Imagine getting a call at home. Something has happened to your loved one on the road. That loved one is the principle or sole income provider for the family. Now, imagine that you can’t afford to bring them home.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Truckers Final Mile founder Robert Palm, one of the many great people in this industry who are giving back. Robert writes “A truck driver is supported by his/her family much akin to the way a deployed soldier’s family supports them. At any time a trucker can be hundreds if not thousands of home and be away for days if not weeks at a time. Yet the industry lacks the infrastructure that would be mustered should a loss of life, severe injury, or sudden onset medical emergency befall one of our own. Therefore, we must turn to and depend on our own for strength, and yes, financial assistance when these unforeseen emergencies arise.”
It is a sad reality that a trucker can be disabled, killed, or passes of natural causes while on the road. If you have been out here as long as I have, you see some awful things. That truck in the back row hasn’t moved in a while. Maybe it was there on Monday when we stopped for fuel. It is still there on Friday when we are on the way home. It can go unnoticed. We probably don’t notice.
The next week we might see in a newspaper that a driver was discovered passed away in the bunk. We might see a coroner’s wagon at a truck stop. We know what happened, but we try to put it out of our minds. It is something that we don’t want to think about.
Trucking has been good to me. My wife and I talk at least 3 times per day. We have the money to bring me home. If something happened to me, it wouldn’t be too long before I was missed. The technology in my truck would let me be found immediately. None, of that is by accident.
That isn’t true for all drivers. This industry takes a toll on drivers. Staying healthy on the road is a challenge. Many of us fail. Even the seemingly healthiest among us can have an unexpected health event or accident on the road. What then? Many drivers and owner operators are struggling to get by out here. They are living paycheck to paycheck. I know that I did for a long time. You probably have to.
Check out www.truckersfinalmile.org. It is a 501 (c) (3) charity organization with a mission to reunite professional drivers and their families in times of crisis. We can’t all give much time to truckers’ causes, but a lot of us can make donations. This industry has been good to me and donating to places like this, Saint Christopher’s Fund and Rick Ash’s mammogram fund, are something that I do to give back.