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Words to Live By

By on May 1, 2016

Driver’s soul mate wants you to listen up

Shortly after receiving a copy of the first annual RoadKing Family in the mail last November, Sherri Holcombe of Beebe, Arkansas was motivated to place a call suggesting a story for a regular issue of RoadKing. Alternating between tears and laughter, Sherri recounted the story of meeting her husband, Stephen Craig Holcombe, Sr., their courtship, his 15-year career with Covenant Transportation Group, and his untimely passing while on the road in Texas during July 2015 at age 49.

As a very caring person of deep faith, Sherri felt compelled to share her story, in hopes that other drivers and their families might benefit. The story of Steve and Sherri Holcombe could easily make an emotional big-screen love story. For now, a few glimpses will have to suffice. Sherri wants readers to know, while serving in the Army with distinction from 1987 to 1991 as a Specialist E4, Steve suffered significant injures as a result of falling from a Humvee during Operation Just Cause in Panama.

Perhaps Divine Intervention

Fast forward to Steve coming into Sherri’s life just before Christmas 1998 via a dating website. Their first meeting involved sharing a two-hour meal and talking for another hour and a half. The next day, she told her friends at work about him, and they encouraged her to invite Steve to a company Christmas party that very evening. She called, his roommate tracked him down, and he magically appeared in a shirt and jeans. In a few private exchanges, friends told Sherri that she had just met her soul mate. To which Sherri replied, “No way! He can’t even dance.”

She met his family on Christmas Eve, and Steve and Sherri spent Christmas Day together. Steve gave Sherri a stuffed Eeyore, his favorite Winnie the Pooh character, with the wish that it would always prompt thoughts of him when they were apart. They were married on May 1, 1999, the same date as her parents’ anniversary. In 2000, they decided to seek employment team driving for Covenant. Steve completed his training, but Sherri dropped out due to illness; then rode along after her recovery.

Life Changes

Not long after, Sherri confirmed that she was pregnant based on the results of an e.p.t. test kit picked up at a Walmart. Complications forced Sherri off the truck, but they were blessed with the arrival of a healthy son, Stephen, Jr. Sherri proclaimed, “She was having a Walmart baby.” She even picked up an Eeyore rattle.

Steve held a variety of driving and other regional and local jobs over the years, but wound up back behind the wheel when the North Little Rock terminal closed. With roots established in Beebe, the Holcombes enjoyed a good life. Steve had some health issues. He had become diabetic and seemed to be more prone to strep and staph infections, possibly as a result of a troublesome tooth that may have released infectious toxins.

Sherri had talked with Steve on the morning of July 13 during a routine trip to Houston. He complained about having a headache, but shrugged it off. However, when Sherri called that afternoon to check on him, Steve reported he had pulled over. He was wearing his earpiece and could hear her okay, but could not see and didn’t know where he was.

Sherri thought it might be a diabetic stroke. She called the Covenant dispatcher who pinged Steve’s truck and provided the police with his location near Henderson, Texas. Steve was transported some 30 miles to a hospital in Tyler. Valuable time was lost. At 4:00 that afternoon, a nurse called to encourage Sherri to make the trip. She and her son packed hastily for the 300-mile, six-hour drive. By the grace of God, she arrived safely.

By the next day, any ray of hope was fading. Steve had fallen into a coma and was only being kept alive by a machine. Sherri and other family members prayed for a miracle that never arrived. Having suffered a stroke that affected his brain stem and cerebellum, the decision was made on the afternoon of the 15th to remove life support. At 12:28 a.m. on July 16, Sherri was holding his hand when her soul mate took his last breath.

A large crowd of family, friends and acquaintances came to pay their respects at Steve’s funeral. He was full military honors, and the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery became his final resting place. Sherri wants RoadKing readers to know that Steve was a wonderful husband, father, provider and human being.

“People should also know that Covenant is a fantastic company,” said Sherri. “The management and staff were very supportive of Steve from day one. He gave 110 percent, and they reciprocated. When the terminal closed, they moved heaven and earth to keep Steve gainfully employed. I can only express my sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone at Covenant for standing by Steve and our family, certainly with some of the big issues we faced, but also the little things that often go unnoticed. I’ve come to the realization that the present moment is all you ever have in life.”

Zeroing in on the reason for Sherri’s call to RoadKing, Sherri has struggled personally and financially after the love of her life left this earth prematurely. She encourages those who read this article to focus on three areas:
Keep God first in your life.

Tend to your health, eat right, and exercise regularly. Keep your financial and legal affairs up to date.


Planning for Life’s Unknowns

Everyone’s situation is different, so you need to involve professionals in any healthcare and estate planning for you and your family. Items that should be included on your checklist are:

Regular medical checkups

Regular dental checkups 

An up-to-date will

Possibly a trust

Participation in a 401(k) plan

An emergency savings account

Mortgage insurance

Other life insurance to provide for your family

A general power of attorney

A medical power of attorney

Enduring power of guardianship

Advance directives for healthcare

Secure and accessible location for all important documents


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