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My Origin Story (Part One)

Discover the intriguing Origin Story Part 1 with captivating insights and revelations.

Origin Story Part One

I’m currently exploring my calling, driven by the desire to make a meaningful impact. Inspired by the greatest individuals throughout history, I aim to contribute to something greater than myself.

Will Smith

During my childhood, the arrival of cattle trucks at our farm twice a year was a highly anticipated event. These trucks, adorned with lights, sleepers, stacks, shiny wheels, and the complete package, never failed to captivate my imagination.

At the age of 14, I embraced a new role as a junior firefighter within our local volunteer fire department. This experience was truly exceptional. Riding in the fire trucks, responding to wildland fires, and providing support with tools and supplies allowed me to actively participate. From dragging hoses to carrying air tanks and fetching supplies from the medical unit, I was fully engaged. Post-mission tasks included washing and rolling up hoses, returning them to the trucks, but the highlight was undoubtedly riding in the trucks. Occasionally, we even had the privilege of running the sirens and adjusting the light patterns—truly an awesome experience!

Upon turning 18, I set my sights on obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive 18-wheelers. Diligently studying and successfully passing the written tests at the DMV, I proudly acquired my Class A CDL permit. Employed by the Basin Coop agriculture company in their feed mill, I embarked on deliveries and received training from one of their top drivers.

The memory of my first solo trip remains vivid—I drove at around 35 mph, feeling like I was soaring. Navigating that colossal rig was a far cry from sitting in the passenger’s seat. A mix of excitement and fear flooded my mind—what had I just committed to? Could I really do this?

In no time, I mastered the art of shifting gears seamlessly, handling both upshifts and downshifts effortlessly.
The day I took my CDL skills test, the weather was bone-chilling—a freezing -5 degrees! Despite the extreme cold, I completed the vehicle inspection section. However, as we drove to the test site, my truck encountered an issue, gelling up and refusing to run properly. Nervously, I thought I had just failed the test. The tester, however, remained calm and reassured me, saying, ‘No big deal, brother. Things happen. You’re a pretty good driver even with your truck not running right.’
We resolved the issue and completed the test.


Now, I proudly hold my Class A CDL.

Little did I anticipate that the next 10 years would be spent trying to transition away from trucks—a humorous twist! While I enjoyed driving, I eventually decided to shift gears in my career and operate machinery instead. Despite changing jobs several times to become an equipment operator, fate seemed to have other plans, and I invariably ended up back in a truck. Just my luck!

After some time, I secured a position with the local county as an Equipment Operator II. However, I observed a prevailing sense of contentment among my colleagues, with most merely collecting their bi-weekly paychecks. Only a select few ever rose to leadership positions.
Driven by a desire to contribute more to our community, I identified a need: there was only one CDL tester in southwest Colorado. Convinced that God had called me to become a tester, I initiated the process.
Initially, I confided in only my wife about my aspirations, perhaps as a buffer in case of failure.

After a week of exhaustive research during every spare moment, I located the right contact in the CDL department in Colorado. Upon reaching them miraculously, I learned that the journey ahead wouldn’t be easy. First, I had to find a CDL testing unit willing to accept me as a potential tester. Then, I would need to cover my expenses to travel to Denver and undergo a full week of training.
Doubts started to creep in. Our financial situation was challenging, with an annual household income of less than $35,000. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how we were making ends meet. Credit for our survival goes entirely to my wife and God for keeping us afloat.

Nevertheless, I persevered with the idea. I arranged a meeting with the testing unit, followed by a meeting with their sole other tester in the entire region. The decision to accept me rested entirely with her. Nervously, we met for coffee, and I presented my best self.
The uncertainties loomed—what if she didn’t like me or didn’t want competition in her territory? Would she oppose my entry?
After about two weeks and 20 calls to the CDL testing unit, they informed me that they would accept me as a tester under their unit. The only remaining step was to coordinate the training with the state.
I reached out to the Colorado CDL testing department to finalize the details. Now, the challenge was sourcing funds to cover the trip to Denver and take a full week off work.
Fortunately, I had about four weeks of accumulated vacation, easing the time-off dilemma. To finance the journey, we secured a loan from my parents, enabling me to purchase a one-way plane ticket to Denver. The plan was for my family to drive up, and we would all return home together after the training.
The next puzzle to solve was accommodation for the week. Affording a hotel and rental car would add to the costs.

Once again, doubt seeped into my mind. Why am I putting my family through this while pursuing knowledge? Am I capable of passing this course? Don’t waste your time; you won’t succeed.
Suppressing those thoughts, I turned to one of my wife’s stepmom’s cousins, who happened to live in the area. A big shout-out to Megan! Your assistance meant the world to us.
Megan graciously offered to pick me up from the airport, host me for the week, and even let me use her car since she was away for work during that time.
This turned out to be a true blessing, and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything she did for us.
Following an intense week of training, grappling with numerous doubts, and enduring the longest time away from my family since our marriage, I achieved official status as a CDL tester for the State of Colorado!
Little did I anticipate the profound impact that single step would have on my life.

The story continues in part 2.

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