lot of help from Ralph’s carrier, Cargo Transporters Inc., Ralph ultimately made three trips to Florida before picking up Rick’s ashes on May 28. Since then, Ralph has been posting regular updates of Rick’s last ride on his Facebook page.

Their journey concluded June 1 when Ralph delivered the ashes to Rick’s mother, Karen Rogers, in Menasha, WI. She gave Ralph a hand-made card and a photo of Rick in appreciation for bringing her son home.

Ralph was honored to make this trip for his friend and said, “Rick would have done it for me.”

5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this story about my nephew Rick.

    What an amazing journey this has been for our family to see the outpouring of love and support for Rick and his family. There are not words to adequately thank Ralph for his final act of love offered to Rick in bringing back home to his family in Wisconsin.

    It has been amazing to see the the close knit community of truckers that have done so much to make Rick's last ride home a ride of honor. Thank you to all you have made it possible.

    I don't know how many people know that Rick died 7 weeks to the day after his father passed away. It is heart breaking for Rick's mother, Karen, to lose both her husband and her son within such a short period of time. The words of love and friendship that have been offered have been a great comfort to her during this time.

    May you be blessed for your generous hearts.

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  2. There still are some truck drivers (not steering wheel holder) who do have a heart & care about 'their career choice'. GOD Bless Rick and Ralph.....we all need a friend once in a while!!!!

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  3. We've been following Rick and Ralph's journey on Facebook. My hat's off to Ralph for doing the right thing. When our time comes, may we be honored to have such great friends.

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  4. Although I never was able to meet up with Rick while he was in town, He was a great friend. He will be missed by alot of us. There is a big void on the Blind Spot conference call, I havent been able to call since rick passed because I could always count on chatting with him on there. His accident brought home the dangers of trucking that I think we all as drivers forget from time to time. I just want Rick's family to know that he was a great guy, and a true friend to probably more than we will ever know. He was what was good about the trucking industry, and we could be only so lucky to get more drivers like him in the future. RIP Rick.

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  5. Rick was a true Knight Of The Road. As is Ralph. We enjoy sharing our industry with such great people. Its a dang shame that we have to support them in this way. While we know there is always going to be danger in our career. We also know that your family can have one less problem in trying times like this.

    Rick was very forgoing in Trucker Charity Inc, helping in the loss of a loved one. That and helping folks gain employment. I know it hurts many to see him and his family be the first one.

    While I know Rick will not be the last one. He has educated us AGAIN in a new area.

    I miss ya buddy.

    Lance Wood.

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