Flood rescue earns OOIDA member Highway Angel award

Tandem Thoughts

Mar 28, 2017

Daniel Sieczkarski couldn’t hold back the tears.   Sitting in the audience at the Truckload Carriers Association’s Highway Angel ceremony on March 27 in Nashville, Tenn., the OOIDA member became emotional when the video footage of him rescuing a fellow truck driver from raging floodwaters appeared.   “When they started showing the footage of the floods, my heart started racing a thousand beats a second,” Sieczkarski said. “When they started to show the clip of the actual water rescue, I started to cry a little bit. It was very emotional.”   Sieczkarski, who works for Melton Truck Lines out of Tulsa, Okla., received the TCA and EpicVue 2016 Highway Angel of the Year award.
  In April 2016, Sieczkarski and several others discovered truck driver Ronald Bumpus trapped in his truck as the floodwaters continued to rise in Brookshire, Texas. Rainfall totals reached 20 inches near Houston that day.   Even so, Sieczkarski volunteered to go into the waters to rescue Bumpus, a 66-year-old trucker who couldn’t swim. Sieczkarski put on a life jacket and attached it to a 300-foot air hose. Sieczkarski and Bumpus went under water a couple of times before they were pulled to shore.  

Both drivers avoided major injuries.

  “Daniel put another man’s life before his own,” said Lance Platt, CEO of EpicVue. “If he had not acted so quickly, the outcome could have been very different. My company considers it a privilege to be able to recognize and honor amazing professional truck drivers like him, which is why we love sponsoring this program.”   Sieczkarski said he and Bumpus are now friends. He also tried to garner support for Bumpus to offset the costs of the loss of his tractor-trailer.   “We talk about every other week,” Sieczkarski said. “We check in to find out how the other is doing.”   The video, which was released by The Weather Channel, garnered quite a bit of attention. Sieczkarski and the others involved in the rescue were dubbed “Good Samaritans,” and Sieczkarski’s face could be seen on such shows as Good Morning America.   As part of the Highway Angel of the Year award, Sieczkarski received a trophy, as well as a complimentary EpicVue satellite TV package that includes a 24-inch flat screen TV, a DVR and a one-year subscription to DIRECTV, which includes such premium channels as HBO and Showtime and the NFL Sunday Ticket.   Nashville recording artist Lindsay Lawler sang “Highway Angel” at the ceremony.   Sieczkarski said he never expected all of the attention.   “I never thought any of this would be happening to me,” he said. “This is all new to me.   “I want to thank the people who recorded the rescue. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”  
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Nussbaum Transportation and Prime Inc., were named the Best Overall Fleet in their respective categories in the Truckload Carriers Associations’ 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For Contest.   Hudson, Illinois-based Nussbaum took top honors in the small carrier category and Springfield, Missouri-based Prime received the honor for the large carrier category. Prime and Nussbaum have both been named to the Best Fleets Top 20 multiple times, but are winning the overall award for the first time.   Nussbaum operates a fleet of 400 tractors, combining both high- and low-tech solutions to create a balance across its programs. The company scored high in several categories including having an industry leading scorecard and mobile app, a simple, effective driver outreach schedule and a formal career path and certification program.   Prime’s fleet includes 7,200 tractors, but was noted for maintaining a personal touch despite it’s size. The company hosts a variety of committees, social groups and educational offerings, providing contractors with a range of options for personal and professional development. New for this year, the company implemented a new program in partnership with Missouri Good Dads, to help drivers build and strengthen family connections while away on the road.   Both companies were also noted for their safety and retention numbers as well as satisfaction scores well above 90%.   “For several years, these fleets have been catching our eye with their range of creative programs,” said Jane Jazrawy, CarriersEdge chief executive officer. “Each year they continue to expand on those offerings, so it’s easy to see why their drivers speak so highly of them, and why they’re achieving such stellar results.”   Best Fleets to Drive For is an annual survey, now in its 11th year, that recognizes North American for-hire trucking companies that provide the best workplace experience for their drivers. To participate, fleets must be nominated by a company driver or independent contractor working with them, after which they are evaluated across a broad range of categories reflecting current best practices in human resources.   From the nominated fleets, the top 20 finishers are identified as the Best Fleets to Drive For and are then categorized according to size. The highest scoring fleet in each category is named the overall winner.   The Best Fleets to Drive For survey and contest is open to any fleet operating 10 or more trucks, regardless of TCA membership status. Nominated fleets are evaluated in areas such as: Driver compensation, pension and benefits, professional development, driver and community support, and safety record. The award is offered in partnership with CarriersEdge and is co-sponsored by DMC Insurance and EpicVue.   “Year after year, the overall winners are truly changing the game,” said John Lyboldt, TCA president. “It’s imperative that fleets establish driver-centric offerings which attract and retain a skilled workforce, while establishing programs that improve the work-life balance for their employees. Prime Inc. and Nussbaum Transportation have done just that. Congratulations to both winners on this well-deserved honor.”       https://www.truckinginfo.com/326830/nussbaum-prime-named-best-overall-in-tcas-best-fleets-to-drive-for