Veterans Starting to Truck

One of the ways that Crystal Laker John Blanchard wants to help veterans is by starting an over the road trucking company in which most of the drivers have been in the armed services.

Blanchard has already found a way to provide housing for veterans.

None of the controversy that boiled over in Hebron when the ultimately successful effort was made to turn an old motel on Route 47 into a place for veterans to live.

Blanchard figured out that when one owns an apartment building, one can rent to anyone one wants. You don’t need anyone’s approval first.

A trucking company seemed to be a natural employment opportunity, I learned from talking to Blanchard. It’s name is Vet-Teks, Inc.

The first run is from Crystal Lake, Illinois; Lafayette, Indiana; Dallas, Texas; Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Menominee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Batavia, Illinois and back to Crystal Lake.

All of Vet-Teks trucks are 4 days of driving and 3 days of routine maintenance, giving the drivers 3 days where they may have additional training and just a time for rest and relaxation before heading out to their next destination.

In NASA Education’s Project Fresh Start program, those who are capable and have a desire to drive a truck are offered the opportunity to go through our CDL program. They drive with experienced drivers in the beginning.

“I promised in October, 2007 that by the end of this year, 2008, that I would have fifty trucks on the road and I believe we’ll make that very soon” Blanchard said. “Fifty trucks on the road equates to one hundred drivers or at least seventy-five participants from our program on the road working and receiving a competitive wage.”

“Through the devoted leadership of Ray Charlette, an Airborne Ranger of the U.S. Army, we were able to accomplish this feat in a matter of weeks,” he continued,” where normally it takes months to get all of the paperwork pushed through; trucks and trailers purchased, titled and registered. Ray was referred to us through the Illinois Department of Employment Securities/LVER, stating that he had a gentleman that was down on his luck, but had a successful CDL driving record and 22 years of trucking experience. So three weeks before Christmas, we brought Ray on board and the rest will make history.”

Ray told Blanchard, “I really appreciate this opportunity and I won’t let you and these guys (veterans in the program) down.”

More tomorrow about how Blanchard’s operation is helping veterans set up small businesses.

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The photo shows John Blanchard talking to a couple of volunteers at the the most recent Stand Down at Camp Algonquin.

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