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8/15/2014 3:30:00 PM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Not Even Cancer Can Keep YRC’s Messmer From Competing in NTDC

John Sommers II for TT

YRC Freight driver David Messmer’s name was on the list of competitors for the Arizona Truck Driving Championships, but the day of that event all eyes were on the doors as they began to close for the start of the competition.

“We thought he’d decided not to come,” said Messmer’s friend and fellow YRC driver, Gregory Nauertz, recalling that day.

Five weeks earlier, doctors had cut a tumor from Messmer’s brain, and the week before the championships, he’d started chemotherapy.

At the last minute, though, in walked Messmer.

Photo: David Messmer wearing a dark cap surrounded by family and friends at NTDC including his mother, wife Tricia and daughters Kylee and Megan.

“He just doesn’t have any quit in him,” Nauertz said of his friend.

Messmer did more than show up — he won first place in the 3-axle division, which sent him to the National Truck Driving Championships this week in Pittsburgh.

“This is my fifth time in the nationals,” said Messmer, 45, who despite medical treatments still to come, completed all the competition, the written test, the pre-trip check and the driving.

Ask Messmer how he’s found the strength, despite an infection that recently hospitalized him, to continue competing and he’s modest about the bar he’s set for determination and courage.

“It can be anybody’s day on the course,” he said. “All these guys are professionals. You can practice all you want, doesn’t mean you’re going to score high. Or you can practice not at all, and you can score high.”

At the nationals, though, Messmer’s example of determination has clearly touched the trucking community.

He can’t stand in a hotel lobby or on the Pittsburgh convention center floor without passing truckers patting him on the shoulder or saying an encouraging word as they go by.

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By Michele Fuetsch
Staff Reporter

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