One of our favorite things to cover in the industry is trucker heroes. These are the men and women who, often with no regard for their own safety, put their lives on the line for other motorists on the highways.
Thursday night, the Truck Writers of North America were proud to host the Truckload Carriers Association’s Highway Angel of the Year Presentation. TWNA’s event, sponsored by Shell Rotella, offered a chance for the trucking media to celebrate the 2014 recipient, who is David Ragland of Cotopaxi, Colo. Ragland drives for Kelle’s Transport Service of West Valley City, Utah.
Ragland played a key role in saving two children’s lives after the car they were in swerved off the road, crumpled in half, turned upside down, and caught on fire. Ragland emptied his own fire extinguisher trying to smother the flames and then used another provided by someone else on the scene.
He then assisted another motorist by holding back tree branches so a baby – still alive and strapped to his car seat – could be extracted. Eventually, fire and rescue personnel were able to rescue a second child, although tragically both parents and an 8-year-old half-sister had perished.
After the August 2013 incident, Ragland kept quiet about what happened until about a year later, when his company offered a $100 prize for a Good Samaritan contest. When his story was chosen as the winner, Ragland decided not only to donate the money to the surviving children, but also to add to it with money from his own pocket. Before long, Kelle’s Transport office staff and management began to make donations – until the amount grew to $5,000 ($2,500 per child).
As the “EpicAngel,” Ragland, a veteran of the U.S. Army, received a trophy saluting his willingness to stop and help that day. He will also receive a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flat screen TV, a DVR, and a one-year subscription to over 100 channels of DIRECTV programming, including premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Ragland was ill and was unable to accept the 2014 TCA Highway Angel award at the TWNA event. TCA President Brad Bently and EpicVue Vice President of Sales Kyle Hale and TCA Highway Angel spokesperson and recording artist Lindsay Lawler presented the award to Dennis Ford of Kelle’s Transport, who accepted the trophy on Ragland’s behalf.
Image Credit: Highway Angels