Chaplain’s Corner: Meet Mark Moad
By: Craig Maart
Truck drivers are some of the most generous people I have met. It would be a benefit to everyone to spend some time with a truck driver and see the human side of the person who chooses the thrill, frustration, and responsibility of driving those 80,000-pound rigs. Too many see trucks as one more obstacle to work around in their busy life.
This year at MATS in Louisville, I spent a few days with some new friends who drive big rigs. One of these men is Robert Palm who leads Truckersfinalmile, our new ministry partner. Robert, Taylor Barker with his band, Travis Pope Sr. and others showed how caring and generous truck drivers are. Underneath the rugged exterior with worn-in boots, fabulous beards, and calloused hands are hearts of gold. It wasn’t a surprise to observe an unspoken, yet tightly-held brotherhood. Taylor gave a specific example of seeing Robert Palm giving of his own money, when the money donated to Truckersfinalmile was used up. You could see on their faces the level of respect and honor they have for each other. The phrase, “if you ever need anything, let me know” was common; you know they meant it. You could see it in how they treated people.
One more example of a generous driver who made a lifelong impact needs to be told. My friend Mark Moad, from Hornerstown, PA, told me about one of the first and most significant times he felt the love of Jesus. In 1972, Mark, who was 15 at the time, was kicked out of his house. He had an abusive father, and his mother pushed him out to protect him from his father. Mark found himself sitting in a culvert on the side of a dark country road at 2:00 am. Mark was sitting there all alone and freshly processing the hurt of being kicked out of his house, not knowing what to do. Enter Larry Shumbach, a truck driver returning home after being out on the road. Larry proudly drove his cabover across the country.
The unmistakable sound of semi-truck brakes squealing, hollering, and hopping as smoke rolled off the tires broke the sound of silence that night somewhere in the countryside in Beaver Springs, PA. Larry slammed on his brakes after he saw this young man sitting there. After a few attempts at figuring out the situation, Larry called out, “What are you doing out here?”. “Leave me alone,” Mark responded. “You hungry?” Larry yelled over the sound of the diesel motor. “Yes,” Mark yelled back. “Well, come on. Get in,” Larry replied. Mark reluctantly got in the cab. About 200 yards down the road Larry pulled the rig onto his property, parked the truck, and took Mark to the house. Larry woke his wife and said “We have a guest.” Just after 2 am, Jean, Larry’s wife, cooked a breakfast fit for a king, eggs, pancakes and every kind of breakfast meat known to man. Mark ate like it was Thanksgiving.
“You got a place to stay?” Larry asked. “No,” responded Mark. “Well, why don’t you try out that couch tonight?” Larry offered. Jean got some bedding and put it on the couch. Mark slept there not just that night but kept coming back to the people who reached out to him for the first time with the love of God. Mark said, “They were so kind, warm, and safe.” He hadn’t felt that in years. Larry and Jean Shumbach acted like his adoptive parents. That night started a relationship that has lasted over 51 years. Larry could have driven right by Mark and gone up to bed. But, because he stopped, Mark felt the love of God through this Christian couple. Mark eventually was so overcome with the love of Jesus that he prayed to confess his sin and receive God’s gift of salvation. Today Mark is mostly retired from the HVAC world and is one of the most Godly and generous men I have ever met. There is no doubt, listening to him talk, that God, through Larry and Jean, gave him not only a second chance but the opportunity to work hard, build a business, be married for 46 years, and raise four kids. Larry and Jean influenced a man to be generous because God gave everything to him. All this because a truck driver screeched to a stop that night back in 1972.
Truck drivers are generous people. Make no mistake about that. There is a noticeable pride in serving, doing the hard stuff, and knowing they will most likely never be thanked. These road warriors deserve our appreciation. After all, the clothes you are wearing as you read this were delivered on a truck.
So, when you are out on the road, make room for trucks, give a wave, and say thanks. If you ever have an opportunity to sit and talk with a truck driver, take advantage of that. Sit and listen to them share. You will undoubtedly hear from the heart of a generous person.