Celadon bankruptcy makes impact on central Ohio, inspires offers of help


COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Celadon made its bankruptcy announcement on Monday, truck driver John Rodriguez was on his way to Detroit. He wasn't exactly sure how he was going to get back because he was driving a truck for Celadon.

"I’m from Columbia, South Carolina, and they said they had transportation for us, but what was going on, you don’t even know how you would get home, so I thank my boss Jeff for having my back, and, right now, I’m sticking with him, and we’re just going to go from there," Rodriguez said.

That boss is Jeff McElroy, who owns McElroy Trucking Solutions, LLC. He started as an owner/operator and worked his way up to a fleet owner with three trucks. He partnered with Celadon about one year ago.

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"I kinda had a little history that there were problems, I didn’t know the scale, but obviously it led to this," McElroy said. "I had drivers that were now unemployed that I consider my responsibility. I had trucks that were out that I had to recover myself to protect my business, and then, what were our next steps to keep my company solvent."

The shutdown means McElroy will lose one of his trucks and money. He posted about what he was going through on Facebook. He said he got a big response, including from a chief operating officer from another Ohio trucking company.

"The outpour of support from friends, family, other trucking companies was just amazing, it was just, it was amazing, it gives me hope," he said.

Now, McElroy is hopeful that he will come out of this on the other side even better than before. But he knows not every driver and company will be so lucky.

That is why many other companies are reaching out to the now out-of-work drivers. One of those companies is Legacy Carriers, which is based in Columbus.

"It is devastating for those drivers that are out there over the road," Legacy owner Todd Haerr said. "To find out at the end of the year like this that they’re out of luck is just a devastating thing to have to contend with."

Haerr posted on Facebook that he would offer former Celadon drivers bonuses and moving expenses if they passed all of the required checks to become one of his new employees.

"I’m here to help," he said. "We’re willing to do that however we possibly can, financially, not just with the job, but whatever we need to do in order to get you back in the saddle again as soon as possible with as minimal interruption to your lives as possible."