“Hi! My name is Elmer Martin and I’m a staff chaplain with Open Road Chapels. I make my home in Bowmanville, Ont. and I also work at Open Road’s Bowmanville location at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop.
I’ve worked with the company part-time since 1992 and have been a full-time employee since 1995.
I drove a truck locally for about 25 years and I still have my A/Z licence today. I got involved meeting with fellow Christian truckers back in 1973, well before I got involved with Open Road Chapels. We would meet at different people’s homes for coffee and dessert and just Christian fellowship in general. My cousin was the one who actually got me involved, when one day we were meeting at someone’s house near the 401 and said, “Look at all those trucks heading up and down the road. They don’t even know we’re here.” It made me think I wanted to get out there and do something.
Open Road’s executive director Don Harrison invited me to come on board in ’92. At first, I just volunteered with my wife for a weekend every month, but it obviously increased from there. I was still a truck driver at that point so it was hard working those weekends and then sometimes getting up at 4 a.m. to deliver a load. I haven’t really driven during the last 10 years.
I probably started reading Truck News back when it started in 1981. I’ve been reading trucking magazines since the mid-’70s. I like to read about new products and what’s new with equipment like the 2007 engines – even though I’m not a really technical person by nature. Even though I’m not in the industry anymore, I still like to keep up on what’s going on, and I do everything I can to read both books and magazines as much as I can. I like going to truck shows like the Fergus Truck Show, though I think it’s getting far too big.
When I’m not working as a chaplain, my wife and I like going for a drive out by the water or out into the country to visit my brother’s farm.
When I’m working at Open Road Chapels I don’t do counselling per se. I like to think of myself more as a listening ear. It’s not so much that we’re out here to help people solve their problems, but if you have a problem or just want to talk, come on in and let’s have a coffee. I used to drive a truck so I know what you guys are going through. It can be lonely and stressful out there; lay it on me.”
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