Fazio, based in Nevada, operates for a major owner-operator carrier out of Florida.

Five Good Things: Truck drivers help and are helped

May 24, 2024
Ex-Guard and CPC Logistics honor heroic truck drivers, ATA and Travel Centers of America launch campaigns to support truck drivers, and FedEx supports small businesses.

Obviously, the trucking industry always centers around drivers. But in this week’s Five Good Things, the industry goes out of its way to honor and support deserving truck drivers.

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Owner-operator saved from drunk driver, awarded a new Ex-Guard

In late August 2023, owner-operator Vince Fazio had a run-in with an out-of-control drunk driver.

Based in Nevada, Fazio contracts with a major carrier out of Florida. He was on one of his regular routes on Highway 93 by Wickenburg, Arizona, when a drunk driver involved in an active police chase slammed into Fazio’s truck at more than 50 miles per hour—the intoxicated driver of the 6,000-lb. F-150 struck the Ex-Guard and front fender.

“I honestly think I would have died if an Ex-Guard would not have been on my truck. My lower bumper was destroyed, but I lived. The guard took 95% of the impact, and I have the chance to work another day,” Fazio said. “Ex-Guard prevented my truck from being totaled, saving me at least $60,000 in expenses.”

After the accident, Fazio needed time to heal from the bumps and bruises while working through challenges with his insurance carrier. Because of these setbacks, he couldn’t get a new Ex-Guard on his truck.

“When we saw Vince’s story and heard he wasn’t able to get a guard for his truck, we knew it was the right thing to help Vince and his family with a new Ex-Guard,” said Ex-Guard’s Head of Sales Joel Wooten. 

Ex-Guard connected with Chris Fjeldsted, parts sales manager at Premier Truck Group of Salt Lake City. Fjeldsted had the right guard in stock to fit Fazio's truck. “We have hundreds of stories of customers that have been protected by Ex-Guard. We’re glad to be able to keep another one of our customers on the road and safe,” Fjeldsted said.

The drunk driver involved in this case recently pleaded guilty, helping close this chapter of Fazio’s life. He noted, “Not only did the guard protect me, but it helped push away the F-150, keeping both vehicles from being more damaged. It does save lives!”

New industry image campaign to underscore trucking’s role in American life

The American Trucking Associations recently launched “Nothing Without Trucking,” a nationwide image campaign to educate policymakers and the public about the indispensable role trucking plays in Americans’ lives. The campaign launched at ATA’s Mid-Year Management Session in San Antonio with an introductory video, new website with social media shareables, and a call to action for industry supporters to share their stories.

“This time of year, as schools wind down and summer vacations dot the horizon, we're here to remind America that in every season and at every moment of daily life, there’s nothing without trucking,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. “In an election year when it can feel our country is more polarized than ever, trucking is an incomparable industry that connects Americans of every background in ways that are literal, essential, and personal. Our footprint is omnipresent, our reach is inescapable, and this campaign will show why trucking is the true beating heart of this nation.”

Nothing Without Trucking will champion the trucking industry’s story through earned and paid media, digital content, grassroots mobilization, and in-person events that connect the men and women of trucking with elected officials, political candidates, and the motoring public.

“The tireless work of this industry instills a quiet confidence in every American that we can effortlessly get the products and goods we need precisely when we need them,” said ATA COO Sarah Rajtik. “This campaign will tell our American story in new and innovative ways. We will spotlight the millions of individuals who make trucking safer, innovative, efficient, and more environmentally responsible—from the drivers behind the wheel to the techs on the shop floor to the dispatchers, safety directors, and fleet managers who all play an indispensable role in keeping our economy moving.”

Truck driver awarded for heroic deed 

Tom Melillo, a CPC Logistics truck driver assigned to drive for Walgreens, recently earned CPC’s prestigious President’s Award for rescuing a stranded driver from floodwaters in late March.

Melillo was traveling south on U.S. Route 9 to make a delivery when he encountered a flooded section of roadway. Determining it was safe for him to proceed, he maneuvered along the flooded road, where he discovered a car floating in the water. The driver inside appeared distressed, so Melillo drove to high ground, exited his truck, and went to the roadside to offer assistance.

The driver climbed out of the car window but fell into the water, attempting to get to Melillo. Melillo ran in to help the driver to her feet. He began to walk her along the embankment and under the highway overpass, where she slipped into water up to her neck. Melillo jumped in once more and was able to get her to safety. She was wet and cold, so Melillo gave her his jacket to keep warm and waited with her until emergency services professionals arrived.

To recognize his heroic actions, CPC Logistics presented Melillo with the President’s Award—given to CPC employees who do something outstanding outside their regular job duties—on May 14 at Strickland’s Steak House in Woodbridge, New Jersey. 

See also: Fleets Explained: How are electric vehicles different?

FedEx awards over $230,000 to 10 small businesses

FedEx recently unveiled the recipients of the 12th annual FedEx Small Business Grants Program. Ten U.S.-based businesses were chosen this year out of over 3,900 applications.

Grand prize recipient ($50,000):

Nine additional recipients ($20,000 each):

“At FedEx, we are dedicated to empowering our small and medium-sized business owners and equipping them with impactful resources for success,” said Aimee DiCicco, SVP of customer engagement marketing and retail channel solutions, FedEx. “We’re thrilled to showcase these amazing entrepreneurs and are committed to helping their businesses thrive and grow.”

All grant recipients also receive a $500 print credit at the FedEx Office, a $300 voucher from My FedEx Rewards, access to FedEx Premier Customer Care, a packaging consultation from the FedEx Packaging Lab, a digital and technology consultation from the FedEx Digital Sales Solutions team, an invite to attend a Small Business Strategic Insights Forum, and a feature on the FedEx Small Business Center.

“We are incredibly honored to be named the grand prize recipient of this year’s FedEx Grant Program,” said Kelsey Nolan, Bombi's co-founder and chief marketing officer. “As a small business, winning this FedEx grant is a powerful validation of our commitment to sustainability and innovation, and we are beyond grateful for the support it provides. With the ongoing partnership of FedEx, we look forward to continuing to offer parents best-in-class products for their everyday adventures while protecting the planet for future generations.”

Over the past 12 years, nearly 80,000 businesses have applied to the program in the United States alone. FedEx has awarded more than $2 million total in grant money and printing credits combined since the program’s inception.

TravelCenters of America launches Round Up Campaign to support St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund

TravelCenters of America is conducting its annual Round Up campaign in support of the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund. Beginning Friday, May 24, and running through July 31, guests can round up their purchase to the nearest dollar. That extra change will directly benefit professional truck drivers out of work due to illness or injury. Last year, the Round Up campaign raised over $120,000.

Since 2010, TA has raised more than $3 million through campaigns and initiatives for SCF. “This organization is an invaluable safety net for professional drivers when they’re experiencing a difficult time in their life,” said Debi Boffa, TA CEO. “We are grateful to our generous guests who recognize the value SCF brings to these incredibly hard-working men and women during their time of need.”

In addition to helping drivers facing financial hardship, SCF offers several other benefits for the professional driver community, including tobacco cessation programs, health and wellness guidance, free vaccines, and preventive cancer screening tests.

“We are so grateful for the support TravelCenters of America provides in helping our driver community,” said Donna Kennedy, executive director, SCF. “Our safety net is only as strong as our amazing partners and sponsors, and we have the best.”

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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