This month’s creation was built for Mike Doucet (57) of MK Doucet LLC in Egan, LA. Growing up in a family with little money, Mike knows how to appreciate the important things in life, taking the simple mantra “Live, Laugh and Love” to heart. Happily married to his wife Renee since 2003, these two both created families in previous relationships and today, between the two of them, have six kids and 17 grandchildren – and the best part is that they are all within three hours of them.
Mike is the youngest of four children from Milton and Barbara Doucet of Louisburg, LA. As Mike put it, “Let’s be honest, we didn’t have it rough growing up, we were just poor.” Growing up on a potato farm, Mike and his siblings all learned how to work. Mike never wanted to ask his parents for anything, but he found that if he worked, he could earn money and get whatever he wanted or needed. They farmed 750 acres of potatoes and 300 acres of beans, and most of their planting was done with a stick (pretty primitive).
Both of Mike’s parents have passed now, but he thinks back all the time, and sometimes even cries because of how poor they were, but just a few moments later, he finds himself laughing. They were married for 60 years when his dad passed away, and the last 35 he was disabled from a stroke. But mom took care of him until the end, and their love and commitment to each other was an inspiration. Mike remembers his dad saying, “If a man likes what he does, he will never work a day in his life.” Today, Mike feels the most comfortable when he’s working, when he’s in his element, saying, “I like what I do.”
As Mike got older, he started helping the drivers load their trucks on the farm and then would go out with them to deliver. Taking the potatoes to Houston, they would unload there and then the driver would go to sleep and Mike would run the truck back to the house. At this time, he realized that he had a real passion for trucks.
Making it to 11th grade, Mike left school to work in the oil fields. At the age of 19 he got laid off, and then started hauling milk, which he did for six years. After that he switched to hauling gas and liquid propane, doing this until he went through a divorce and got custody of his daughter. Taking a regular job to work “normal” hours and be home, Mike was miserable (he missed the freedom of the road).
While hauling gas, one of the plant managers he dealt with was Renee. She always liked the fact that Mike was on time and did his job well and would specifically request him when calling in loads. Going through a divorce at that time, as well, the two got together, and Renee became the driving force in Mike’s life – and he loves it. When Mike went back to driving, she encouraged him to buy his own truck, so he did. Purchasing a classic old-style Freightliner that was fancy (it had a CAT), Mike drove that truck until 2011.
When it came time to upgrade, Mike was given my number by a friend. When he called me and described what he was looking for, I told him about a great used truck that was coming in from Jim Lane (one of my first articles from September 2006) – a bright orange 2007 Peterbilt 379 with the “heartbeat” paint scheme in silver and blue. Reluctant at first, but then Mike saw the pictures and was sold! Since then, Mike and Jim have become good friends, talking almost every week. Mike loved his orange rig, and there was never a day he didn’t get a compliment.
When you have something you like, it is hard to replace it, but Mike knew it was time. Ordering the factory two-tone blue 2021 Pete 389 with a 48” flat-top sleeper seen here, the truck is equipped with a 565-hp Cummins X15, an 18-speed, Low AirLeaf suspension, a car-hauler front axle on air-ride, and all the good stuff. By the time the truck showed up, Cathie was able to gather all the pieces, so me and the team went to work.
Some of the modifications made include installing Dynaflex 8” straights, adding front and rear drop visors, lower seat bases, steer axle dump valves, Shift rear fenders, and a flush painted deck plate. The guys also painted the fuel and air tanks, lowered the DEF tank, added two additional tool boxes and a Texas bumper, along with two extra cab lights. My dad chopped the breather screens and then Chad with C4 installed a cooler pack. Pat the painter added vinyl burgundy-colored outlines, around the factory-painted stripes, for that nice finishing touch.
When they came to get the new truck, we were in the initial stages of the COVID-19 deal, and they weren’t able to find a flight, so they rented a car and drove to KC. I suggested they meet me at the park, where I was taking photos of the truck. What a beautiful day it was, and, surprisingly (if you know me), the truck was done and ready to go. But when you follow the moniker of “Live, Laugh and Love” like Mike Doucet does, you take things in stride and enjoy every moment life has to offer.