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Centerline Shines a Spotlight on Shirley Purl

by Anna Mischke | Oct 27, 2017

steve and shirley2In It for the Long Haul

A match made by good friends, Steven and Shirley Purl finally met after many long conversations when he drove across the states to surprise her at her work. Seven years later, they’re still together and happier than ever.

Shirley has been a strong advocate of Centerline since her husband, Steven, began working with us in April 2016 after nineteen years of driving. We wanted to better understand her life as a significant other of one of our drivers and we couldn’t think of anyone better to chat with than Shirley. She shared the history of trucking in her life, from her brother Richard who was “born to be a trucker”, a grade-schooler who was reprimanded for making loud truck noises in the school hallways! Shirley is proud to have family who work so diligently in a sometimes challenging industry that literally moves the country. 

Shirley shared an example of how she felt Centerline was different from other trucking companies they had worked with in the past. When Steve began the hiring process, they thought it was lengthy and daunting at first but soon found it was for the benefit of everyone involved. They began to understand that Centerline chooses only the best drivers to place behind the wheel and because of this, are confident when Steve goes out on the road. They felt that the recruiter, Tracy Hunt, had their best interest at heart and encouraged Steve throughout the employment process.

Before Steve joined the Centerline team, he was involved in a terrible accident. The asphalt under his truck gave way and crumbled and he fell through, strapped in his truck with the seatbelt around his neck. He was airlifted to a hospital in Memphis where Shirley drove an excruciating eight hours to see him. During the entire ordeal, not once did she hear from the company he was driving for, only strained calls from worker’s comp. She was disappointed to say the least, so when Sheila Castaneda called Shirley directly after Steve began working for Centerline, it was a welcome and appreciated change.

Sheila wanted to ensure that Shirley felt comfortable with Steve taking a long term assignment which would require him to be away from home for an extended period of time; for someone who had experienced loneliness when her SO was on the road, it meant the world to be asked. Even her brother was flabbergasted that a driving company would be so considerate. Shirley used to worry about Steve driving for too many hours with the potential of faulty equipment, a few texts messages was the only way to connect with each other. She says that since Steve has been with Centerline, she has been less worried. She makes sure to share their personal experiences with Centerline on a Facebook group page for the significant others of truck drivers.

Not only does Shirley feel like Steve is being taken of, she feels supported as well. She shared a personal experience of theirs that she remembers well. Shirley celebrates another year of sobriety every June 18th and for the 10th year, Steve gifted her with a gorgeous motorcycle. When the big day came to reveal her gift, Steve was willing to share the reasoning for the special occasion when he requested time off. When he was given the day off to celebrate, they both felt completely supported by their family at Centerline: something they were extremely appreciative of.

Over time, Shirley has gotten used to the ins-and-outs of life alongside a truck driver. She would go for days without hearing from her brother and before text messaging and cell phones were as prevalent as they are now, she would stay at home waiting all day for his call. Things are easier now with the evolution of technology allowing more communication. Now, she will occasionally take time to visit Steve wherever he is, she’s visited all but three states: Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. Her favorite being Minnesota, for hosting landscape to so many stunning lakes, particularly Lake Superior. Shirley hopes to visit Santa Ana to connect in person with the Centerline team: to meet Sheila, Annie, and Jimmy - the faces at Centerline that make her feel like family.

Shirley’s parting words of wisdom for anyone whose other half just began their time in the trucking industry: try and go out with them and see what their day-to-day is like. You’ll have a stronger appreciation of their intense, sometimes dangerous work, worry less when they can’t pick up the phone, and help you connect with them as they continue to move America.


Leave a comment
  1. Cj eluzai | Nov 07, 2017
     thank you Centerline drivers safety place for work since I've been working with Centerline drivers good environment and Safety First and I appreciate that can't wait to get to work 
  2. Anna | Oct 31, 2017
    Amazing story and commitment, Shirley and Steve! Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
  3. Sheila Castaneda | Oct 30, 2017
    Shirley and Steve, we are very proud to have you both on our team, our Centelrine family. Thank you for such kinds words. We appreciate you so much. Love the story and congrats on your sobriety and this great spotlight!!
  4. John osinski | Oct 30, 2017
    Thank you for that heartfelt story of your family it's good to know that Centerline is behind their drivers I cannot wait to get back to work for Centerline in the future
  5. John osinski | Oct 30, 2017
    That was a very touching story I can't wait to get back with Centerline in the future thank you for that heartfel
    t message of a family

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