Goodyear Highway Hero grateful to be back on the road

| 6/25/2009

Goodyear’s 2008 North America Highway Hero Jorge Orozco-Sanchez, an independent owner-operator, recently returned to his truck-driving duties after the trucking industry and related organizations pitched in to help get him back on the road.

Orozco-Sanchez is an OOIDA member from Firestone, CO. He had been out of work since an SUV crossed into his path and struck his tractor-trailer rig head-on in October 2008.  

For his heroic act in saving two young girls, Orozco-Sanchez was awarded the Goodyear Highway Hero award in March at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, KY. However, circumstances delayed his return to driving, his family’s main source of income was gone, the bills continued to pile up, and he was without a truck to resume his livelihood.

As Orozco-Sanchez was faced with these ongoing challenges, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association stepped in, found him 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. He also received an OOIDA fuel card, Truckers Advantage, with a $200 balance, compliments of Fleet One.

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.

The Truck Writers of North America’s board was approached to assist with a grant to help with the insurance down-payment. TWNA is the industry’s working press. The board agreed to fund half of the amount, and to put its directors to work contacting member companies to raise the remaining half.

TWNA member companies ArvinMeritor, Bendix, Caterpillar, Eaton, SAF-Holland, SKF, and Truck-Lite quickly stepped up to match the donation from the TWNA treasury, followed shortly by the team at Shell Commercial Lubricants making a donation matching the entire grant. The down-payment was sent to the insurance carrier within hours of the original request.

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, Colo., 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.

TWNA Chair Jami Jones said the association’s officers also felt the “circumstances 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 and its members are 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