Commercial truck driver Gerald “Andy” Wright received the 2020-2021 Highway Hero Award from the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company at the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council’s 2022 Annual Convention in Orlando.
While driving a route, Wright encountered a vehicle that was on fire following an accident. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and load bar and quickly suppressed the fire as best he could until the extinguisher ran out. Wright then proceeded to break the vehicle’s sunroof and helped pull the trapped occupants out and to safety. By the time all riders had been removed, the car was fully engulfed in fire.
“I want to thank Goodyear,” said Wright. “There are a lot of truck drivers out there that hopefully would do the same thing I did that day. From the moment I saw the flames, all I could think about was what I could do to help those inside the car get to safety. I’m honored to be given this award from Goodyear, and at the end of the day I feel very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to help those in need.”
Wright is the 37th recipient of the award that goes out to drivers who demonstrate extraordinary acts of courage to help fellow citizens.
“Not only do drivers deliver essential goods, many drivers also go above and beyond their regular duties, even serving as first responders to incidents that occur on our highways or roads,” said Gary Schroeder, executive director, Cooper Commercial at Goodyear.
Other finalists for the award were Jami Meyers and Phillip Hurte.
Meyers was driving on an interstate when she noticed a car in front of her swerved lanes and hit a barrier. Meyers quickly exited her truck to investigate when she noticed the vehicle was slowly moving, and the car’s driver was on the ground in front of the car. Meyers immediately entered the vehicle and put the car in reverse to ensure the man could be safely removed from the car’s path. Meyers then placed a coat on the man to keep him warm and stayed with him until emergency personnel arrived.
Hurte was driving through Lubbock, Texas, when he witnessed an SUV roll over. Acting quickly, Hurte immediately hit his brakes and pulled over to see if he could help the situation. When Hurte approached the damaged vehicle, he noticed two adults and a young child inside. Hurte proceeded to help each family member exit safely and waited with them as first responders rushed to the scene.
Wright received $1,000 and other custom prizes from Goodyear for winning the award. Meyers and Hurte also received monetary prizes for being named finalists.