A handmade Christmas gift from his neighbor was especially touching for a former long-haul truck driver.

A handmade Christmas gift from his neighbor was especially touching for a former long-haul truck driver.

Duke Farber, of Geneseo, spent 55 years of his life driving trucks until an ALS diagnosis forced him into retirement.

Eighteen months ago, Kelly Sherbeyn and his wife moved into the neighborhood. Since that time, Sherbeyn has helped Farber and his wife, Lois, whenever he can. He helps mow the couple’s yard and provides snow removal.

At Christmas, though, Sherbeyn was stumped as to what he could get the Farbers for a holiday gift.

Ultimately, Sherbeyn decided to head to the garage and put his handwork to the test.

The end result was a metal sculpted piece of art featuring the outline of a semi truck tractor and box trailer and the name “FARBER.”

“It was the first time I’d tried to create letters or anything quite like that,” said Sherbeyn. The truck’s wheels were all made from washers. “I found it was too hard to create anything round.”

“It was the best gift I ever received,” said Farber, who added it brought tears to his eyes when he opened it.

Trucking has been a part of Farber’s life for as long as he can remember. As a farm boy, Farber would ride along with other farmers when they hauled livestock to the Chicago stockyards.

When he was old enough to drive a truck himself, his career included, among other assignments, hauling the rock underlay for crews building Interstate 80 in Henry County.

However, for 45 years of his 55 year career, Farber primarily hauled Midwestern meat to New York City.

He worked for Anderson Transportation out of Forreston, for most of his career. The company is owned by father and son Keith and Wayne Anderson, who Farber said were “very good employers.”

Farber said it was always a challenge to get “there and back” when hauling meat to New York City. “The meat houses usually were in the worst parts of the city,” he said, but added, “I loved the challenges.”

Farber said he also enjoyed sharing his trucking knowledge and experience with younger drivers.

The Christmas gift from Sherbeyn is a tribute to Farber’s long career, but more than that, it’s a token of appreciation between neighbors, and Farber said wants to encourage everyone to be good to their neighbors.