Overdrive Magazine

June 2019

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10 | Overdrive | June 2019 What's known as the Stoop Family has its roots partly in the Youtube channel of Peekskill, New York-based trucker Fredrick Claxton, better known as "Choice M.A.S." (mind and spirit). In trucking since 2016 and an investor in two trucks, including a 2019 Freightliner Cascadia he drives, Claxton is under the authority of a small fleet pulling power only with Prime Inc. e flatbedder recent- ly acted on suggestions from the community he'd built via his Youtube stream, a grab bag of securement how-tos, opinion and more. "Subscribers in my live feeds," he says, "asked me to create a Zello channel." Zello is a smartphone app that allows for walkie-talkie push- to-talk functionality. "I was going to call it e Hangout," but seeing that name was taken, "I thought about where I used to hang out when I was young." at was on the front stoops of friends' and families' homes. e Stoop Family within Zello is today a lively group for business and personal discussion and connection, Claxton says. Aer a first in-person meet-up at the Mid-America Trucking Show last year, this year the group took up a homeless support initiative around the big show in Louisville, Kentucky. Aer raising close to $5,000 ahead of time, 10 truckers among them gathered in an Airbnb rental house. ey cooked all day Saturday and into the wee hours, followed by Sunday distribution to homeless Louisville residents of around 375 meals, as well as salads, cookies and care packages with bare essentials. "It was insane, but it was beautiful," Claxton says. "We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into." ey've set their sights on a similar Stoop meet-up in August at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas to turn things up a notch. Plans are to hire a caterer, and they've already started soliciting donations. Search "Truckers Feeding the Homeless" on Google for links to a website Claxton and company were close to finishing at press time. Mary Hooks grew up in Detroit. She was born on Christmas Eve. Her stepfather "had a couple Diamond Reo cabovers," she says. "Hauled grain and potatoes around Michigan. I was in awe of the way people treated him, the way he was respected and looked up to. I wanted that. If I didn't get to go with him be- cause of school or whatnot, I'd throw a fit 'til I slept in the truck out in the driveway." How she got into hauling cattle? "Christmas," as she later would be known on the CB, recalls: "I was told, 'You're a woman by yourself. Nobody's gonna load you.' You know. 'Nobody's gonna hire you.' Blah, blah, blah. I'm still doing it 26 years later, and most of them that said that have been out of the business for a long time. … "I still haul for some of the same people … who remember me from 20, 25 years ago. Back then, you could buffalo your way in and out of stuff a heck of a lot easier than you can to- day. Back in '93, '94, I was still pulling a chicken wagon. … "When I walked into Ross Dona- hue's office at D and D Cattle out of Speerman, Texas, I was 5 foot 8, and I weighed about 125 pounds. Ross didn't even want to admit he was Ross when I first walked in the door. It was a deer-in-the-headlights look. But some of his drivers, and people who were leased on, said 'Put her in a truck, Ross.' "at was the first job I ever had hauling cattle. I had a brown flattop with a four-and-a-quarter Cat and a 15-over. I learned a lot from a lot of people over the years. A lot. ere's people out there in Texas, most of them gone today, [who] are credit- ed for whom and what I've become today. Without them, I never would have made it." — "Long Haul Paul" Marhoefer 'Put her in a truck,' they said Truckers using major shows to feed the homeless Fredrick "Choice M.A.S." Claxton, founder of the Stoop Family, whose first homeless-support initiative kicked off this year around the Mid-America Trucking Show. Trucker Mary Hooks, pictured with her dog, Blair, is the lat- est trucker featured in "Long Haul Paul" Marhoefer's "Faces of the Road" series of profiles and oral histories. Find more via the Overdrive Extra blog at OverdriveOnline.com. Denise Marhoefer

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