If you’re a student at the Minnesota School of Business-Elk River campus, chances are that you know who Jason Butkevicius is. However, what you may not know is his story about how multiple sclerosis sent his life tumbling and the journey he took to land on his feet in the Transportation Business programat our college.
Jason’s story starts on the highways across America, with a good tune on the radio, a sack full of snacks at his side and a picture of his boy, Jacob, in the rear-view mirror.
“I loved being a truck driver,” said Jason. “It’s what I lived and breathed for every day.”
Then one day, Jason’s world was flipped upside-down when he was in his eighteen-wheeler truckin’ down the highway and the entire right side of his body went numb and his vision became blurred.
“At that point I wasn’t sure what was happening,” Jason said.
The 12-year veteran truck driver soon learned that he had lesions on his nervous system caused by multiple sclerosis, also known as MS.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.
Since symptoms of the disease, such as Jason’s numbness and blurred vision, can come on at anytime without warning, Jason’s neurologist said it was time to hang up the truckin’ boots.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Jason. “Truck driving was my life.”
But thanks to a career aptitude test, Jason soon discovered going back to school for sales was the answer, which led him to Minnesota School of Business-Elk River.
“I first started out in the sales and marketing program,” said Jason, “But thanks to some advice from Candi, the campus director, I switched to the transportation business program.”
According to the Elk River Campus Director, Candi Janssen, she encouraged Jason to look into transportation business due to his lengthy background in the trucking industry.
“I could tell that Jason had a passion for truck driving,” said Janssen. “We just needed to help him figure out how to still utilize his passion for the industry in a different capacity than being a driver.”
Although Jason’s true love is still hitting the pavement with a semi, he hopes to one day manage a fleet of trucks with a mini-fridge of snacks under his desk, a framed picture of his boy hanging on the wall, and re-living his truck driving days through great stories being shared across trucker radiowaves.