‘Lodge Mom’ makes Tri-State’s Legacy Lodge feel like home

Lodge attendant Trudy Stroup, right, and Daseke CEO Don Daseke, explore Tri-State’s Legacy Lodge. Tri-State is a part of the Roadmaster Group, which is a Daseke company. (Image Courtesy of Tri-State/Facebook)Lodge attendant Trudy Stroup, right, and Daseke CEO Don Daseke, explore Tri-State’s Legacy Lodge. Tri-State is a part of the Roadmaster Group, which is a Daseke company. (Image Courtesy of Tri-State/Facebook)

Tri-State Trucking’s new resort-style driver lounge, called the Legacy Lodge, has a secret weapon: Trudy Stroup, the lodge attendant.

Lovingly referred to as the “lodge mom” by Tri-State’s staff and drivers, Stroup keeps the lodge’s operations running smoothly and provides a friendly face to drivers passing through the facility. Stroup drove for Tri-State for 20 years before coming off the road almost a year ago.

Theresa Porter, Tri-State’s hiring and development manager, said the fleet didn’t want to part ways with Trudy.

“We weren’t ready to let her go and she wasn’t ready to leave, so we recruited her to be our lodge attendant, but in so much more of a loving fashion to call her our lodge mom,” Porter said.

Tri-State’s Legacy Lodge project, located at its main Joplin, Missouri terminal, was finished in September of last year and celebrated its grand opening in April. The building was originally built in 1957 but was largely outdated and unused. John Wilbur, the fleet’s CEO, recruited Jeff Swenson of Swenson Realty Group to help reimagine the facility. The building was completely renovated and now features a full commercial kitchen, fitness center, media rooms, laundry center, men’s and women’s locker rooms, business center, showers, a pool table, shuffleboard, and more.

Stroup prepares a meal in the Legacy Lodge.Stroup prepares a meal in the Legacy Lodge.

As lodge mom, Stroup keeps the lodge running smoothly. She keeps it stocked with items drivers may need, guides them around the lodge, keeps people moving with their laundry, and she even bakes for them a good bit, among other things.

“I do a lot of baking, but more than that I try to keep things moving. I try to keep things stocked and make sure they have the supplies they need,” Stroup said. She doesn’t just make sure there are plenty of coffee supplies or toilet paper or other essentials, but also “there are little things they might forget like their toothbrush or they ran out of toothpaste. I have little things that I’ve kind of squirreled away. I just try to keep things around that they might need and not have access to directly.”

Tri-State’s Legacy Lodge has several amenities for drivers.Tri-State’s Legacy Lodge has several amenities for drivers.

The Legacy Lodge is also where Tri-State hosts their orientations and training, so new hires get a lot of one-on-one time with Stroup. Having an experienced driver like Stroup as part of the onboarding experience is a huge asset, Porter said.

“We love knowing that our orientation drivers, for a large part of their week, are going to have the opportunity to interact with Trudy on the lounge side and that’s one of the things we love knowing that she is just as excited to tell them about the company they’re coming into and answer any questions from the driver perspective as well as anything else they may have to ask about, even just the lounge and where things are,” Porter said.

Being able to connect with new hires and reassure them is one of Stroup’s favorite parts of her job. Even when those new hires go off over the road, they still may call her with questions or swing by the lodge to visit with her.

“It’s actually one of the best things that I find about my job, being able to make that connection with the new hires and being able to assure them that things do settle down and normalize,” Stroup said.

The Legacy Lodge features an outdoor fire pit with seating.The Legacy Lodge features an outdoor fire pit with seating.