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Clear Spring trucker is a champion

October 10, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Bill Grove might be a nationally recognized champion trucker but this Clear Spring resident said it's more important to him that he is a safe and alert trucker.

"I try to be a good driver every day," he said. "You always want to do the best you can. It is important to always be alert, know your routes and get enough rest."

In September, Grove competed in the 2006 National Truck Driving Championships in New Orleans and finished 39th in the straight truck class.

A Penske Logistics truck driver based in Chambersburg, Pa., Grove earned entry to the national event sponsored by the American Trucking Association after capturing his first Pennsylvania state title earlier this year.

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A total of 382 truck drivers competed in the 69th annual national competition known as the Super Bowl of Safety. Grove said more than 6,300 truck drivers tried out for the New Orleans contest.

"I felt proud that I made it there," Grove said. "It was a really good experience and I learned a lot from it.

The driver's skill levels were put to the test in several categories, which included navigating challenging curves on an obstacle course, safety knowledge, approximating distances while reversing and parking their rigs in a variety of scenarios.

"We are delighted with Bill's performance this year at both the state and national level," said Terry Miller, Penske Logistics executive vice president of operations. "Bill is a skilled driver, and he has represented us well among the best truck drivers in the country."

Jeff Maerki, logistics center manager and Grove's supervisor, said he, too, was proud of the accomplishment of his veteran driver.

Grove, 46, has worked for Penske for 3 1/2 years. He has been a truck driver for 18 years. This was his first appearance nationally and second at the state level.

He estimates he travels about 320 miles a day in his job. But the nice thing is he gets to come home each night.

"My dispatcher in Chambersburg, Connie Shoemaker, first told me about the competitions," Grove said.

He said he plans to keep competing since he found it to be rewarding.

Born in Trenton, N.J., Grove was raised in Hagerstown. He moved to the Clear Spring area about 17 years ago.

He and his wife, Dee, have two children, both of whom attend Clear Spring schools. Justin is 16 and Missy is 15.

Grove said he enjoys living in the mountainous area around Clear Spring. His hobbies include hunting and camping with his family.

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