TOPEKA (KSNT) — As Desert Storm was taking place overseas, Private 1st Class Duane Polley transported vital equipment and supplies between Kansas and Ft. Collins Colorado.

Looking to the next chapter of his life, Polley was feeling a lot of uncertainty.

“At the age of 19 I was kinda lost, not really sure what to do with my life,” Polley said. “I had a girlfriend at the time, she thought it would be cool if I entered the military. I kinda did it for her. Once I got in there, it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life.”  

With a close family member already in the field of transportation, one role in particular especially stood out to him.

“When they told me well we’ve got a job driving the big trucks hauling tanks, it was like yeah, give me that one,” Polley said.   

For three years with the Army, Duane hauled virtually everything. With an emphasis on heavy equipment and vehicles, the Private also brought ammunition, food supplies, and other important materials between Topeka and Colorado.

“Drove up and down the mountains a lot,” he said. “Making a trip through the rocky mountains with an 80 ton tank on the back of your truck, now that’s an experience.”  

In the military and civilian life, trucking is often a thankless job. That hasn’t stopped Polley from being proud of the work he did, and the difference he knows drivers like him make.

“Even the other soldiers, they give the truck drivers a hard time,” Polley said, “but there’s a lot of soldiers out there that also realize hey, we need ya, because without you we don’t get our equipment that we need. I supplied the heroes. I don’t look at myself as a hero, but I supported the heroes.” 

Trucking had such a profound influence on Duane, he made it his profession for the rest of his life post service.