Inspiring Stories from the Rugged Road with Tom Kyrk

Tom Kirk

Some of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met are truck drivers. Many times, drivers are the first to respond to the scenes of accidents, emergencies, and disasters. They volunteer in the community whether face to face or through programs like Trucker Buddy International. They donate to causes such as the Special Olympics, St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and other fundraisers that are done at truck stops and other businesses. No matter the circumstances – truckers always give from the heart.

Fellow ToughTested Ambassadors, George and Wendy Parker have spent many of their years on the road. They have seen all walks of people with their rough go of it. Like many drivers, they are often asked if they can spare a few dollars. They have found one of the best ways to help others who are in need, without going broke themselves, is with a small bag. Inside the bag is some food such as granola bars, beef jerky, and even personal care items that can help a person in need and truly brighten their day. Inspired by these Samaritans, I’ve decided to give back to those in need with pre-made bags of food or buying the hungry a decent meal. There is no reward greater than receiving a smile and simple thanks for doing something so simple.

Truckers also give back to the local community with fundraisers such as convoys. The largest one of these is the Annual Mother’s Day Convoy for Make-A-Wish in Lancaster, Pa. Over the last several years, close to 600 trucks and their drivers have shown up to drive a 27-mile route to bring smiles to the faces of Wish kids, and those along the route, as well as raising awareness and money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Lancaster, PA. I have been able to attend for the last 2 years and found it to be a great and rewarding experience.   

In addition to giving back to their communities, drivers also bend over backward to help fellow drivers in need. This can be as simple as helping a driver perform a small repair, loan a tool, or give a part to another driver. Or they work to raise money for charities that specifically help other drivers.

Each year at various truck shows around the nation, especially MATS and GATS, you will find multiple driver charities raising money to help those in need. This can range from local and regional charities such as Truckers United for Charities and their support of Camp Kentuckyania which helps children facing life threatening illnesses, to a variety of charities focused specifically on the driver.

There are numerous great trucking charities but the closet to my heart are the Trucker’s Christmas Fund, Trucker’s Final Mile, and the St. Christopher’s Driver Development Fund.

The Trucker’s Christmas Fund is a group of drivers who raise money to help the families of truckers who have fallen on hard times the chance to have a bright Christmas. The Trucker’s Christmas Fund began when a driver had decided to pay forward his thanks for a good year by giving back to a family in need. As word spread, a movement was born. Families are nominated and funds are raised to help as many as possible to have a better Christmas season.

Trucker’s Final Mile was founded by Robert Palm with a mission to help reunite drivers who have passed on the road by helping to return the driver’s remains to their family. Many drivers have limited to no life insurance, and all too many companies will not help a driver’s family bring the driver home. In fact, many companies will charge a shipping fee to return the driver’s possessions to their loved ones. Robert and his organization work to bring awareness to this problem and to raise funds to help those in need.


St. Christopher’s was founded by a group of people including Dave Nemo and Dr. John. They saw a need where many drivers, even if they had insurance, would have health emergencies that would keep them from earning the funds they needed to pay their bills. Drivers may be eligible to receive funds to help pay for bills when they are unable to work.

Truckers give of themselves on a regular basis to help communities, fellow drivers, and those they have never met. Valentine’s day is a season of the heart. We often give gifts or notes to those who we care about. This year, ToughTested and I would like to challenge you to give from the heart to a charity dearest to you or to one of the ones mentioned here. I have great empathy for all of these charities. But closet to me is the Trucker’s Christmas Fund. They’ve been able to care for a great friend of mine this year who has struggled with a life-threatening illness and provide a brighter Christmas for his family.

Wishing you and your loved one’s a blessed and safe Valentines.

–Capt’n Kyrk