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Trucking for troops

EDMONTON, Alta. - Truck drivers perform a vital service, often under difficult circumstances, but there's a group that performs what many consider an even more important service under even worse conditions. And there's a trucking company that's...

EDMONTON, Alta. – Truck drivers perform a vital service, often under difficult circumstances, but there’s a group that performs what many consider an even more important service under even worse conditions. And there’s a trucking company that’s doing its best to make sure no one forgets about them.

The group in question, of course, is the Canadian Armed Forces, a collection of folks who put their lives on the line so the rest of us don’t have to.

Carl Rosenau, head of Rosenau Transport, an Edmonton-based carrier with terminals in all four western provinces, not only proclaims proudly his unqualified support for the Canadian Armed Forces, he’s putting his money where his mouth is by deploying a specially-designed trailer to honour the troops.

“We try to support the troops as much as we can,” Rosenau says, noting that his company has been donating football and hockey tickets to the troops as one way of thanking them. He wanted to do something more visible, however, so he commissioned the decorating of a brand new trailer that has become a huge, rolling tribute to Canada’s Army, Navy and Air Force.

It was all done without official sanction, though that wasn’t by design.

“We’ve been trying to get this done for a year and a half, maybe two years,” he says, “and we could never get permission from anybody. We never did get permission from anybody. We talked to Colonels, Staff Sergeants, and nobody could give me the answer that it’s okay to do it. I just got up one day and said ‘To hell with it,’ and we just did it. I don’t think anyone’s going to tell me to take (the decals) off.”

The trailer isn’t used to haul freight but, rather, it’s meant to be taken to various shows, parades and the like. The company had it on display at September’s National Truck Driving Championships in Calgary, for example, which was one of its first appearances. It has also been in Lloydminster, Cold Lake, Fort McMurray and Medicine Hat in Alberta, as well as Swift Current, Sask. Rosenau’s “Force-ful” statement was also on-hand when artist Dave Sopha’s Portraits of Honour mural made its way through southern Alberta in mid-September, participating in a bit of a parade from Lacombe, Alta. to Medicine Hat.

As with its appearance at the Nationals, Rosenau’s ‘Support our Troops’ truck was driven in the Portraits of Honour procession by Carl Rosenau’s nephew, Michael ‘Motor’ Rosenau, owner/operator of MTR Transport. The younger Rosenau’s day job consists of doing pickup-and-delivery in the Calgary area under contract with Rosenau, but he’s happy to take time some off to drive his uncle’s tribute trailer.

“Canadian and US soldiers are risking their lives for our freedom and everyone should remember that as they walk down the street,” Motor says. “Don’t take that for granted.”

Rosenau’s rolling remembrance is usually driven by staff out of the company’s Edmonton headquarters.

“We get a lot of our guys volunteering to pull it around and they do it with pride,” Carl Rosenau says.

Rosenau isn’t a veteran himself, but supporting the troops and the reasons for which they fight is a cause that’s near and dear to his heart. He wants to do even more for Forces members as well. “We’re trying to find jobs at Rosenau for troops who are coming home,” he says. “There’s a bunch of them coming home and they don’t have any jobs to come home to. We’ve already got our arm in the air and registered with the Forces base saying ‘Come on over to our place. We’re hiring’.”

At the least, Rosenau says, it’s something for returning members to think about. “If you’ve been driving over in Afghanistan, you might want to carry on doing it back here at home. Who knows?” Carl reasons.

Not surprisingly, reaction from public has been good so far. “We’ve gotten e-mails from people who’ve seen it and said it looks great and they appreciate that we’re doing it,” Rosenau says. “We got one from someone whose son was an amputee; you just about choke on tears when you read that letter. It’s phenomenal, the response we’re getting.”

Rosenau says he plans to keep the unit going as long as he can. There’s no charge for the truck to make an appearance. “You just call for it and if we can, we’ll show up with a truck and a driver,” Rosenau says.

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