Wisconsin tow truck driver vows to help stuck ship

Appleton, WI—Doug Nelson has a truck and a plan. Now he just has to get across the ocean.


Nelson, 44, owns Stuck Outta Luck, a towing service in the greater Appleton area. He recently saw news of the Ever Given – a ship as long as the Empire State Building is tall that ran aground in the Suez Canal earlier this week.


“I been pullin’ 18-wheelers off icy roads for years,” Nelson said, “Cain’t be too hard to tow a boat. I mean, it floats, don’t it?”


Nelson, also a city council member, youth pastor, and amateur phlebotomist, said he took an interest in the crosswise barge on a couple levels.


“The good book says you help others when they need it, and lord knows I’d want some help if I’d loused up the biggest shipping route in the world,” he said. “Plus, I bought one a them fancy exercise bikes for the wife; you know, the ones that have some cute young thing in a sports bra yelling at you. I figure that some buck is probably on that boat.”


Nelson plans to drive his 2019 Kenworth T370 Rollback Tow Truck north to Green Bay where he’ll drive onto a ferry owned by his friend, Todd McKibben. The Shakin’ Schooner is a party boat McKibben pilots for tourists who want to see Door County, but only from a distance, and bachelorette parties for brides-to-be who don’t easily get sea sick.


“Should be no problem,” McKibben said. “It’ll take a couple hours to get out of the bay and into Lake Michigan. From there we’ll head out to the ocean, take a right, and get down to the Mediterranean (unlocks his phone) Siri, give me directions from Sturgeon Bay to the Suez Canal.”


Nelson said he hopes to do some sightseeing while abroad, noting that he hasn’t had a vacation since he and his wife, Tami, went to Fond Du Lac for a weekend in 2018.


“I figure the shawarma they’ve got over there has got to be 100 times better than that place out at the mall,” he said. “What, you didn’t think a boy from Wisconsin knew about that kinda stuff, did ya, fancy pants?”

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