155: The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund

This week on the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett chats with Shannon Currier and Lindsey Bryan of the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to over-the-road and regional truck drivers who have experienced short-term illness or injury. During this conversation, the group talks about the history and mission of the organization, the qualifications for receiving assistance, the importance of preventive health programs, and more.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • History and Mission of the St. Christopher Fund (2:23)
  • Qualifications for receiving assistance (5:16)
  • Common health issues among truck drivers (10:46)
  • Funding for the St. Christopher’s Fund (12:38)
  • Preventive health programs (18:01)
  • The importance of preventive maintenance in our health (22:21)
  • Final thoughts and closing remarks (25:58)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Shannon Currier  00:05

I realized that a lot of these drivers were losing everything they had because of a short term injury or illness. They were losing their homes, they were losing their trucks and I had nothing to go back to. And I decided, You know what we need to put together a nonprofit that can be a safety net for these drivers. And we have the St. Christopher Fund that our name comes from the patron saint of travel, St. Christopher. That’s where the name came from. John says the trucking industry is on the road a lot. The patron saint of travel is known in the you know, industry and has been for a long time and so let’s go with the St. Christopher truckers really fun.

Jeremy Kellett  00:47

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley trucking headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner operators and their families by giving them up to date information concerning Oakley trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories, also to give an insight to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Okay, let’s get it cranked up here at the Mid America Truck Show. Got another guest coming to you, man. We have been having some great guests to sit down with us and do this Oakley podcast. It’s just been fantastic. really gets me excited being at the show and finding things that help owner operators in general telling good stories about things that happen. I mean, for truck drivers and independent contractors especially and that’s what we have here today. So I have another guest. And her name is Shannon Courier and she is with the St. Christopher fine. And she’s an old pro at this. So she’s done these interviews before telling us about the St. Christopher’s fun. Now I know it’s been around a long time. I was actually talking to her a while ago before we started. You know, back when I was advertising with Dave Nemo, on the Dave Nemo show. I remember talking about the St. Christopher fun, and I never did get into exactly what it is. But that was years ago. So it’s been around a while Hannah Shannon,

Shannon Currier  02:12

we’re actually celebrating 15 years this year. So it’s pretty exciting. That

Jeremy Kellett  02:16

is exciting. Now what’s it got to? We were talking about Dave Nemo, so he’s got so he part of it

Shannon Currier  02:23

just a tiny part. He’s a tiny part of our organization, Dave Nemo, and of course his business partner, Michael Burns at Radio Nemo, along with Dr. John. Who is everybody? If you listen to XM radio and you listen to Nemo, you’re going to hear Dr. John on there a lot. The three of them are the founders of our organization. So they played a little part in what we’re doing.

Jeremy Kellett  02:45

That is a part right there. They probably helped get it off and running. They did.

Shannon Currier  02:50

So you know Dave has been on the radio for 50 years. He’s been talking to drivers a long time. And John’s been working with drivers. He works with trucking companies. He’s their medical director. So he has talked to drivers. And he gets on the radio and answers questions that people may have about, you know, health issues and where they should go, what they should do, that kind of thing. And they realized that a lot of these drivers were losing everything they had, because of a short term injury or illness. They were losing their homes, they were losing their trucks, and I had nothing to go back to. And they decided, You know what we need to put together a nonprofit that can be a safety net for these drivers. And so they got together and talked about, you know, how do we make it happen? What do we call it? And we have the St. Christopher fun as our name. We get asked a lot if we are a religious organization. We are not religiously affiliated. You don’t have to have a bank. Well, they are Catholic. Okay, so the n has always been known for years and years. The patron saint of travel is St. Christopher. So that’s where the name came from. John says that the trucking industry, they are on the road a lot. The patron saint of travel is known in the you know, industry and has been for a long time. And so let’s go with the St. Christopher truckers. It’s really fun. And so that’s how we got started. And that’s good night. Yeah, it’s a great name. It’s perfect. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  04:14

So you guys, I mean, we have helped a lot of people over the last 15 years, I’m sure a lot of truck drivers. And I’m assuming this it’ll just limited to truck drivers

Shannon Currier  04:24

that yeah, yes, it is. So you have to be for our organization. We’re very focused. And from day one, they had their mission very focused. So we help class CDL holders over the road or regional truck drivers, not local drivers and the reason they did that is because the over the road drivers were the ones that were not able to get home on a regular basis. There was no health care on the road, and they would put off taking care of themselves because they couldn’t get home. And so that’s been the mission from day one over the road and regional drivers because they face different obstacles. holes than the local drivers do. Sure. And so that’s what our focus is, it does have to be an illness or an injury that took that driver off the road, we have drivers call and say, Well, I’m not getting any miles or my trucks broken down in all dark, terrible situations, we wish we could help in every situation. But we can say there has to be an injury or an illness within the last year that took that driver off the road causing financial difficulty. And a lot of the drivers have insurance. And even if you have insurance to cover the medical issue, if you don’t have income, you can’t pay your household expenses. So we don’t pay medical bills. A lot of people think we do because it’s injury or illness related, but we don’t pay medical bills. Honestly, we’d be out of business, if we did that a long time ago, because medical bills are so high. So what we’re really trying to do is make sure people have a home, we’re going to make sure that you have a vehicle or truck to go back to work. And we want to make sure you’re not sitting there with no utilities in your home, but want to make sure insurance stays in force. So those are the four areas that we give assistance in. And we don’t give any money directly to the driver. We pay those Bill holders directly. Again, we did that for two reasons. Yeah, of course, one the obvious. Yes. One the obvious. We want it to go for what we say it’s going forward. But two, by the time drivers come to us, they’re sometimes in crisis situations. And when you have people coming at you all different Bill holders, you’re like, What do I pay? What do I not pay? They’re already under enough stress. Send us the bills. Here’s what we can pay. Tell us how much he won’t pay. You know, you’ve been approved for X amount of dollars. Do you want it to pay your mortgage? Do you want it paid for by your utilities? Do you want us to split it up? We’ll take care of it. You worry about getting better? Who’s screaming the loudest? Well, and a lot of times, that’s medical people. That’s why some of these drivers were losing their homes and trucks, because the medical bills were screaming the loudest. But we have to tell people, please don’t lose your home over a medical bill. I promise you, you can pay them $10 a month. Yes, they’re gonna hound you. But they’re not going to come take your home, please don’t lose your home over a medical bill.

Jeremy Kellett  07:12

Yeah, and you would think I mean, most people would make that right decision, but I guess sometimes not. And you have to help them. Is it hard to qualify for those funds?

Shannon Currier  07:22

Well, we have an online application. Now we can mail it or fax it if need be also is pretty intensive, we get audited every year to make sure we are following the rules that have been set. So we have to show we have to have a copy of your CDL, we have to show that you’re an over the road or regional driver, we have to show your income and outgo to make sure there is documented financial need. And then we request medical records because we also have to document it as a medical issue. And Dr. John is actually our volunteer medical director, he looks at all of the files and signs off and says this is what this driver is looking at, they’re probably going to be off six weeks, or maybe a driver has had a stroke, they might have to be out a year. Now our system is short term, it’s just for a month or two. But we also have hundreds of other resources. So if we know that drivers have to be off for a year, we’re going to say here’s how we can help. And here’s where you need to get them. Next are some additional assistance.

Jeremy Kellett  08:21

Oh, really? Yeah, you’re taking care of the short term, but you’re giving them direction, do something a lot longer, because there’s a lot of them nowadays, Shannon, that are all for a long time, long periods of time. We’re seeing that more and more, of course, as we grow as a trucking company with 850 owner operators. Now, you’re I mean, it’s a constant, there’s a percentage of people that are off because of health reasons, right? And down and you know, and they don’t have any income coming in. And it’s, you know, thank goodness, a lot of them can handle it, but a lot of cane it takes a toll on and I don’t know that they you know that they know a whole lot about the St. Christopher font, that’s an option for them to be able to fill out the application and at least see what they qualify for.

Shannon Currier  09:04

Yeah, you know, as long as you make those general first qualifications, you go to step two is get asked those initial questions when you go in to do the application. And as long as those answers are, yes, I’m a CDL. Holder. Yes, I’m going over their driver. Yes, it’s because of a medical issue. Take Shawn to the application, will talk to you, talk about your situation, figure out what’s going on and see if we can help and hopefully, if for some reason we can’t help. Hopefully we have another resource that we can send you to. So we’re always trying to add additional resources to our information. Also, we don’t want to just say, Sorry, we can’t help you and we don’t know what to tell you. We want to say here’s where you can go next. And that’s why things like this are so important because drivers can’t reach out to us for help if they don’t know we’re here, right.

Jeremy Kellett  09:56

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Shannon Currier  10:45

Absolutely. You know, when you start seeing hundreds of applications come in a year, we say we get about 40 a month that come in, you start seeing correlations, there’s smoking, and that might not be them. The things that we’re seeing might not be why the driver is calling us for assistance. But there’s these underlying things that have led to why they’re calling us. Smoking is one of those, obesity is one of those, diabetes is one of those, we also see a lot of cancer. Oh, really? A lot. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  11:20

That’s right. You know, that’s really not preventable in a lot of ways. Some of it, you know, some of it, I guess, is good preventive measure. But it’s, of course, what man, the smoking, obesity and diabetes is stuff that he’s controlled somewhat. I mean, to help you so you can help yourself,

Shannon Currier  11:39

you can help yourself. That’s where our health and wellness programs came from, honestly, is seeing these applications and what these drivers were facing. And we’re like, what can we do to help drivers make healthier decisions? You know, we don’t live in the truck, we’re not in the truck. We don’t know what it’s like, we don’t know how difficult it is. But there are things that you can do differently while you’re on the road. And so that’s where these programs came from. And they don’t always get their preventative care like those of us at home do. We go to our you know, six months checkup or once a year checkup? They don’t do that. And so another thing that we just launched actually, this month, we’re doing prostate cancer screenings because we say a lot of prostate cancer and robbers. Oh, really? Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  12:31

That is good. That’s a good benefit. And we’ll get into that with Lindsay here in a minute. Yeah, she’s got all the details and details on that. First, before we get to her What about I mean, how is St. Christopher’s fund funded? I mean, is it all the volunteers or

Shannon Currier  12:46

We are 100% donation based, so individual donations, corporate donations, and that’s my job directory, philanthropy as I get to ask people for money all day, every day, but even our health and wellness programs, those are funded by corporate sponsors that want to see healthier drivers. So that’s how we are able to offer those programs free of charge to drivers. So we have great supporters, we have been, I mean, hugely supported by drivers from day one. We have great corporate sponsors, we’ve helped now with what we’ve given out over $4.4 million, and I owe directly to those Bill holders for over 3700 drivers and 15 years. And you know, I always say we’re the facilitator of the funds. Everybody says, Oh, you do such great things. But we couldn’t do what we do if it weren’t for people being generous with their donations. And so we get to facilitate those donations, people trust us with that money, because we’re transparent about where it goes and what it’s used for. They trust us with those funds, and they know that it’s going back to the drivers that need it.

Jeremy Kellett  13:51

Well, that’s you’re very humbled, because, you know, that’s what you do more than facilitate. I mean, you make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. I know you take the money that’s given to you and put it in the right places, but there’s no telling how many good stories you have. could share with everyone. I know that that is something that, you know, I think people need to see and realize what is the end result, you know, for St. Christopher’s fun. If I’m, if I’ve benefited from it, what was my story? Do you have any of those stories on your website or anything?

Shannon Currier  14:25

Yeah, we do. So we have those on our website that is at Chuckers fund.org. And we share their ads on social media. So we’d love for people to connect with us. You know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, we’re at all the places. We’re trying to get better on TikTok we’re not quite there yet. But we do and not every driver wants to share their story.

Jeremy Kellett  14:46

Most embarrassed. I mean, there are a lot of it is it’s

Shannon Currier  14:49

just hard to be in the situation to call and ask for somebody for help. It’s difficult. It’s always easy to give.

Jeremy Kellett  14:57

Do you just have to make them take it sometimes?

Shannon Currier  15:00

We have people that will say, Oh, I told my friend to call you. And have they called yet? Well, I can’t really answer that question because it’s confidential when people apply for us, but they’ll say, I don’t think he’s called, will you call him? And I’ve reached out to people and said, Hey, I’ve, you know, told me what was going on, you should fill out an application. So, you know, I’m not above that. We want to help the drivers that need help. But sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. And, you know, we understand that, but that’s what we’re here for. So, let us do what we’re here for. Let us make things hopefully a little easier for you in times of crisis.

Jeremy Kellett  15:37

Yes, yes. Well, thank you for making a difference in a lot of people’s lives. A lot of truck drivers appreciate it too. Thank you. Let’s touch base with Lindsey.

Shannon Currier  15:45

All right, that sounds great.

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Jeremy Kellett  16:34

Okay, so we swapped seats. Here was St. Christopher fun, and we’re gonna visit with Miss Lindsay. Brian. Yes. Good. And with St. Christopher’s fun. And she’s in charge of the health and wellness, health and wellness. I’m sorry. That’s why we got everything. Health and wellness. Yes, part of Santa Cruz for fun. So tell us what you do there.

Lindsey Bryan  16:55

Yes. So this is my second week jumping in?

Jeremy Kellett  16:58

Second. Well, yes. And here we are. Oh, you’re thrown into the fire at the Mid America Truck Show.

Lindsey Bryan  17:04

But it has been great. Oh, boy, let

Jeremy Kellett  17:06

I ask you to answer that question: where is this your first Truck Show?

Lindsey Bryan  17:09

It is?

Jeremy Kellett  17:10

What do you think?

Lindsey Bryan  17:11

I love it. I love it. I have had experience with health and wellness expos in the past, and, you know, you just kind of get all different people. But I have met some incredible people here all just working towards the same mission of helping truckers. So do

Jeremy Kellett  17:28

you do this is kinda setting you up for this answer. But I mean, it goes I do it. Do you get here and you see everybody walking around and go, Oh, my gosh, these people, we got a lot of people here that need some help. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. But it’s known that a lot of truck drivers are not healthy. Yeah. And then you see it all in one place. And you’re like, Man, there is a need,

Lindsey Bryan  17:51

Yes, the demands of the job, unfortunately, set them up to not have the healthiest lifestyles. And that’s hopefully where I’m gonna come in and help to make

Jeremy Kellett  18:00

a difference. Oh, tell us about that.

Lindsey Bryan  18:01

What do you exactly do? Sure. So we have a number of different programs that we offer to cover all bases, really, one of the main ones is a diabetes prevention program, where I have a group that meets on Tuesday nights, and we’re hoping to expand that. But we talk about all the different things that go into helping to prevent diabetes, activity, nutrition, lifestyle, sleep, we talk about that a lot here the last couple of weeks, all the pieces that they would need to know to help set them up for success. And that’s tailored specifically to people who are living on the road.

Jeremy Kellett  18:34

So it gives them a way to do it while they’re on the road. Do you say every Tuesday night, every Tuesday night? How do they be part of that? Yeah,

Lindsey Bryan  18:42

so they can register on the website. There’s multiple courses. So we’ve got a year-long course that is actually set up by the CDC. And that is probably our most popular program. But we’ve also got some shorter versions. There’s one that’s called driven to be healthy. That’s a 12 week program where they can tune in whenever it’s convenient for them, and provide some of the same education of nutrition activity and lifestyle changes to live a healthier life.

Jeremy Kellett  19:07

Yeah, because you see it I guess, St. Christopher, fun season need for somebody like you now to not only help them financially, but if you can give them some some, you know,

Lindsey Bryan  19:18

preventative, that leads them from getting to that point. Yes, that’s the goal. Yeah, so those are a couple of programs that we offer, but we’ve got some others. One is a smoking cessation support system. So I basically am your buddy during that coating process. And we’ve had some really great sponsors that provide resources such as nicotine replacement therapies, like the patch and the lozenge. Grinds does like the coffee pouches so we’ve got a number of different things to help in that process. And then I’m there to check in person if how’s it going? What kind of barriers or challenges are we running into this week and I help to talk them through what are we going to do on a different road and not Kate? Thanks. Yes. There is the traffic. Yes. And other bad drivers on the road are some big triggers. So we work through that. One of our newest programs, it’s really cool. It’s still in the works. So there’s more things coming. But we’re doing preventative cancer screenings. So one that’s already up and running is actually prostate cancer screenings. And then we’ll have a few more coming in the future that will include cervical cancer screenings, and colon cancer screening. Where

Jeremy Kellett  20:26

Where do these take place? Yeah, so we

Lindsey Bryan  20:29

would hook them up with colon doc, and send them to wherever it’s convenient for them. And then, you know, we are not funding entirely so all of these programs are completely free to our truck drivers nation, really? Any of our over the road truck drivers?

Jeremy Kellett  20:45

When do they need to start that block? At what age? Or are there certain requirements to start these testing?

Lindsey Bryan  20:52

That’s a great question. We do not have any specific requirements. So what’s amazing is we know that these tests were needed. We have seen many stories that people who even said I didn’t really have any symptoms, there was no reason to test, it was just, hey, you’re about that age, you know, and we usually like that in middle age, but we’ve seen some younger cases that make us safe, okay, it’s time to go get checked. There’s no harm in just double checking. And the hope is that, of course, it’s clear, and you can breathe easily. But the next best scenario is we catch it early. When it’s treatable. before it becomes a really major issue.

Jeremy Kellett  21:34

We were somehow in Sunday school class, we got to talking about this testing and sick colonoscopy or somebody was sick or something. And I was like, and, you know, having issues and my family or nothing and my friend behind me, she said, Oh, you’re getting it done. You’re getting a colonoscopy done. I said, Oh, okay. You know, I’m 52 years old. Say, I got it done a couple of weeks ago. So man, that was easy. It wasn’t near what, you know, people make it out to be so

Lindsey Bryan  22:02

fun, certainly not terrible. And it’s certainly worth the peace of mind.

Jeremy Kellett  22:08

So worth it to get that done. And no one knows what’s going on? Don’t have to come back for five years. So, you know, that’s good. So yeah, everybody needs to have those things done and check out any preventive maintenance, I just got through talking about preventive maintenance on trucks. Well,

Lindsey Bryan  22:25

yes, yeah. Preventive maintenance on our bodies. Yes.

Jeremy Kellett  22:27

Because they’re all these guys. They are all about preventative maintenance on these trucks. Well, if they would do that to their bodies, life would be so much better. Exactly. Good either. But

Lindsey Bryan  22:39

I live a long life but also a good quality of life. And that takes a little

Jeremy Kellett  22:44

work. So what’s your background? You say? You’ve been with St. Christopher’s for two weeks, two weeks. So what’s your background?

Lindsey Bryan  22:51

So my degree is actually in psychology. And I started out in drug and alcohol counseling and social work. And then I transitioned at some point into nutrition counseling, just based on my own health experiences, I’ve got a couple of autoimmune disorders. And I saw just what a difference it made. Focusing on healthy eating, getting good quality sleep, getting in a reasonable amount of activity, and just what a difference that can make in managing autoimmune disorders. And so for the last eight years, I’ve been doing nutrition counseling. And I really love it. It’s amazing just how much it can play into taking care of the body, the preventative side of things, but also healing in some cases, too. So when we have surgery, our body just has specific nutritional needs to recover from that faster. And it’s amazing what food can do

Jeremy Kellett  23:41

for us. Yeah. And now you’ve transitioned into the trucker world into the trucker world. Well, it’s a great community. I’m here to tell you, you’re gonna learn a lot from these truck drivers. They’re fantastic people, you wouldn’t believe how smart they are. They are I mean, they’re just some, they’re just some geniuses, I mean, in all things alive, and they see so many things in their life, and you’ve educated me a lot over the years I’ve been in it. And I really admire them. I respect them.

Lindsey Bryan  24:11

Absolutely. They’ve got such big hearts, and they make such huge sacrifices for us. And when I was making the change, looking for the next step in my career, I knew I wanted to be with the nonprofit. And I knew I wanted a worthy cause I think it just, you know, it makes you feel good at the end of the day, but that takes everything else finding that joy in life and my joy is helping people and so I thought, what better cars these are people that support our day to day lives, getting food where it needs to go and goods and services and so yeah,

Jeremy Kellett  24:46

Welcome to the trucking world. We’re glad to have you thank you so much lease on with Oakley trucking America’s drop off call. Our owner operators are the top paid in the country and we will prove it to you. We offer steady year round freight as well as a yearly annual bonus and income He says each year you are leased to us. Oakley has multiple divisions and dumps Hopper bottoms and pneumatic. So we are sure to have something that works for your schedule and hometown. Check us out on YouTube as well as our weekly podcast or give us a call today and see why Oakley trucking was everything you have been looking for. Anything else you’d like to add? St. Christopher fun was

Lindsey Bryan  25:23

any of our programs, you can check them out on the website. And you can register for any of them there. But also there’s really thorough information. So if there’s anything that we’ve covered today that anybody has questions about or wants to learn about a little further, you can always check it out on the website. You can also email me and that’s good for truckers. fund.org.

Jeremy Kellett  25:43

Okay, we’ll be sure to put that up on the screen when we put this out so everybody can have it Wonderful. Thank you all for joining me. I appreciate it. Oh, yeah, it’s good, good stuff, good information, to help our owner operators and hopefully make them healthier. Absolutely. Thank you.

Lindsey Bryan  25:57

Thank you.

Jeremy Kellett  25:58

Thanks for listening to this episode with Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show in the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience. So if you’ve got a question, comment or just want to say hello, head over to our website, the Oakley podcast.com and click the leave a comment button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.