Maine Army Veteran Goes on to be a Lifetime Big Rig Driver

Dick Barry: A Proud Veteran of his Service to his Country

Born in 1938, Dick Berry grew up in Vienna, Maine. Berry completed coursework through the 8th grade, where he concluded his formal education. He received his high school diploma from the Army four years later in 1956, where he completed his service within US borders. As a protected veteran, Dick is a lifelong supporter of the VA and is an advocate for the services he has received at their medical centers.

Dick and I sat at the Trucker’s Table, located at our Hermon Truck Stop where we discussed the longevity of Dick’s loyalty to Dysart’s. Barry has an extensive knowledge of Maine’s trucking history, additional to being Dysart’s third ever patron in 1967.  Dick was a truck driver for Dysart’s up until he retired ten years ago.

In 1967, Dick was a truck driver for Del Hartt. At that time, Hartt’s transportation operated two and a half trucks. Dick drove an Emeryville; the truck was made by the former company International Harvester. Dick told me Del Hartt’s company only had 1 spare tire. The truck that was going on the longer haul got to bring the spare. Dick occasionally assisted Dave Dysart, the founder of Dysart’s, hauling fuel to Fort Kent.

As a frequent visitor to the notorious trucker’s table, I was able share my story about the old, cold, and dark GMC 860. As a child in the 1960’s, I kept my Dad company during long work hours, accompanied by a couple of furniture pads to keep us warm. Sharing our stories about outdated vehicles, another guest at the trucker’s table shared their experience regarding their GMC 860 not only lacking heat capabilities, but also air malfunctions.

The daily conversation at the Hermon Truck Stop’s Trucker’s Table shifted to the perspective of a 1967 Dysart’s server.  My mother, Irene and a fellow friend, Nancy Oxley, who worked the cash register, shared their experiences of Dysart’s in the early days. We reminisced at the memory of truck drivers and State Police troopers dining on opposite ends of the counter unless chicken drivers came in. Dick told the story of hauling a load of chickens, the one and only time in his lifelong career. In 1967, the chickens were hauled in open air boxes on a flatbed, much different from today’s delivery processes. The first box Dick ever delivered, he accidentally tipped over and covered himself in feathers.

Many things have changed since we first opened in 1967, including our cost of coffee which was just 10 cents. Our operations have gotten quicker too, as fueling your vehicle takes less than five minutes! Dick explained to our table that it took about 20 – 30 minutes to fill a truck each time he needed to refuel. Luckily, not all lengthy processes are negative, as Dick would dine with us at our Hermon Truck Stop while refueling his vehicle; once a Dysart’s customer, always a Dysart’s customer. The trucker’s table today is a close resemblance in the social interaction that the counter provided for our patrons: a place to tell stories, catch up with friends, and enjoy a meal.  If you see Dick sitting at the trucker’s table when you visit Dysart’s, say hello and thank him for his service!

We hope to see you soon! Come eat!

Mary Dysart Hartt