Veteran, wounded in Iraq, finds success in trucking industry

Tina CopelandTina Copeland

Earlier this fall, Tina Copeland obtained what much of society views as a mark of a successful life: she bought a home of her own. It’s a small farm in Illinois Copeland calls her “little piece of heaven.”

Obtaining a home, finding a bit of heaven, is way more of an accomplishment for Copeland, a successful owner-operator.

Copeland 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 back to the States.

Then, 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 enjoys being part of the industry.

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.