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Michael Caskey decided to take control of his health during a wellness check last year.

By Hilary Reeves

In 2017, Michael Caskey made a decision to “go for the better.”

Caskey is a Shop Helper at the Carlile Terminal in Fairbanks. Last year, he attended the company’s Wellness Open House and received a “wellness check.”

“I ended up getting a phone call from the Beacon Clinic doctor telling me that I had Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, that I wasn’t producing enough insulin – just bad health in general. I took all that and made my decision to rework myself and go for the better.”

Caskey was born in Fort Riley, Kansas. His father was in the military, and the family moved to Alaska when Caskey was two years old. He’s lived in Fairbanks every since, graduating from Hutchison High School in 2012.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do until high school,” said Caskey, sharing that many of his high school classes centered on IT or welding. “I had wanted to do IT stuff, but after three years of it, I said ‘no way.’ During my senior year, I discovered I was interested in welding.”

After graduating, Caskey got a job as a cart pusher for a local chain grocery store. In 2015, he landed a job at Carlile.

“Most of the time, I’m in the washbay taking care of the equipment,” he said. “I like to work by myself, washing the trucks while listening to music. The most challenging part of my job so far was learning to reverse a trailer.”

Caskey starts his day by assessing the needs of the nearby truck or trailer shop before settling in to fuel equipment, locate parts, and – of course – wash.

“If I could change one thing about my education, I’d not have focused too much on IT, and instead done auto body in high school, or more welding,” he said. “I’m still up in the air about where I want to go in my career, but I might turn to driving. The Heavy Haul division is sweet. I have a nickname we joke about around the shop. They call me “Heavy Haul Mike.”

Caskey poses in front of a Carlile truck indoors.

Caskey describes himself as an average person, who loves video games and his F150 pickup truck. Until last year’s Carlile’s Wellness Open House, he hadn’t had to buckle down too hard. But he said his health is important to him.

“Before the wellness check, I was somewhere around 310 pounds and at my last checkup, I was 245,” he concluded. “My blood pressure and sugar are in the normal range, and I’m just about non-diabetic. The big changes I made were to stop drinking energy drinks and soda and chewing tobacco. I changed my eating habits and I started to exercise a bit when I got off work. I don’t really have a goal weight or anything. Having health insurance through the company really helped in getting the medicine I needed. I got one of those CPAP machines to treat my sleep apnea. Now that I’m sleeping more, I have more energy. I still have a bit to go, but what I’m doing is working for me. Hopefully hearing my story will help someone else.”

Hilary Reeves

Hilary Reeves spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining the Saltchuk family of companies as a consultant. Since People of Saltchuk launched in 2014, Reeves has interviewed more than 200 Saltchuk employees from operating companies all over the world. Born in Tacoma, Washington, Reeves is a former president of both the collegiate and local professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, a graduate of the Society’s Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, and a Toastmaster. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, ski, and practice the piano. She lives in West Seattle with her husband and two young daughters.