In our daily travels as drivers we are often ignored, or treated in ways that are less than respectful by others that we meet in our travels. It is truly a blessing to find those places that treat drivers with respect and a true compassion. I will try and feature a few of these places, and individuals each year as I find them in my travels.
The first one I wish to focus on is the Road Angel just off exit 68 near Brownstone, Illinois. This facility is run by the Association of Christian Truckers, I first found it about 6 years ago when I was passing through the area. It is a place ran by volunteers for the benefit of the drivers. All Professional drivers are warmly welcomed regardless of faith or beliefs. They have free shower, and laundry facilities, Wi-Fi access, and paved well lit parking, as well as offering drivers meals on a donation basis. You will never leave hungry from the Road Angel if they can help it.
For those concerned that you will be preached to during your entire visit that from my experience is not the case. If you have an interest in discussing faith issues they are more than willing to discuss it with you. Their focus is on serving the physical needs of the drivers and letting the drivers know they are there if they should desire more. They are friendly and caring without being pushy or preachy.
The staff has been known to help drivers who are broke down with minor repairs, or to transport them to a nearby (aka Chicago) transportation hubs to help them get transportation to home or a new job. In addition if drivers need anything they will do their best to accommodate those needs, even those who may be stranded at the nearby state scale. Up to and including taking drivers food and beverages if needed.
They do this out of a concern for their fellow man, and drivers. Most if not all the staff have either driven big trucks, or have been involved in the industry in some manner. In my opinion this gives them a unique position to understand what drivers are going through and to lend the encouragement many drivers both old and new need after a long day. After all what is better than an understanding meal and a hot meal that is far better than what can be found in most any truck stop.
The one thing they do ask is that if anyone can help with a donation of time, materials, or financial, that they do so. The donations help them to serve the needs of the drivers. One thing I truly love about this place is not matter how busy the truck stops around Effingham or St. Louis have become I can always find a parking spot at this location. The parking is safe and well lit and I have never had to worry about lot lizards, or other things disturbing my rest.
The next time your on I-70 in Illinois and need a place for a break whether 30 minute or over night, consider stopping at the Road Angel. Also to those of you whom do not drive a truck and read this blog. Please consider doing something nice for a truck driver even if it is just buying them a cup of coffee it will be greatly appreciated and may make their day!!!