Several drivers recognized for heroic acts on the road

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The Truckload Carriers Association has been recognizing Highway Angels, or professional truck drivers who demonstrate compassion and courage on the road, since its 1997 inception. Recently, seven standout drivers received the honor for acts of heroism performed.

“Their good deeds range from simple acts of kindness, such as fixing a flat tire, to heroic life-saving efforts, such as pulling someone from a burning vehicle and administering CPR,” according to the TCA website.

Highway Angels can be nominated by their employers, fellow drivers or the people they assisted. After the nomination comes in, the TCA verifies the details of the nomination before recognizing the driver.

Honored drivers receive a lapel pin, patch, decals and certificate of appreciation. Their employers also receive a certificate to display.

Three of the seven Highway Angels recognized in April are featured below. The other four will be highlighted next week.

Donald Wood -- Fort Smith, Arkansas

Wood drives for ABF Freight, and he is being recognized rescuing an elderly man and his dog from a blizzard in January. The man’s vehicle ran off the road and got stuck.

Wood noticed that vehicle’s unmoving headlights as he pulled into a motel to rest for the night before continuing his trek home the next morning. He discovered a small pickup truck with a camper trailer stuck in a snowdrift.

“I knew something was wrong,” Wood said. “He said he didn’t know where he was and he was afraid he’d freeze to death out there.”

Wood freed the man with a broken shovel from the motel, working for over an hour to release the pickup truck’s tires from the snow. He then had the man wait out the storm at the motel. The man offered to pay Wood, but he declined.

John Gubaci -- Calhoun, Georgia

Gubaci, who has been driving for ABF Freight since 2006, assisted a stranded motorist whose vehicle was caught fire.

One day last May, Gubaci was driving through Dalton, Georgia when he saw a vehicle on fire and noticed a woman standing on the side of the road. Without hesitation, he pulled over to help.

“It was flaming pretty good by the time I arrived,” Gubaci said. “As I worked on the fire, the woman called 911. I waited with her for 10-15 minutes to make sure the flames didn’t start up again.”

The woman gave him a hug and thanked him for stopping to help her. While other drivers slowed down, no one else stopped.

Christopher Lemaire -- Erath, Louisiana

Lemaire drives for Revere Transportation and is a former highway patrol officer. He is being recognized for his willingness to stop and help after witnessing a vehicle lose control on icy roads and flip multiple times, ejecting the driver and a passenger.

“I knew he was in trouble,” Lemaire said of the driver. “He was skidding out of control.”

After hitting a culvert in the median, the car hit the ground at an angle, smashing the driver’s side window and rolling several times. Lemaire responded as quickly as possible. When he arrived, the driver was standing up and trying to walk. His pants were badly torn, and Lemaire could see he likely had a broken leg. He sat him down, then rushed over to the passenger. Another car arrived and Lemaire asked the driver to call 911 and stay with the injured driver.

“Chris has been working with us for quite some time,” said Revere Transportation Fleet Manager Christina Applegate. “He is an exemplary model driver for our company and we feel he was very courageous for the actions he took that night.”