Chris King Represents TMC as a Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence Award Top Ten Finalist
Proudly representing TMC, Chris King will be headed to Dallas, TX to the Great American Trucking Show this Friday as a top ten finalist for the Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence award, where the group will be further narrowed to three finalists.
The Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence award is search for America’s top military rookie driver while aiming to educate veterans and America about the support from leading manufacturers and service providers that enhance the safety and comfort of the 3.5 million professional truck drivers while performing their duties — and provide an incredible head start to one veteran's entrepreneurial career.
A Mississippi native and married father of three, Chris came to TMC in January 2017 for a fresh start in a new industry. His high quality of work and dedication to safety and excellence quickly made him a standout driver.
Chris entered basic training in San Antonio, TX at the age of 23. He tried his hand at college before that, studying aviation maintenance technology, but decided he’d rather put his skills to work while serving his country. He enlisted as an Air Crew Member in the United States Air Force and was quickly offered a position as an Airborne Mission System Specialist.
After enduring combat and water survival training, which he refers to as “the best training I never want to do again,” Chris was deployed in 2015 to the United Arab Emirates where he worked as a communication technician on the E-3 Sentry aircraft, or AWACS, as it is referred to, which serves as an airborne early warning and control aircraft. Chris had the crucial task of keeping communications technology functioning between air support and ground units, as losing correspondence for only a few seconds could be disastrous.
Upon returning home, life threw Chris for a tailspin when he was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, or a mild case of posttraumatic stress disorder, and became medically disqualified from re-enlisting in the Air Force. However, Chris was determined to provide a comfortable life for his family, so he began looking into serving his country in a different way by becoming a professional truck driver.
“I knew I wanted to work with vehicles, travel and experience new things, and the trucking industry seemed the perfect fit,” says Chris. “TMC was my first choice because I liked the physical aspect of flatbed work, and their reputation of cleanliness and professionalism spoke to my background of military values. As much as I would like to re-enlist, I consider myself stuck with the civilian life now. But, I’m proud to be able to say I served my country, so I’m satisfied.”
Chris obtained his CDL in January 2017, then stepped into his very own Black and Chrome Peterbilt the following April. The road to his own truck was not so smooth, however. Shortly after Chris began training, he learned the devastating news that his father was diagnosed with cancer. Chris’ father-in-law had passed away from cancer while he was deployed, so he knew the storm he was about to weather was not going to be an easy one.
“I was tempted to drop out and go home to be there for my dad, but I knew that’s not what he would have wanted,” explains Chris. “My dad always taught me to put forth my best effort and to never give up, so I pushed through and completed my training for him and for my family that depends on me. I only hope I can be half the man he is.”
Today, Chris’ father is undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is doing well. Chris thanks his trainer, Darren Maples, for the support and encouragement to keep a positive attitude, and now that Chris is out on the open road full time with the freedom to own his future, he is happier than he’s ever been.
“I found my home with TMC and the trucking industry,” he says. “I love the challenge of different loads, waking up in new places and seeing the country that I spent several years of my life defending. With trucking, I’m given the tools to be successful and it is my responsibility to use them. I like to think my experience in the Air Force has helped me in my successes through creating a routine and staying disciplined and organized.”
Because of the hardships he’s endured throughout the last five years, Chris knows it is more important than ever to stick with it and keep working toward his goals.
“There have been plenty of days where I’ve had a bad load or my time is running short and I just want to throw my hands up and quit,” says Chris. “But I know my family depends on me, and I do my best to keep that mindset. No matter what emotions I feel, I have to keep pushing through, and I apply that every day.”
Chris has proven to be not only a fantastic asset to TMC, but to the trucking industry and civilian workforce alike. He applies the values he obtained during his time in the military to his everyday life and work, and is a great representation of a successful transition. TMC is honored to have Mr. King as a valuable member of our fleet, and we are proud to have him representing TMC at GATS during the 2017 Transition Trucking: Driving For Excellence award ceremony. Good luck, Chris!