Feeling helpless: On the road when family disaster strikes

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Updated Apr 21, 2016

Being away from family while on the road is a burden, but one that most truck drivers accept as part of the job. They may not like it, but they understand.

But, being away when tragedy strikes can feel almost impossible

Tyrone and Joyce Duchin found that out the hard way a week ago.

The home of Jeremy and Catherine Bradshaw in Navarre, Florida

He’s driven dry van over the road for an Alabama company for a bit more than a year, and Joyce travels with him. They were on a trip to drop a load in Dallas last week when they got the call, the kind that rattles parents to deepest parts of their souls.

Their son Jeremy Bradshaw called at 1:45 a.m. Monday, April 11, and no call at that time of day can be good.

The Duchins learned that the home of Jeremy and his wife Catherine in Navarre, Florida was on fire. The blaze eventually claimed everything the couple had acquired in five years of marriage, including their dog Terror, a 2-year-old rose nose pit.

An electrical wiring problem may be the cause, according to Joyce.

“This has been a very devastating event in our lives,” said Joyce in an email to “Truckers News.” “We haven’t been able to make it home to them yet, because as you know, if these wheels aren’t rolling we aren’t earning, and right now we just aren’t in a financial situation to drop everything and go home.”

Tyrone and Joyce are headed home this week, but even that is not without issue. He’s scheduled to have a stress test Thursday.

Still, they’re trying to help Jeremy and Catherine as they can, counting on the generosity of friends and the trucking community.