Not many people drive 600 miles on the average working day, including 11 hours of driving time.. Such is true, however, for one of Zion’s newest members, Jo James, who joined Zion thru Adult Instruction and was recognized as a member October 19, 2015. She is a close friend of Traci Schlueter, who encouraged her to come to Zion. Jo is a native of Audubon county where her father farmed and worked at various jobs. Her mother was a stay at-home-mom. She is the 2nd oldest of 9, with 7 brothers and one sister, all of whom live in the area. She is a 1974 graduate of Exira. Jo spent some time in Nebraska and West Virginia, before moving back to the Atlantic area in 1983. She has worked at various jobs, including doing a lot of cooking. In 2000 she began trucking, which seems to run in the family. All of her family have driven trucks, except her mom. 4 years ago she bought her own truck. She now drives for Selden Trucking out of Shelby, Nebraska. Jo has a dedicated run each trip, which means she is home every night. She drives to either Waterloo, Columbus Junction or Perry and picks up pork and delivers it to Fremont, Nebraska. Her “handle” while trucking is “Powderpuff” She once won the powder puff races for ladies.
While on her runs her constant companion is her dog “Mouser” a miniature Chihuahua. Mouser is ready to go each traveling day. Jo also spends a lot of time listening to books on tape. She can download them from the library and play them through her radio. She has to keep careful track of her driving time, since it is electronically recorded and there is an 11 hour a day driving limit. Jo is an “owner-operator” which means if she doesn’t do a run, she doesn’t get paid. Her company is good about helping her with breakdowns etc. She has not had an accident in her years of driving.
Jo’s children include daughter Stacy VanAernam, married to Alan, who have 5 children and also foster children, who they might adopt. She lives next door to Jo. . Also, John Bengel in Atlantic with 2 children; Chris Bengel married to Erica with 3 girls and Cody James with 4 kids in Atlantic. Jo has 2 great grandchildren and 2 more on the way. She used to sew, making several quilts as Christmas gifts. Her vacations have been primarily to Branson. However, through her work, she has been in every state except Washington and Oregon. She is looking forward to retirement in a few years. On the weekends when she is home, you will find her in Sunday morning church and Bible Class. We welcome her into the Zion family.