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A side dump trailer carries a message for Steve Nicolaas during a parade in his honor (April 11, 2020). Photo: My Ferndale News

Surprise truck parade held for driver battling cancer

FERNDALE, Wash. — Friends and family formed an estimated 2-mile parade of work trucks to lift the spirit of a local lifetime truck driver today, Saturday, April 11th.

Steve Nicolaas has been a driver for several local businesses since he began driving hay trucks after graduating from Ferndale High School. Today, Nicolaas is battling cancer for the past year and today’s parade was all about him.

Steve’s brother, Ray, said Steve was endearingly known as Jumbo to his friends because of his large stature. “He’s down to about 160 pounds now and that’s kind of tough on him.”

Ray set up a CB radio on a table and chair by the roadside outside Steve’s house so Steve could chat with the other drivers as they rolled by. They had told Steve a few of his buddies wanted to drive by. They left out the part about how many they meant by “a few,” Ray said.

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Organizers said they initially expected about 50 trucks but as word spread that number began doubling.

Friends and family enjoyed the parade alongside Steve Nicolaas (April 11, 2020). Video: My Ferndale News

Ray said, “He’s well-known in Whatcom County. He delivered hay to a lot of farmers and delivered a lot of gravel during his trucking career.” One of Steve’s employers figured he had driven over 1 million miles in a truck assigned to him according to Ray.

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Truck #57 was the truck Steve drove for Cowden Gravel & Ready Mix. It led the parade (April 11, 2020). Video: My Ferndale News

“He knows everyone driving these trucks. We’re a big family,” organizer Marvin Polinder said. Steve was born and raised here so he is very well known. And since he can’t go far from his house, we thought we would come to him.”

Trucks head north on Malloy Road in a surprise parade for long-time driver Steve Nicolaas (April 11, 2020). Photo: My Ferndale News
Trucks head north on Malloy Road in a surprise parade for longtime driver Steve Nicolaas (April 11, 2020). Photo: My Ferndale News

Polinder said Steve was one of the founders of the Custer Lawn Draggers Association in 1983. The association organized riding lawn mower races and were perhaps best known for races held during Custer Days that benefited nonprofit groups.

According to the company names on the sides of the trucks in the parade, many came from out of town as well as from local companies. The parade lasted about 45 minutes.

A parade of trucks passed his house to honor longtime driver Steve Nicolaas (April 11, 2020). Video: My Ferndale News

In preparation for the parade, trucks staged in the new Malloy Heights development and around the east end of Aldergrove Road. They headed north on Malloy Road and then west on Brown Road where they passed Steve’s house, waved and chatted with him on their radios.

Steve Nicolaas chats with other drivers on a CB radio as they pass during a parade in his honor (April 11, 2020). Video: My Ferndale News


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