A candle, a trucker, and a hero

I received an email the other day from a Mark Theis with the subject line, “FW: Thank you.” Intrigued, I opened and read Mark’s introduction.

Mark, the safety director at Long Haul Trucking in Albertville, MN, just wanted to pass along to members of the media a letter the company received about one of its drivers, a John Crozman. Seems that John went out of his way to help a couple in need that was stranded on the side of a highway during a snowstorm in Summit, SD.

The appreciative couple wanted to extend their thanks for what they said was a life-saving decision that John made. Below you will find the entire letter as there is nothing I can write any better than what the couple themselves wrote to Long Haul Trucking.

As self-promoting as it seems, the public needs to hear about efforts from people like John Crozman. Not every trucker will come across life-threatening situations, but the majority of them will go out of their way to help if they come across a situation that needs their assistance.

Goodyear has its Highway Heroes program to recognize drivers for their good deeds, and there are other programs out there as well, but because of the sheer magnitude of good deeds performed each day by truck drivers, it is impossible to recognize everyone, so a simple “Thank you” will have to suffice.

Thank you John and to all the drivers out there who not only keep our commerce moving each and every day, but also consider selfless acts of assistance just another part of their “job.”

Please take a moment to read the letter from Thomas John Fischer & Mary Lynne Montgomery Fischer:

Dear Mr. Daniels,

We are writing to advise you of a situation of heroic proportions that occurred on the evening of February 3rd, 2011. One of your drivers, John Crozman, quite literally saved our lives on I29 outside of Summit, SD. John put his own life in danger at a rest stop access at Exit 213 where my husband and I were stranded in our vehicle in a terrifying snowstorm. Although we thought we were equipped for such a situation, we were sorely mistaken. We had been trapped in our vehicle on the hill for approximately 4 hours while winds of 45 – 60 mph rocked our vehicle. The wind chill was recorded at approximately –60 degrees. There were groups of vehicles a mile ahead of us and a half mile behind (safety in numbers), but we were alone. We were near hypothermic when we saw a gentleman struggling through the snow and wind to check on us. John had been making his way back to a truck stop in Summit when he saw a candle flickering in our vehicle and made the life-saving decision to check out the situation.

When we opened our door to him, we were shivering uncontrollably and terribly frightened. Fighting strong sub-zero winds, John led us to his vehicle, ensured that we were okay, and continued to make his way back to the truck stop. He not only escorted us into the truck stop and made sure that we had hot coffee, but put us up in his warm vehicle for the night, giving up his bed to us. The next day, he made sure that our vehicle was rescued prior to making his own way to deliver his load.

We have always had the utmost respect for those individuals involved in the trucking industry, and now we owe our lives to one of them. John is a humble man who did not want us to make a fuss over him, however, we know that we must relay this information and have him receive the recognition he deserves. John is a fine man – he is our hero and we will never forget what he did for us on that frigid night on I29. John speaks very highly of the company he represents and of the individuals with whom he works.

My husband and I are retired from the education system in Manitoba. We were returning from a cycling vacation in Arizona at the time, and thanks to John, we are warm, safe and well in a hotel room and almost home. Upon our return home to Winnipeg, we will follow up this email with a letter that we hope you will kindly forward to John on our behalf. Thank you again John, and thank you Long Haul Trucking for having this fine gentleman in your employ. God Bless, we are forever in your debt!

Respectfully yours,

Thomas John Fischer & Mary Lynne Montgomery Fischer