This summer marked the tenth year since Don’s passing. In his memory I had Barnsley England artist Fiona Stephenson create a mascot for our new AE1 HMI Combo Truck. So why create this image that depicts a not so readily recognizable Don?
Many of you remember him as the big guy, always at the big desk, with the phone in one hand and a Coca Cola in the other. While he loved his work, from as far back as I can remember when my father finally did make it home in the evening, he was up most of the night, either still on the phone or doing his quotes. Rarely eating a complete meal, the Coke now replaced with Maalox washed down assorted medications that probably contributed to his chronic nausea and insomnia.
It was astonishing, that given the endless demands of the business and its ever-needy participants he endured and functioned as many years as he did, though from young age he was accustomed stress. My father’s tough start in life began with losing his mother and sister, followed by growing up with an alcoholic father and stepmother. Later, after their secret marriage got out, both Don and my mother they were fired from there jobs because, being married was not conducive to the life of a travelling salesman and back then airlines didn’t allow their stewardesses to be married. His fortuitous career began while unemployed, at home, with baby John, with his brother Ross recommending and facilitating a job in Advertising.
Throughout his long career he always had a core of loyal employees that were obsessed with trying to support and protect him, even if it at times it required coming between the dragon and his wrath. Above all we wanted him to be happy, so to guarantee this is how he is portrayed, I have taken him back to a time, he always fondly recounted, his days at Brantford High, in uniform, playing football with his buddies.