This month’s creation was built for Patrick Benard (47) of Alpharetta, GA. Growing up on the mean streets of Los Angeles, his childhood was not easy, but he never let that slow him down or become a crutch. Over the years, opportunities came his way and he made the most of them, which put him in the position to now have this cool truck, which he ordered with a clear vision of what he wanted.
Married for just 5 years but together for 26, he and his wife Shanika have two sons – Patrick Jr. (8) and Kenzo (4). After working as a Deputy Juvenile Correctional Officer for 15 years, Shanika is now retired and enjoys being a stay at home mom to their boys in Georgia, where they now live.
The oldest of four boys, Patrick grew up in Watts – a notoriously poor and gang-infested region of south-central L.A. made infamous by the riots there in 1965. After his father died unexpectedly in Mississippi, Patrick escaped “the projects” at the age of 23 when opportunities came his way. His mom still lives in California, but she too got out of Los Angeles.
When one of his grandma’s close friends (Miss Linda) passed away suddenly, Patrick was given the opportunity to buy her house. It took everything he had, but he was able to do it. Patrick rented the house for a while and kind of got into the real estate business. In 2005, he sold that house and made a nice profit. Wanting to parlay that profit into another business, with help from his uncle Donnie, Patrick bought a dump truck and started hauling dirt.
Just like everything else in his life, the road wasn’t smooth, but Patrick was determined. He did the dirt work for eight months and then that work dried up in 2006. After selling the dump truck, he bought a used 379 Peterbilt and a reefer trailer and started running OTR from Salinas, CA to Alabama and back. He did that until the truck broke down in 2009 and then, instead of fixing it, sold it. Buying a 2-axle 379 Pete day cab for cheap, he and a friend stretched it, added an axle, and threw an old sleeper on it. With four different colors, that rig was a real spectacle, but he was able to run it until 2012.
In 2012, he found a slick 2001 Peterbilt 379 painted purple and silver and, running as a team with his friend, Dwayne (AKA Mr. West), they ran seafood together from 2012 to 2019. Needing to be compliant, he called me in 2017 and left a message, but I never returned his call. Thinking it wasn’t cool (and it wasn’t), he called another dealer and ordered a nice purple and black 389, but it wasn’t exactly what he wanted.
Not long after that, Patrick ran into Juan with Gandy’s Transport, one of my past features (January 2018), and asked where he got his truck. Juan said, “Clint Moore at KC Peterbilt!” After Patrick explained what happened, Juan said, “You should have just called him again, because he is always very busy.”
With that in mind, Patrick called me again and told me what happened. I apologized, which was all I could do. He asked if I could do a few things to his truck, but I explained that I only customize the ones I sell – because selling trucks is my actual job. He understood. But Patrick was nice, and I enjoyed talking on the phone with him.
After that he called a few more times, and I finally told him to bring his truck in, which was nice, it just wasn’t exactly what he wanted. I suggested that he sell it and let me order and build his dream truck. He agreed. We posted his truck up for sale and sold it the first week. Patrick had another truck to drive, so we ordered his next one and named it “20/20 Vision” since now he knew exactly what he wanted.
The truck is a 2020 Pete 389 with a 63-inch High Roof sleeper, an X15 Cummins with 2050 torque and an 18-speed. The truck was ordered in a deep purple color with an orange frame. When it came in, the service department hid the DEF tank, added pipes and installed an air-ride system from Mike Horst on the front. Pat in the body shop laid out my take on an old 90s paint scheme, added a visor, body drop skirts with lights underneath, a flip bumper, cab and breather lights, a painted deck plate and bicycle-style fenders. Pat also painted the dash to match the exterior.
It isn’t easy, but Patrick has a desire to see his boys grow up in a better situation than he did. This desire gives him the drive to keep on going, no matter what. He was also blessed with people to help him and made the most of every situation. Patrick sends a special thank you to his mother-in-law, Jenifer DeHughes, who died in 2017. She always gave Patrick good advice and kept him on track and moving forward.
Sometimes it takes knowing what you don’t want to realize what you do want. I am sorry that we started off on the wrong foot but am happy to have helped Patrick see his wants clearly. He is now enjoying his “20/20 Vision” every day and loves the view!