The winner of Goodyear's 19th annual North American Highway Hero award is Larry "Scott" Travis, a professional truckdriver from Albuquerque, NM, who saved a woman's life by pulling her from a burning vehicle just before it exploded.
Travis is a 10-year veteran and a master trainer for Covenant Transportation in Chattanooga, TN. He accepted the 2001 Goodyear North American Highway Hero award, along with a $10,000 savings bond and diamond ring during a press conference March 22 at the Mid America Truck Show in Louisville.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 7, 2001, Travis was traveling just outside Sheridan, AR, when he saw flames shooting into the air from an SUV that had run off the road into a deep ditch. Bystanders could not tell him if the vehicle was occupied, but Travis thought he saw some slight movement at the driver's side door. Fire extinguisher in hand, he rushed into the deep ditch.
As he approached the vehicle, Travis realized there was a woman behind the wheel, apparently unconscious. Passing his fire extinguisher to another bystander, Travis reached through an opening in the flames to pull the woman from the SUV, suffering burns on his own body in the process. He struggled to pull her through the high overgrowth, and was repeatedly showered with flame and ash. Just seconds after pulling the woman from the vehicle, it exploded.
"Mr. Travis put himself in extreme danger to rescue a total stranger and demonstrated a courage under pressure that is truly awe-inspiring," said Ted Fick, vice president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. "He embodies the spirit of the Goodyear Highway Hero program."
Founded by Goodyear in 1983, the North America Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the oftentimes unnoticed, life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across the country.
Travis was nominated for the award during the annual nationwide search for heroic truck drivers for the 2001 North America Highway Hero Program. Five finalists won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Mid-America Trucking Show for themselves and a guest. Each of the other four drivers received a $5,000 savings bond and a commemorative plaque.