According to American Trucking Association, nearly 70 percent of American freight is transported by truck. Semi-tractor trailers have become ubiquitous on U.S. highways, with the country’s economy relying heavily on the trucking industry.
This comes with a price for drivers. During the long stretches of time they spend on the road, they face family problems and poor health, among numerous other issues. As steel mills have struggled in recent years, truck drivers like Pete Douglas, who has hauled steel since the 1980s, have been particularly hard hit. Along with a decline in business, Pete says he faces rising expenses, lower pay, and increasing regulations.
Transport For Christ (TFC), an international trucker ministry, is a source of support for drivers like Pete. TFC has placed at least 28 mobile chapels at truck stops around the United States, including at the TA Travel Center in Lodi, Ohio, which Pete visits relatively regularly. The chapels provide Bible study, worship services, counseling from volunteer chaplains – and, perhaps most prominently, a space for drivers to decompress and seek support through the difficulties of their lives on the road. “It’s kind of like McDonald’s,” said TFC chaplain Jason Nussbaum. “You go where the people are going to be.”
Parts of this story were photographed for the AARP.