AKRON, Ohio, June 16, 2009 — Goodyear’s 2008 North America Highway Hero Jorge Orozco Sanchez recently returned to his truck-driving duties after the trucking industry and related organizations pitched in to help get the independent owner-operator back on the road.
Orozco Sanchez had been out of work since an SUV crossed into his path and struck his tractor-trailer rig head-on in October 2008. He rescued two young girls who were trapped in the burning vehicle, but he was unable to save the girl’s mother.
For his heroic act in saving the two girls, Orozco Sanchez was awarded the Goodyear Highway Hero award in March at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, KY. However, because he continued to await a settlement on his destroyed rig even after several months, his family’s main source of income was gone, the bills continued to pile up, and he was without a truck to allow him to resume his livelihood.
As Orozco Sanchez was faced with these ongoing challenges, the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) responded to his dilemma and stepped in to locate a 2005 Freightliner Columbia tractor in Missouri and a 2008 Timpte grain hopper in Illinois, and financed the purchase. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company donated 18 new Goodyear truck tires with Fuel Max Technology to replace worn tires on the tractor and trailer. Pilot Travel Centers donated a $250 fuel card to help Orozco Sanchez pay for his trip to pick up the truck and trailer.
Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems’ location in East Peoria, IL, mounted and balanced the new tires and equipped his trailer with new wheels.
Friends loaned Orozco Sanchez the money to pay for the truck and trailer’s registration and licensing. And the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA) and its member organizations paid the $1,400 down payment due on his insurance.
A true team effort on behalf of the trucking industry was able to get this “Hero” back on the road to earn a living.
“I am so grateful to everyone who helped me get back on the road,” said Orozco Sanchez, who made his first two deliveries of grain from The Scoular Company’s grain facility in Sterling, CO, to the Five Rivers Feed lot outside Gilcrest, CO, on June 3. “This gives my family a chance to catch up with the bills. God bless everyone, and I want them to know I will work hard and try not to let them down.”
Tim Miller, Goodyear Commercial Tire marketing and communications manager, said Goodyear is pleased to be able to help Orozco Sanchez. “Jorge’s situation was extraordinary,” Miller said. “We just felt strongly that he and his family shouldn’t continue to suffer financially when he had been so selfless in helping others.”
“I am also proud of the fact that the Wingfoot staff at the East Peoria location came in on their own time on a weekend to mount and balance the tires, helping Jorge stay on schedule to return home to Colorado with this new rig,” he added.
Jami Jones, TWNA chairwoman, said the association’s officers also felt the “red tape that kept this special man off the road for nearly six months just didn’t seem right.
“TWNA has been privileged for many years to host the presentation of the Goodyear North America Highway Hero award at its annual banquet,” she said. “TWNA was honored to do its part in getting Jorge back on the road and honoring all that the Goodyear Highway Hero program stands for.”
For more on Goodyear’s Highway Hero program and to nominate a truck driver for the 27th anniversary of the award, go to http://www.goodyear.com/truck/news/hero.html.