Truckers Final Mile, a nonprofit founded to reunite truck drivers and their families in the event of death, debilitating injury, or serious illness is currently seeking donations to its holiday Sleigh Bells and Santa program.
The organization added the program to its lineup in 2015 to help provide gifts to the children of deceased truck drivers since, as they reminded us in a recent Facebook post, “the holidays are not always merry or happy.” Which is especially true of a child who lost a parent.
The campaign is open to any child aged 18 or younger who lost a truck driver parent in the past year.
“It’s about giving the kids a gift to let the child know that the trucking industry still cares and to show some love for a child who lost a parent,” Robert Palm, an OOIDA life member and founder of the charity, reportedly said of the effort in a 2020 interview with Land Line.
Palm, a truck driver since 1981, founded Truckers Final Mile after his own experiences lead him to gain a deep understanding of what can happen when a truck driver passes far from home. In 1995, Palm had to recover the body of his stepbrother, and fellow truck driver, Joey Miller, after he passed away. A year later, Palm was in a serious crash of his own. In 2010, Palm suffered a ruptured appendix and was hospitalized.
The longtime trucker said he knew there had to be a better way to help trucker drivers’ families in these instances, and Truckers Final Mile was born.