Archive for the ‘MeRV’ Category


Country Dan Rolling Along Thanks to Leland Martin and Truckers

I received this email today;

Hey Yoda, Here are some pictures of Country Dan getting his scooter donated by Darwin. I’ll send more when we are done. We are still working on getting the lift going for his car to haul it. He also got a chair donated to him so he can get around in his house. The scooter is too big to get around in his house. But he needs the scooter to get into work. There are some steep grades that the chair will not handle so we are glad he has the scooter! He has steep grades at his work place that he has to endure! There is also a steep grade at his driveway, so he really needs it to go down to get his mail too. I will write Darwin right now and tell him I sent you some pictures to post and that Country Dan really loves that scooter! I am also calling Landline and having them to give an update on the progress of helping Country Dan! Talk to you more soon. Thanks!
Leland Martin

Country Dan(Seated) and Leland Martin, showing off the new scooter that will help Country Dan get around!

The story of how a charity designed to work as a group of drivers helping other drivers got involved in this effort is not all that hard to explain. A driver that contacted the charity with his own needs, saw the original email Leland sent me asking for help getting Country Dan ( one of the personalities from the truckers channel on XM RADIO) a powered wheel chair so that he could go back to work. That driver had a chair that his mother had used. Both he and his mother met Country Dan at the Louisville truck show, and were fans. The rest thanks to the tireless efforts of Leland Martin is history now being made.
The community of truckers is alive and well. The community was kept alive or rebuilt by late night radio hosts and continued by XM open road and now Sirius Road Dog listeners. The next time someone says you cannot get 3 truck drivers to agree on anything or to work together, tell them about this story.

Country Dan really appreciates the new Ride!

As a side note, the request we posted from Leland Martin generated a second powered chair that will be stored in Cincinnati to be available to a driver who needs it. The St Christopher’s fund, the MERV, the medical supply company that donated new batteries for this chair, and several individuals and drivers not to mention the listener who donated the chair all came together to accomplish this. St Christopher’s fund will probably be the charity most likely to ask the chair to go to an individual who will need it because they are in the medical field. But the availability of it to them simply makes their efforts and all truckers interested in helping truckers efforts that much closer to meeting someone’s need. Who would have thought all these years later that listening to a radio show directed at truck drivers would have such good consequences?

The Truckin Bozo’s Website

While the MATS show was still ringing in their ears, several truck drivers met in the parking lot at PAPA JOHNS Stadium and sitting at a folding table in the parking lot agreed to form a formal 501 (c) 3 charity to formalize actions many of them had been doing for years.

They actually came to unanimous agreement to all the basic matters that needed to be agreed upon to to make this combination of their separate efforts. 

Some of the drivers had drifted away from previous efforts for various reasons, but they were invited to help this new legal corporation. Some of these drivers walked into the meeting and said the magic words “I want to be part of this”.

The small group of founders had some criteria that precluded many people who would in fact have made good members of the new organization except for their own personal financial conditions. The small group of founders used one powerful criteria for their decisions , “will this decision make this organization grow and help more people sooner”.

The selections of people to be on the board or to work as activist members was difficult because many good people existed who did not have the financial structure in their own lives to do what would be needed to be done at their own expense. Some we knew that, some we simply could not know and did not want to embarrass by asking.


The campfire article I posted here was actually written while this meeting was being planned. 

A few months later  our little community became a legal formal charity, the JRB Memorial fund for Truckers Inc. In the interim we as a group were active because we are of course only formalizing what we all have been all along, truck drivers of the old school community.

Among the things some of our members got involved in was disaster relief to 6 communities in North East Alabama.  We had a contact with a small trucking firm who put us in contact with a rescue squad. We had members who worked for large national companies that could furnish out of service trailers to be donated for dry storage. We had members and made a new member or two out of volunteers who involved themselves in this project proving themselves to be trucker community members of the sort we were organizing. One of our members was active with TCA truck stops and had help from the truck stops gathering donations from the general public and other truckers. One of our members working through a church has done spectacularly at getting donations for the people affected. None of these actions is something the formal charity was founded to accomplish, but all of these actions are demonstrations of the trucking community ethos that causes this charity to exist.  This effort was all done by members at their own expense and demonstrated for the fledgling board the reasoning the founders used in the selection process under the rules this charity is determined to operate under.

We received an e-mail from Leland Martin who was trying to collect donations and furnish an electric wheelchair to someone the trucking community knows but who is not a trucker, Country Dan. We posted that email on our web site to help it receive wider circulation and immediately received offers of several existing chairs. As I write this, one of them is at his personal expense in transit to the intended recipient. It is being transported by Leland Martin. Leland has constructed and will install on Dan’s car a rack to transport the chair so that Dan can go back to work. Another chair is in transit to a warehouse where it will be furnished new batteries and await a need to present itself. That effort again proves the community of truckers still exists. None of these actions were formal actions of our charity. Much of this effort involves people who are not even members of the charity, or who are members of other formal truckers charity groups.  The chair going to the warehouse has participation by 4 formal charities and a medical supply company. It really proves the community is alive and well.

I hear the ghostly collective applause for todays truckers both those of us who are involved in formal charity work, and those who continue to go about their runs but who help each other when they encounter a need.

The camp fire at the edge of town is burning brightly.


Who was that masked man and why is he here?

It is a cool morning…. the sound of the helicopter blades whopping makes your blood race. Looking out the open door you see the green and red plumes indicating the landing zone,so your grip tightens on your medical bag as you get ready to go to work…it is time to save some lives!

Fast forward to today.

No helicopter now. It is a specially equipped RV.



In it’s own way you are still in a combat zone ready to save lives. No longer working for the government you are working for a private 501C3 charity called Thanks to the generosity of Boardman Medical Supply of Girard, Ohio you are there on the scene with help for a group of people who find it exceedingly difficult to locate medical help because of the nature of what they do, trucking.

This is the life, as I see it, of John Osburn, former combat medic, presently a licensed physicians assistant. He drives the MERV.

As a trucker I have asked myself why is John here. I think I have found some of the answers but the first answer is obvious, because the need is there and he recognizes it. He is following a mission he has followed all his life, as a combat medic and through years of civilian service as a paramedic with many more years of continuing education as a licensed physicians assistant. He did acquire his certification for P/A and his masters degree while in the military. Much of that continuing education was financed via John’s alternate career as a long haul truck driver and owner operator for Mayflower Van Lines.

When I first met John I had no idea what the MERV was or what its purpose was sitting in the truck stop parking lot. But having a brotherhood with him on several levels mandated I have breakfast with him and find out what it was all about.

To understand the MERV, you have to understand some aspects of the trucking industry that don’t make the front page of any newspaper and are not mentioned in any recruiting ads. Two facts alone will give you pause to think. One is the fact that the average truckers lifespan is shortened by this profession by 15 years. The second fact is that an inordinate number of truck drivers die in their sleepers away from family and friends.

The underlying causes of these two facts are under debate by those medical professionals who deal with our industry. Their existence is not. The MERV is the result of the actions and ideas of several people. Among the major contributors were Dave Nemo, John Osburn, Dr. John, and the people who graciously came up with the money to bring an idea to reality.

The idea of the MERV, as I understand it, is pretty simple. Put medical help and education in the parking lot among the drivers where they can access it. In that respect it is like the combat zone. A medic bringing medicine to you because circumstances make it difficult for you to go to the medicine. Also referring you to better facilities when necessary and advising you in how to improve your chances of survival.

Recently John took two hours to answer questions from interested drivers via a telephone conference line hosted by “All Drivers Together”. A recording of that conference is available online at a link that will be posted at the bottom of this article. That conference spent about half of its time explaining the MERV and its mission. What it can do and can not do. Another quarter of the time was spent dispelling rumors and myths about health treatment and the purpose of the MERV itself. And about a quarter of the time was spent giving John’s views on the necessity to improve oral care, diet and the use of natural medicines.


At the bottom of this article will be a link to the site where you will find the calendar of the dates and times where the MERV will be located. This calendar is constantly updated and revised as needed.

The last information at the bottom of this article will be contact numbers and names where you can not only get more information about the MERV but also information on how to make donations to help keep the MERV in the parking lots. It is not in the parking lots selling anything or transacting business to make money. It is here to help you in your time of need and give you advice and education so you can avoid finding yourself in that parking lot with that need with no one to help you.

It is hard to get John to talk about some of the real emergencies that he has helped drivers handle just by being there when these emergencies have happened. If you chat with John a while you can’t help but piece together the “saves” that John has already accomplished. You can’t help but wish that there were MERV’s in more parking lots so that fewer truck drivers would die quietly in their sleepers because they had no one to ask what was wrong, or talk to about how bad they were feeling.

Rusty Wade
I hereby give blanket permission to anyone to reprint this article in order to spread the word about the MERV through the trucking industry.

listen to the conference here


Where is the MERV?


To contact the MERV by telephone the number is 330-233-5169.

To make donations or get more information about the MERV call 855-367-6378


       With many drivers basically living on the road, there are many personal things that seem to take a back seat to the job, including their medical needs.  To fill this need and provide the necessary diagnostic tests, former Navy corpsman and long time driver Jon Osburn and XM Radio host, Dave Nemo put together a plan to provide necessary medical resources to drivers.  The Medical Resource Vehicle (MeRV)  is the key to that plan; the vehicle is an  RV that provides medical testing to drivers, including blood pressure check, A1C testing for diabetes and help screen for other health issues. 

       On Wednesday May 11, 2011 at 1900 (Central time zone), Mr Osburn will discuss the MeRV, its role in driver health, and the future plans of the program in an All Drivers Together Conference Call.   During the call, Mr Osburn will discuss the who, what, where, and why of the MeRV and answer questions regarding the program and its services.  According to a recent article in Landline Magazine, there are big changes coming for the MeRV and its future. Mr Osburn may discuss those changes as well. 

      The MeRV is owned by Boardman Medical Supply, a company based out of Ohio and provides medical supplies and sleep apnea testing to individuals.  The MeRV is also a supporter of the Saint Christophers Fund and works in conjunction with them to collect donations for the SCF.  Mr Osburn has been the primary driver of the vehicle for the one year that it has been in existence, attends the national truck shows to provide the services and information that drivers need, through not only services but education and referrals as well. 

       The call will be held in Question and Answer mode and will be moderated to ensure proper decorum.  Drivers are asked to respect the programs choice of who and what charities and foundations it supports and ask questions or make comments that are in line with the calls purpose. The conference is free to all those in attendance (except for cell phone minutes usage as contracted by the driver’s carrier) and can be connected with at 712 432 0075 access code  243977#.