Friday, May 29, 2009

Putting the highway back in Highway Hero

Jorge Orozco-Sanchez is an OOIDA member from Firestone, CO. You may recognize that name from the pages of our May issue. Jorge is the 2008 Goodyear Highway Hero.

Last fall, he was involved in a wreck in which an SUV veered into the path of his truck. The horrific head-on crash took the life of a 27-year-old mother, but Jorge was able to rescue the two children strapped in the car seats in back. Fire engulfed the SUV, and the flames destroyed Jorge’s truck and trailer, too. His heroic effort earned Jorge esteem from not only Goodyear, but the entire trucking industry.

The wreck happened in October 2008. Battling insurance red tape put him off the road for five long months. After meeting Jorge in Louisville, Land Line Now’s Reed Black said, “We have leads on good used trucks and a financing department; can we lend a hand to this guy?”

Such things are not always easy, but OOIDA was able to help Jorge find a good deal on a 2005 Freightliner Columbia (with APU) and a trailer. OOIDA’s Margo Fries and Joe Greer helped put together a plan that financed the equipment. Margo helped him get a grant on the APU from SmartWay. The one-stop shopping at OOIDA for permits, insurance, etc. was handy, too.

On Friday, May 29, Jorge picked up the truck here at HQ. Reed and I greeted him at the door. It was great to see Jorge again. He drove down from Colorado with his friend Manuel Sierra, another trucker (and new OOIDA member) from Scoular, the company that Jorge worked for prior to the accident and that is glad to have him back.

Special kudos to Goodyear Tires, who welcomed Jorge back by putting on 18 new Fuel Max tires all around and donating refurbished wheels for the truck. Pilot kicked in a $250 gift card. TA gets a nod, too, for making him a lifetime member of the TA RoadKing Club Chrome Club Elite with nice credit worth $100 on the card as well.

This morning, a small crowd of OOIDA folks walked with Jorge out to the red 2005 Freightliner. OOIDA’s Joe Greer handed the keys to Jorge, who climbed aboard and fired ’er up. Nice moment. The truck had been parked for a few months and it may sound crazy, but I swear when that diesel roared to life, it was like it could not wait to get back to work, too.

Jorge’s old company is ready to make that happen. I hear there’s a load waiting for him on Monday.