Home > All Mercertown Blog Posts > THE MIRACLE AT MERCER


Miracle at Mercer

By Martin Colvill unit 12221

Greetings to all our new family at Mercer Transportation. If you’ve been reading Jason’s comments on the blog, you are aware that new (or old depending on how you look at it) standards on the cosmetic appearance of our trucks has been established. A first class company should be represented by first class equipment is what I was told once we were here. My wife, Sarah, gave a brief description on the blog of our odyssey this past week and I would like to share the details and at least the first names of the absolutely incredible people who literally came out of nowhere, stepped up and performed what I am calling the Miracle at Mercer.

If you will permit me, a little background is needed to establish just how tremendous a blessing has been poured out on us and Mercer by association. I am a retired Pastor/Police Officer/Firefighter/Paramedic who was young, dumb and thought I was indestructible. Found out I wasn’t and now have prosthetic knees, a titanium lattice frame that holds my spine together and a Mylar mesh screen that holds my intestines inside. I also died from a heart attack 3 ½  years ago, spent seven days in a coma and I believe the Lord wanted me back here on earth for some purpose. For the last 12 ½ years I have driven big rigs with ten of those hauling flatbed freight.

Sarah, meanwhile was a United Methodist Pastor who moved into childcare and then administrative duties in a grocery chain and then one of the largest insurance companies in America. 6 ½ years ago she was diagnosed with a rare “marginal B cell” non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, terminal stage 4 cancer. It is very slow but very debilitating.

We come from Portland, Oregon and for the last 1 ½ years have been running a leased truck carrying van freight up and down I-5 from Washington to California. Just before we came here we sat 20 days out of 5 weeks because of “No Freight”.

It was time to make a move so I looked around a lot and interviewed drivers from different companies and since Sarah said she would like to see more of the U.S. before her time is up we finally settled on Mercer Transportation. We went through a vetting process that aught to make Homeland Security proud and sent in pictures of Alice, our 1995 White/GMC Volvo which had been mothballed the last year and a half. As requested, they were from all 4 sides and my camera is an 8 mega pixel Olympus. I wasn’t trying to hide anything so they were what I thought quality pics. We were invited to attend orientation and we accepted.

A series of misadventures brought me to a shop where I paid almost all of the money we had to repair and make sure Alice would pass a DOT inspection. Then I didn’t hear anything from the shop for days. He would not return my calls and come to find out he felt it more important to nail down his new oak floor than work on my truck. He did have his son “do” my rear brakes. I finally had to use my spare key and rescue Alice as time was running out.

I am not a mechanic, unless you count Chevrolet Corvairs (I’ve owned and restored 9 of them). I got to do my first big rig oil change in my back yard. I think Jed Clampet would get rich with what did not make it into the sadly small oil catcher.

We got her washed and counted our change and figured out the miles and came to the conclusion that with a loaf of bread, jar of peanut butter and one of strawberry jelly, we had just enough to travel 2309 miles and get to Louisville, KY and Mercer Transportation.

The trip was mostly uneventful (except for a tornado, a lightning show that was inspiring, rain and being backed into by a white tractor trailer piloted by guys who “Sure Wished I Finished Training.” We arrived Tuesday night, September 15, 2010 and were very excited to finally be here.

Wednesday morning, while Sarah rested in the bunk, I embarked on the odyssey of orientation.

Coming back to Alice, inspection commenced and I was told that I needed tie rod ends, a front wheel seal, a cotter pin on my supposedly new rear right brake and a new or re-bushed rear sway bar. My hood was faded and needed to be re-painted, the front bumper was pitted and needed to be re-painted and the visor needed the same. My truck did not meet Mercer standards and failed.

I stood in front of my tractor, head cast down asking my maker and friend the eternal question we mere mortals always ask when something doesn’t go the way “we” think it should go. “WHY?”

Lots of things went through my mind, hey, I am human after all but did not look forward to telling Sarah what has transpired. With all she has to endure, this would put her into a tail-spin. I went into the cab and told her. There were tears (not just her) but in the end we prayed and had no choice but to leave it in His hands.

I went over to recruiting, tossed my last $1.25 on Gerald’s desk and told him he might as well have all of it since this would not be enough to get us home. I told him of the inspection, our situation (to a point) and went back to the truck and prayed some more.

Sometime later Gerald called and invited me back into orientation and we would see what could be done. I dutifully did so and kept wondering what would happen next.

At the end of class that first day, my classmates, Larry and Deb, Tim and Brenda, Danny, Barry and Celeste came up to me and said they had heard what happened and about our situation and put into my hand $131.00. It was all I could do to not break down right there. A little later on a trip to Wal-Mart our refrigerator was filled by Tim and Brenda. Now, remember, I have just met these folks, don’t know them or they us. It was only the beginning of the Miracle at Mercer.

The quality of spirit exemplified by total strangers to a couple of strangers is an example of the type of people Mercer Transportation is drawing.

The next day Heidi and Gerald continued with an idea from the day before about me driving for a contractor. I wasn’t real keen on the idea but would not say no to a possibility to get my foot in the door. 75% of 99% looks better than 30% 0f 75% but that is better than 0% of 0%. So that afternoon after class I went out somewhere south of Fort Knox to a shop and looked at a truck that I knew would not pass inspection with the new standards being implemented. Again I wondered what was happening but had no choice but to trust that God knew what was best for us.

That evening, I met Alan Morgan when he parked next to Alice. He personified the Virginia good ol’ boy image and as we talked, he listened. Then he brought out tools, air hose and commenced to start sanding away on Alice’s hood and fenders well past midnight. The next day he went out and got tie-rod ends, found a cotter pin that fit and coordinated a group of people that included some of my classmates like Larry and Deb, established drivers Jimmy and Chuck and wife Diane in a massive effort to get Alice ready for re-inspection on Monday, September 20th. Numerous nameless drivers came by to look, offer opinions on the new crack down and even pitched in with a bolt of a turn of a wrench or screwdriver.

Saturday and Sunday were intensive days of prep work getting things ready for painting later on Sunday. Larry and Jimmy undertook the tie-rods ends and Jimmy did the front right seal.

Sunday afternoon with paint gun in hand Alan and Chuck showed artistry in painting a truck without painting the parking lot. Heat, humidity and sadly paint that did not do what it was advertised to do caused a few frowns on the artists but their determination paid of with a nice if not perfect job. Then the labor of re-assembly and clean-up commenced.

Deb and Diane spearheaded the clean-up effort which included picking up countless cigarette butts, sweeping the entire area where we worked and making sure we left no trace. I had given my word that no mess would be left and they kept it for me.

Re-assembly was completed at 0300 hours Monday morning.

My two miniature dachshunds, Dax and Qwark woke me up around 0730 wanting to go out and do their morning absolutions so I bleary-eyed complied and when we came back around from traipsing around the perimeter of the driver’s parking area, the entire inspection team was gathered around Alice waiting for me. The moment of truth was at hand.

I went over in detail what had been written down to comply with the listed deficiencies. After it was all said and done, Jeff, the lead or head inspector pronounced Alice ready to join the Fleet at Mercer Transportation.

The Miracle at Mercer had occurred.

Even as I write this story, two Mercer drivers came to my window and said they had heard of our situation, They asked if we needed any food or money and I was humbled once again. I was able to politely turn down their offer since we had been taken such good care of by others but was touched by their offer of kindness.

I don’t know who all spread the tale of our journey but I lost count at 25 the number of drivers who visited us during our week here in the Mercer driver’s lounge parking lot. We are now under dispatch and will be in on the road shortly. Our trail of tears has turned into a journey of hope. I truly believe it was the reputation of Mercer that brought these numerous drivers here and the quality of people who wanted to be part of this family.

“Thank you” seems so inadequate a set of words to properly convey our feelings towards the people who helped us. My apologies if I have left anyone out. It is not on purpose. I simply cannot remember all who had a part in this. But I know there is Someone who does. Whether you believe in Karma, what goes around comes around, or casting your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you many fold (my paraphrase), all your efforts have been noted and when your time comes, someone will step up and help you for helping us. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good, to those who love God and to those who are called according to his purpose.”  I truly believe this and have seen it in action this past week

The Miracle at Mercer happened because the Spirit of the road is not dead here at Mercer Transportation. We who travel the hiways and byways of our great nation know this and for the most part try to practice it. To all our friends and family her at Mercer: “Remember to always look up, so you won’t fall down.” Ó (Phrase copywrited 1983 by Martin Colvill. Permission is given to freely use in this context.)

  1. Jane and Dan Danger
    September 27, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    First, let us say “Welcome to Mercer Sarah & Martin” sounds like you two had quite the adventure coming on board… But it just means that now you both have been fully Mercerized! lol. We look forward to meeting you and hope Dax & Quark will get to play with our 6 month old Daschsie, Miss Daisy. Come on by if ya see us out there. We’re in a White KW T660 studio, with a Manac Flatbed, trk#8642. Best of luck on your new journey!! You are with a great Co.!

  2. ck trans
    September 28, 2010 at 3:16 am

    this hasnt happned to me before,i have never been so touched so deeply as i was today god sure does love you and you are deserving,please research this, electo regenerational ohmage therapy.in a nut shell damaged nerve clusters will show a lower electical current if damaged area is stimulated to healthy electrostatic voltage or higher by 1% white cells will mass in the area it will also change the way they react with each other….it is a german science not fda approved but i degress i hate politics please look at this in a creative open to insight way.ALSO WHITE BLOOD CELL FARISIS CCONSULT BARNES JEWISH IN ST LOUIS MO KINGSHIGHWAY OFF I44 GO NORTH .UM I KINDA DONT KNOW WHERE THIS CAME FROM I WOKE UP WITH THIS MEDICAL STUFF IN MY HEAD TODAY I THINK IM SUPPOSED TO HELP, I DONT KNOW HOW,


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  3. angela
    September 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    with following my cousins on face book and all of sarahs postings then after reading this it really brought tears to my eyes and i sit here writing this through the tears of what my cousin and his beautiful wife had gone through, i sit and thank God for his protective hand on them and want to send out a great big thank you and appreciation to those at mercer transportation for taking care of and looking out for my family you are all truly angels of mercy

  4. Tim & Brenda
    September 28, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    We are the ones who have been truly blessed and touched by Martin and Sarah. Not only did I have the opportunity to be in class with Martin, but this allowed Tim and I an opportunity to make new friends and meet some absolutely wonderful people. We’ve been battling a hill ourselves, but that’s exactly what it is in comparison to what Martin and Sarah battled.

    Martin and Sarah gave Tim and I new found hope. Many prayers went out and we are so honored to have been a part of it. Never in a million years did we imagine what type of friendships could blossom from something of this nature. Not only are we blessed with our friendship with Martin and Sarah, but also with the others we met in orientation as well as the many people we met while in Louisville and have been able to meet on the road.

    When Tim came to Mercer in June, I knew that Mercer was a quality company and would be good for him. It wasn’t until orientation did I finally get to know just what quality level Mercer really was at. Not only do drivers show their camaraderie at the yard, but it doesn’t change on the road.

    I just want to thank God for the Mercy He showed on my new friends, thank the drivers for being good enough to help a man in need and Mercer the company itself for having an open mind to give someone a second chance. This brings a new hope to Mercer as it will hopefully open doors to more in the future who have been battered and bruised by the facts of life and who are desiring a brighter tomorrow and turn to Mercer to look for it. I don’t believe Mercer should ever lower their standards, but I believe this statement says they’re willing to help those who desire to raise theirs.

    God Bless you all

  5. Caqrolyn & Bo
    October 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Mercer is a Great Company. I have been here since 1984 except for 2 1/2 years when my husband got stupid. I finally talked him in to coming back and were here until he died in 1999. I then married a former Mercer driver and we came back home. Thats what it feels like to us. We do have some bad apples here just like anywhere else but we just pray for them. God looks out for us i we just turn everything over to him and trust. Glad you on the road.

  6. Cory Sinyard
    October 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Wow !!!! I wish everyone knew how great the people of Mercer are ,I tell other drivers about the wonderful things that happen here and they think I am just trying to get a sign on bonus for getting them to make the move they cant understand that it is the truth. but it is ! I had heart bypass surgery in march and had to stop my lease and come off the road and at least twice a month someone has called to check on me . I love Mercer and the people that work there and the drivers. when I get able to drive again if Mercer wont take me back I will sell my truck and get a job at Wal-Mart because I am to spoiled to drive or lease to anyone else.

  7. Jeff
    October 13, 2010 at 10:52 am


    • Tim & Brenda
      November 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      AMEN Jeff

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