A Texas truck driver – called a “mountain of a man” by the family whose lives he saved – has been
named the 22nd Goodyear North American Highway Hero. The honors were
announced recently at the Mid-America Trucking Show.
Rick Dent – a
6-foot, 300-pound, Diana, TX, driver for Groendyke Transport Inc. – was
credited with aiding Bob Strickland and his small children, Megan and Paul,
when Strickland’s car swerved to miss a deer and landed in a water-filled
The wreck happened
July 14, 2004, in a 6-foot-deep ditch teeming with snakes, along U.S. 84 near
“This huge man
pulled the door open about 3 inches, but it was stuck. Suddenly, my daughter
screamed again, and he grabs the door and pulls it off the car like it is made
of cardboard,” Strickland said.
Dent took Megan and
Paul to land, and returned for Strickland, whose foot was lodged under the
dash. Dent dove and freed Strickland’s foot, then carried him to safety.
“This man saved our
lives,” Strickland said. “The car sank before he got me to the bank. I have a
new respect for truck drivers.”
Dent was awarded a
$10,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a specially designed size 17 ring for his nearly
3-1/2 inch finger circumference during the Mid America Trucking Show.
Dent was selected
along with three other truck drivers as finalists for the 2004 award. Other
member David Tucker, of La Grande, OR, driver for Seneca Foods Corp. – Tucker saved the life of a female California Highway Patrol officer, who
was brutally attacked during a traffic stop Dec. 2, 2003.
- Jose Ogas Jr., of Fayetteville, NC,
driver for TMC Transportation – While traveling on Interstate 70 in Pennsylvania, Ogas saved a
man and his daughter from their burning car Dec. 31, 2003.
- Pat Foraker, of Quaker City, OH, driver
for Transport Corp. of America – Foraker and his wife, Brenda, saved the lives of two women in a
two-car crash on April 15, 2004.