From homeless to wounded in Iraq to successful trucker

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Tina CopelandTina Copeland

This is not your typical feel-good Thanksgiving story.

That’s because Tina Copeland is not your typical American woman. She escaped the Foster care system only to become homeless as a 17-year-old single mom in rural Wisconsin. But, she eventually found family-like connections in the Army, only to have those ripped away by a combat injury while serving as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic in Iraq. Copeland recovered from a back broken in three places and battled post-traumatic stress syndrome once she got home.

However, like other veterans before her, Copeland found a welcoming environment and career success in the trucking industry. Today, Copeland is an owner-operator leased to Tri-State Motor Transit hauling sensitive cargo.  She drives team with her spouse, and this fall found her “little piece of heaven” when she bought what she called a farmette in Stillman Valley, Illinois.

In this edition of our podcast, Copeland talks about repairing a downed helicopter under enemy fire in Iraq, and overcoming the psychological stress of war to make her mark first as a company driver then as an owner-operator.