Alexander “Grey” Feaster has all the symptoms of a man in love. He can’t stop talking about the new lady in his life — her soft voice, her gentle ways, her natural beauty. Feaster, 39, just received the 2015 Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, the newest member of the J.B. Hunt Transport Services fleet.
Anthony Harris keeps his dog tags hanging inside his truck. Brent Stoufer and Joshua Matson wear camouflage ball caps while on their routes. All three have something in common: They are military veterans and are among the first drivers to participate in Hunt’s Heroes, a new program officially launched in April by J.B. Hunt Transport Services.
For most of the 20th century, blacks were buying one-way tickets out of the Jim Crow South in hopes of a better life. Nearly 6 million African-Americans followed the railroads to places like Detroit and Chicago, never dreaming that their children and grandchildren would someday lead a return migration, chasing the American dream back down the Mississippi and straight across the Mason-Dixon line.
It was well past dark when the man and the boy finally got the cattle unloaded. The road was empty and the man was tired. The boy had been driving farm trucks around the family ranch for several years. The boy was ready, the man figured. He handed over the keys and climbed into the passenger seat to catch some much-needed shuteye.
Last year, when James Seal left his job as an insulator at shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., he said goodbye to his Blue Cross Blue Shield plan. Since then, he and his wife have paid cash for medical care or visited the hospital emergency room. But mostly, they’ve gritted their teeth through health challenges. It is a strategy that has worked for the most part.
Why dwell on Katrina, people asked. Everything turned out OK, in some cases better than OK, people said. But they were not here. They did not see. They cannot know. They do not care. The things I heard, the things I saw while covering the coast after Katrina are things I don’t think I will ever forget.