First, I'd like to ask the trucking industry to send thoughts and prayers to the family of John Lex, a professional driver for Walmart and America’s Road Team Captain who lost his battle with colon cancer this week. I've been following Lex's journey in and out of remission, sharing his triumphs through this blog and calling for assistance from the community when Lex needed it most. His unwavering optimism and contagiously joyous personality will live on in the industry through his unforgettable legacy. In that spirit, here are five good things that happened in trucking this week.
J.B. Hunt donates $43,000 through Adopt-A-Class program
J.B. Hunt has donated $43,000 to teachers across the country through its Adopt-A-Class program.
This program gives company drivers an opportunity to nominate their child or grandchild’s classroom, kindergarten through fifth grade, for a chance to receive a gift card donation valued at $1,000 to help their teacher purchase school supplies for their classroom.
Watch the video below as Carol Ruff, a third-grade teacher at Holcomb Elementary, finds out about her nomination.
TCA names three Highway Angels
Bales, from Nixa, Missouri, and truck driver with Ryder, was named a Highway Angel for rushing to the aid of a man trapped in his overturned vehicle, which soon after caught fire. Read his full story here.
Davison, from Crown Point, Indiana, and truck driver with ABF Freight System, was named a Highway Angel for stopping to help a couple after they lost control of the U-Haul truck and trailer they were driving and flipped. Read his full story here.
Thurman, from Homer Glen, Illinois, and truck driver with ABF Freight System, was named a Highway Angel for aiding a woman and her two daughters after their vehicle overturned in a ditch. Read his full story here.
Navistar donates to Canadian technician education
Navistar has completed its first equipment donation to Canadian technical programs through the TECH EmPOWERment initiative, which supplies accredited technical schools with equipment, real-world advisory counsel, and prospects for aspiring technicians.
To further aid technician education, dealers from around the U.S. have donated equipment to local colleges and technical programs through the TECH EmPOWERment initiative. Since 2016, nearly 60 donations have been made to technical programs throughout North America. The TECH EmPOWERment initiative was officially established in 2020 to provide more direction and organization for the donations.
“This donation from East Coast International and Navistar will have a tremendous impact for students in our Truck & Transport Service Technician program, giving them the opportunity to hone their skills with state-of-the-art equipment, setting them up with current industry knowledge and experience,” said Mary Butler, president at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC). “Our goal at NBCC is to ensure that our students are job-ready when they graduate, and donations of equipment provide the much-needed teaching resources to ensure we reach that outcome.”
St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund receives $21,000 donation
AMBEST, a collective of independent truck stop and service center owners, is giving back to the professional driver community with a total donation of $21,086 to St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF).
Over the past few years, AMBEST has raised over $80,000 for SCF to help semi-truck drivers and their families who have financial needs due to current medical problems. AMBEST owners, employees and even drivers helped raise $11,086 on Tuesday 11/30/21. That amount combined with the AMBEST corporate match of $10,000 brings the grand total donated to SCF to well over $100,000.
“The past two years have been tough on everyone” said AMBEST President and CEO Steve Allen, “But particularly hard-pressed have been the professional drivers across the country. Our AMBEST locations work hard every day to take care of drivers, and the money donated will further help and bless them in their time of need.”
“We are beyond excited and grateful for the support of AMBEST and for the money raised to help drivers,” said Donna Kennedy, executive director at SCF. “Even through tough years, we have never turned drivers away due to a lack of funds. This donation will continue to help many when they need it most. AMBEST really is the best!”
UPS driver pulls man from burning semi
Frankie Ruybal, who has been a UPS for 26 years, was driving his UPS truck in Albuquerque, New Mexico along U.S. 550 when he saw smoke on the side of the road Friday.
"I thought it was a brush fire, maybe some kids started a bush on fire, so I pulled over," Ruybal said. "As I was walking to the ravine, I noticed there was a whole semi in the ravine."
The semi—on fire—crashed in the ditch. That's when Ruybal jumped into action.
"I didn't really think too much about it, I just went down and I did notice a man halfway ejected out of the rig," he said. "So I pulled him down from what was left of the motor compartment area and dragged him to the side of the cab.”
Ruybal heard the driver gasp, so he looked up the hill and got a number of guys at the top of the ravine to help. According to KOB4, those bystanders and Jemez police officers followed Ruybal's directions and they were able to get the man up to the road. Bystanders are calling Ruybal a hero.
But according to Ruybal, he was just doing what anyone would do. He said moments like this make you really appreciate those around you.
"It's life! At any turn, it could be a life or death situation," Ruybal said. "So I'm going to go pick up my son. I'm going to appreciate hanging out with him."
Watch the video of Ruybal’s rescue here.