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Convoy For Hope Hurricane Ian Response 634959f09ad05

Five good things in trucking: Driver saves trooper, hauling help to Florida

Oct. 14, 2022
As the busy shipping season begins across North America, take some time to look at all the good things the trucking industry and its people are working on and working toward. This week, we're highlighting a driver who saved a trooper and hurricane relief.

Fall is here, the leaves are changing, Halloween decorations are up, and trucking continues to keep America stocked. As the busy shipping season commences (Christmas is just 72 days away), let’s take a look at some of the good things the trucking industry and its people are doing.

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Trucker named Highway Angel for helping state trooper pinned in vehicle

The Truckload Carriers Association named truck driver Gary Wilburn of San Antonio, Texas, a Highway Angel for stopping to offer aid to an Arkansas state trooper who had been in a serious crash, was injured, and was pinned inside his car. Smith drives for Anderson Trucking Service (No. 66 on the for-hire FleetOwner 500) based in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Wilburn was driving very slowly in heavy traffic near Forrest City, Arkansas, on Oct. 4, around 4:45 p.m. He came across a crashed Arkansas state trooper’s vehicle on the side of the road. All other motorists were passing the vehicle without stopping.

“I was in traffic for an hour before I saw the trooper,” Wilburn said. “Some of the stuff I noticed was insane—no one’s calling the police, cars are driving by, and no one stopped to help him.”

Wilburn called 911 and stayed with the trapped trooper until emergency personnel arrived and the officer was airlifted to a local hospital. “He was banged up really bad,” Wilburn said. “Lower legs were broken, upper legs were broken, and he was pinned in—his legs were crushed really bad.”

Though Wilburn didn’t see the accident that caused the officer to be injured, he was appalled that no one else stopped to help.

“It just makes me mad—all those people who passed by him without calling or helping,” Wilburn said. “I’m that idiot that runs into burning buildings and pulls out pets—when I see something like that, I can’t keep going on about my day.”

Since the program’s inception in August 1997, nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage displayed while on the job. The program’s presenting sponsor is EpicVue and the supporting sponsor is DriverFacts.

Western ‘Pink’ Stars 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Louisville, Kentucky, fleet LC Hauling has decked out some of its fleet of Western Star trucks in pink. 

The for-hire carrier has at least two Western Star 49X tractors painted pink, and another one is gray with pink breast cancer awareness ribbons pained on the hood. 

Ford works with emergency groups on Ian relief

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian in Florida, Ford, Ford Pro, and Ford Fund are working closely with emergency response organizations, nonprofit partners, local Ford dealers, and regional team members to deliver support to communities in need. 

Ford and Ford Fund have already taken the following actions:

  • Activated emergency response plan, including contacting Ford employees, Ford dealers and those within their network, helping to transport people to Salvation Army pop-up shelters.
  • Ford Fund is donating $1 million to be distributed to the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, ToolBank USA, World Central Kitchen, and local food banks. Each nonprofit specializes in disaster relief efforts and is already on the ground in the area providing meals and shelter, and assisting with the clearing of roads for emergency personnel.
    • Deploying and loaning F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid and F-150 Lightning vehicles, plus Transit and E-Transit vehicles for nonprofits to use and power their relief efforts.
      • Existing Ford Credit and Lincoln Automotive Financial Services customers affected by the hurricane may be able to defer up to two payments. For more information, customers can go to FordCredit.com or LincolnAFS.com, or call 800-723-4016.

        Ford Fund is also exploring additional employee volunteer opportunities as well as collections and drives for food, clothing, and other essentials. 

        Convoy brings ‘Hope’ to Florida after Ian

        A relief team from Convoy of Hope deployed trucks and help to Florida as Hurricane Ian was striking the state. Convoy trucks, response vehicles, and disaster response personnel made the trip to serve thousands of survivors. Along with dozens of local partners and nearly 1,000 volunteers, hope is being found in the aftermath of this deadly disaster, the nonprofit said this week.

        Volunteers at Convoy of Hope’s World Distribution Center have packed thousands of pounds of relief supplies ahead of time, making a quick departure possible. These resources will serve as a lifeline for survivors of the storm.

        You can read more about the help the Convoy is bringing to people in Florida in a regularly updated blog on the Convoy of Hope website.

        Noregon gives out 2022 scholarships

        Noregon recently announced the recipients of its fall 2022 scholarships. Students enrolled in institutions that are part of the Noregon education program are eligible to apply for scholarships each semester. 

        Noregon’s education program is a free service for post-high-school diesel programs that provides institutions and its students with training resources, discounted Noregon purchases, and free access to the leading diagnostic and repair applications they will use in their careers.

        The following students were recognized by Noregon for hard work and dedication to their education:

        • Adalberto Cervantes (Fresno City College): The second-year student takes any opportunity to soak up knowledge by seeking out additional training and educational opportunities outside of the classroom.
        • Dennis Futrell (Forsyth Technical Community College): Growing up with a passion for working on larger equipment, Dennis plans to use his training one day to help local farmers repair their equipment.
          • Emanuel Marquez Bautista (Fresno City College): Emanuel is ready to tackle the environmental crisis head-on by helping fleets make their vehicles and equipment as environmentally friendly as possible.
            • Gage Pfeifer (Wabash Valley College): Though he is enrolled in school, Gage does not lack industry experience; he once helped a former Wabash Valley student completely rebuild a diesel engine.
              • Hayden Hiatt (Southeast Community College): Always seeking an opportunity to learn, Hayden enrolled in the diesel program at SCC because he was already familiar with the automotive industry and wanted to learn more about diesel and heavy equipment.
                • Joseph Cologne (Central New Mexico Community College): The former professional driver is now getting his hands dirty in the shop, where he has a knack for diagnosing electronic issues and helping to build a safe working environment for himself and other techs.
                  • Mason Sutphin (Advanced Technology Institute): Mason fell in love with heavy-duty trucks when he entered a diesel career program in the 10th grade. At 18 years old, Mason already brings a year of experience and an unrivaled work ethic to the diesel program.
                    • Matthew Brooks (Oconee Fall Line Technical College): A former instructor in military and civilian leadership roles, Matthew has a unique desire to learn everything he can and share that knowledge with his co-workers and associates.
                      • Morgan Fitch (Bellingham Technical College): Morgan brings a lot of experience to the classroom and has a deep understanding of diagnosing sensor and electric issues. Armed with knowledge and compassion, Morgan stated, “My goal is to help people, to fix one problem in their life so they can focus on the bigger [problems].” Additionally, Morgan is a two-time recipient of a Noregon Education Program scholarship after being awarded one in the Spring 2022 semester.
                        • Nolan Beisiegel (Ferris State University): Nolan keenly recognizes the opportunities available in the industry and a need for younger technicians to join the work force, so he enjoys introducing the career path to younger people.
                          • Robert Hummel (Ferris State University): A former member of the U.S. Army, Robert recognizes the difficulty in getting your foot in the door as a young professional and is motivated to help people discover what they are good at and turn it into a career.
                            • Ryan Stewart (Southeast Community College): Ryan has already learned a lesson that will make him immensely more successful in his career. “Even after we graduate, our training is never completed,” he said. “A tech should be learning something new almost every day.”
                              • Tevin Beatty (James Sprunt Community College): Tevin is a go-getter who recognizes the increasing need for computer-assisted diagnostics but has an old-school love of crawling under the truck, turning wrenches, and getting dirty.
                                • Valentino Briones (Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Clarksville/Dickson): A family man to his core, Valentino is back in school pursuing a diesel career to show his three sons how important education is if you want to reach your goals. Valentino hopes to one day share his knowledge with others as a diesel instructor.
                                  About the Author

                                  FleetOwner Staff

                                  Our Editorial Team

                                  Kevin Jones, Editorial Director, Commercial Vehicle Group

                                  Josh Fisher, Editor-in-Chief

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