While at the Draggin’ & Pullin’ In the Pines truck show last fall in Lufkin, Texas, I witnessed the sweetest surprise reveal by Robert Eddins to his wife Anita, who is a cancer survivor. In an effort to raise awareness for Breast Cancer and celebrate Anita’s winning fight, Robert, who is a driver for TriState Vacuum and Rental in Joaquin, Texas, unveiled the new pink LED lighting that now covers their truck. After the reveal, I saw Robert and Anita locked in an embrace in front of the 2001 Peterbilt, basking in the pink glow, surrounded by a crowd.
Robert Eddins was born to Robert and Dora Eddins on October 18, 1972. Robert is a 4th generation trucker, so it just came natural to him. He began hauling watermelons at just 16 years old until he could get his CDL. In 1991, Robert moved to Tyler, Texas, where he was hauling lumber for Gulf States. Here is where he met his wife Anita, who was the manager of his mother’s apartment complex. On September 1, 1994, Robert and Anita were married. Over the years, the couple has welcomed three children – Ashley (32), Ryan (28), and Joshua (24).
Meeting Troy Massey about 14 years ago, he and Robert became friends. About two years ago, Robert went to work for Troy at one of his companies, TriState Vacuum and Rental, LLC. in Joaquin, Texas, hauling rock and oilfield equipment. In 2019, Troy purchased the 2001 Pete 379 from a friend of his named Ben Pierce. The truck has a 950-hp 6NZ Cat, a 13-speed transmission, 3.10 rears, and a 295-inch wheelbase.
Robert said that he’s usually a pretty laid-back guy who doesn’t ask for much, but that one morning, when some of the drivers started asking Robert if he had seen the new pink Dual Revolution lights from Trux, he immediately went straight to Steven Molanders, who works for Troy. Steven called Trux to order the lights, and when he told Trux their plan for the lights and about Anita, they donated the lights. A big “thank you” goes out to Trux for their generosity!
On November 7, 2016, Anita was diagnosed with Stage 2 Mucinous Carcinoma (a form of breast cancer). The doctor immediately scheduled a double mastectomy to be done on Anita’s birthday – November 22, 2016. When the couple told their children about the diagnosis, their daughter Ashley begged her mother to cancel the surgery until she could get a second opinion. Well, on November 21, a day before her surgery, they received their second opinion at Houston Methodist. The doctor there informed the family that Anita had been misdiagnosed and she in fact had Stage 3 Mucinous Carcinoma, but that she did not have to get a full mastectomy – a much simpler lumpectomy surgery could be performed instead.
After surgery, Anita was originally scheduled for 32 days of radiation, but because of good lab work, it was cut down to just 20 days. During this time, Robert and their children really rallied around her. Each of them took turns making the daily trip to Houston from Nacogdoches and then home, which is a 3.5-hour trip each way, to get Anita to her radiation appointments and then home safely. And through all of this, Anita never missed one day of work at her job as an insurance agent – a position she has held for over 21 years.
On February 2, 2017, Anita was deemed cancer free! She recently celebrated her 5-year cancer free anniversary and no longer has to take chemotherapy medication. Robert and Anita would like to give a big thank you to Troy and Abbey Massey. “We are very grateful to Troy and Abbey. They are so good to not just us but to all their employees. Troy is definitely someone other company owners should look up to. There is no way we could ever pay them back for all they have done for us, just out of the goodness of their hearts.”
Stories like this, that help raise awareness and celebrate some personal victories, is why I love the trucking industry so much. Thank you to Robert and Anita for allowing me to tell your story, thank you to Troy and Abbey for building this truck for them, and thanks to Trux for donating all the lights. There are still plenty of good people out there, and these are just a few great examples. Congratulations to Anita for kicking cancer’s butt! May you stay healthy and happy for years to come.