Sometimes, a truck driver or their family needs a helping hand—and that’s where Truckers Final Mile comes in. But “TFM” didn’t just appear out of the ether; it’s got an incredible story behind it, and on this episode of Diesel Stories, Jacob and Chris sat down with Robert Palm, Founder of Truckers Final Mile, to hear it.
Robert grew up in Youngstown, New York, “where the Niagara River flows into Lake Ontario.” He was one of seven children raised by his mother in a small cottage, though the family later relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico. From there, he got his driver’s license at 14 ½ (yes, that was the legal driving age back then!) and spent four years with the 101st Airborne Division.
After leaving the Army, he had to figure out what to do next. He’d spent his childhood hanging around a towing yard, and driving came naturally for him: “In March of ’81, I started driving for a dump truck company, until that owner passed away, and then everybody lost their jobs.”
From there, he moved around a bit, eventually climbing into the cabs of big rigs and criss-crossing 48 states.
“I’m one of the grandfathers,” he says. “I think our CDL test, when they transitioned us into where I think it was a 25 question, multiple choice with the answers on the back and it was a $10 fee for it. I’ve never taken an official CDL test.”
The podcast touches on several topics important to truckers and those that care for them, including:
- The crash he witnessed that inspired him to begin Truckers Final Mile
- Why some companies actually call the charity after their drivers are in a collision or have medical issues
- The six programs Truckers Final Mile offers to truckers and their families
- The similarities between a military deployment and a driver on the road
- How Truckers Final Mile is trying to provide for the children of deceased drivers
Robert is a self-described rebellious individual, and he’s got a lot of great stories to tell. You can listen to the entire podcast over here—and don’t forget to make a donation to Truckers Final Mile!