Trucker Encourages Healthy Lifestyle, Puts Down Stereotypes

Special Report: Road Warriors Part 2

Trucker Donny Sazama says he’s gone through some ups and downs in his life, “I sobered up. I got off of drugs and sobered up in 2005.”

As a trucker at Halvor Lines in Superior, he’s turned his life around.

“I found myself being sober after a year and wondering what do I do now?” Sazama said.

While cheering on family at Grandma’s Marathon he had a revelation, “I was looking back and forth and all these people were yelling and cheering and these runners they looked like they were half dead and they were running by me.”

He says the magic he felt at the finish line made him change his life.

“I decided right then and there that I’m gonna run this thing next year,” Sazama said.

However, it wasn’t an easy road.

“When I started running I was smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes a day,” explained Sazama.

Little by little the slight changes became a lifestyle.

“Instead of going to the fast food joints I would maybe eat some chicken,” Sazama said of his change in eating.

Now he’s somewhat of a mentor at Halvor Lines.

“Me? I’m not a dietitian, I’m not a doctor, you know I can’t tell anybody what to do, I can just tell people what I have done,” Sazama tells us.

A health and wellness program at the company continues to drive truckers along the healthy route.

“You have your ones that are sort of set in their ways and then you have the ones that really want to make that change,” said Health and Wellness Assistant Katie Tarnowski.

Sazama believes basic changes he made can be a reality for anyone.

“I decided I’m not gonna drink anymore energy drinks, I’m just gonna try eating leafy greens, I’m gonna eat white meat, I’m gonna eat more vegetables, apples and that’s what I did and I lost 9 pounds in 10 days,” Sazama said.

By walking around the grocery store he found perfect options for when he’s on the road.

“They have all different kinds of different flavors and varieties of rice that are already pre-made, they’re already precooked, all you have to do is put them in the microwave for a minute,” Sazama said.

To fully make a change, he knows exercise is vital.

“Walk briskly, we have bicycles that we can take with us, they have fat tire bikes now that you can ride in the winter time,” suggested Sazama.

Drivers can even watch regular workouts by Tarnowski.

“So they can do their workouts and I’m kind of demonstrating the workouts for them and they kind of do it along with me,” said Tarnowski.

These drivers are fighting stereotypes one day at a time.

“For me to see how much effort they put in is really rewarding,” said Tarnowski.