Vet returns to his dream as ‘Back On The Road’ winner

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Retired U.S. Air Force pilot Dennis Lott has had his share of bad luck, but that changed Friday, March 20, when he won a 2006 Volvo VNL670 as the winner of Arrow Truck Sales’ “Back On The Road 2009” campaign. The announcement was made at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., with representatives from Arrow, Volvo Trucks North America and other sponsors of the program, now in its second year.

“I hope to use this opportunity to contribute to all corners of the trucking industry and serve as an outlet for ideas from other members of this business to promote positive outcomes,” Lott said. “Specifically, I want to teach others about safety.”

Lott began driving trucks for the Air Force in 1974, later becoming a pilot and master sergeant. Throughout his years in the military, he never gave up his dream of driving and worked as an over-the-road driver when he was not on duty.

Then in 2000, after becoming an owner-operator, a back injury from a survival school parachute training exercise took Lott off the road. To give his back time to heal, he began flying full time for the Air Force Reserve and was one of the many called up after 9/11. Lott flew missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also flew to Guantanamo Bay, transporting prisoners from Afghanistan, and spent three years flying cargo and Medivac missions out of Iraq.

Now that his back is healed and he is retired from the Air Force, Lott is ready to get back on the road full time. “Driving is my career, not just a job,” Lott said. “Each load delivered is important. Truck drivers are the unseen element for every store and business. I enjoy being a part of the many team players that get the people of America what they need and want.”

In addition to receiving the truck, courtesy of Volvo Trucks North America, and a one-year work agreement with Heartland Express, Lott also receives:

  • A custom truck paint job and graphics from Dickinson Fleet Services;
  • A TriPac auxiliary power unit from Thermo King;
  • X One tires from Michelin;
  • Business consulting tools from owner-operator financial services firm ATBS;
  • Insurance from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association;
  • A three-year 300,000-mile warranty from National Truck Protection;
  • Monthly $500 fuel cards from Pilot Travel Centers;
  • One year’s worth of filter products from Genuine Volvo Parts;
  • Truck accessories and fenders from Minimizer Products; and
  • One year’s worth of oil changes from Chevron.
  • “From his more than two million accident-free miles to his unending determination to be on the road, Dennis is the consummate trucking professional,” said Carl Heikel, president and chief executive officer of Arrow Truck Sales.

    Country-music star Aaron Tippin, a former trucker who joined the campaign this year, met Lott during the selection process. “Dennis is a genuine person, whose commitment to his country and the trucking profession is inspiring,” said Tippin. “I know he’ll represent the trucking industry with great pride.”

    Lott’s progress with the program and his new job will be tracked on www.backontheroad2009.com.