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September 28, 2017 4:00 PM, EDT
Truck-Driving Heroes, On and Off the Clock, Honored by FedEx Freight for Going Extra Mile

Like many a Good Samaritan, Blake Carter shrugged off his golden deed as what anyone should have done in the same circumstance.

Carter, a FedEx Freight driver in Memphis, witnessed a head-on crash on Brooks near Interstate 55 on his way home one night last year.

He went to the aid of three accident victims, pulling a man with multiple broken bones from his vehicle. He checked on the others, called 9-11 and victims’ families and waited for emergency crews and family members to arrive.

‘You just roll, you just go with it’

What went through his mind? “Nothing,” said Carter, 32. “You just roll, you just go with it. If my family was in an accident like that, if I was, I would expect somebody to do the same thing. “

Carter was among 53 FedEx Freight employees from across the country honored in Memphis this week for heroic efforts in their communities or going the extra mile on the job.

FedEx’s operating units – Express, Ground and Freight – each year brings dozens of employees to Memphis to receive awards for work-related achievements and Humanitarian Awards for deeds like Carter’s.

“These are people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their customers or in service to mankind,” said Mike Ducker, president and CEO of FedEx Freight, the company’s less-than-truckload unit. “The stories that you hear are just unbelievable from this great group of employees.”

“At FedEx, we’re a service business, and any kind of great service business thrives based on the discretionary effort of its employees,” Ducker said. “These people not only give it 100% every day, but again, they go above and beyond. They give the discretionary effort. They walk the extra mile.”

Workers aided Harvey victims

Hurricane Heroes were a late addition this year, Ducker said. These were FedEx Freight employees who responded after Hurricane Harvey swamped the Texas Gulf Coast.

“These are people that certainly went above and beyond for their fellow man, rescuing people from homes, providing food, water, medical supplies, meals ready to eat,” Ducker said.

Carter, a 14-year employee, started working on the dock at FedEx Freight, earned his commercial driver’s license through the company and became a city driver.

He felt honored to be in the presence of other award winners. “We were sharing stories over the past few nights, what everybody has done. It’s amazing that many people are brought to one place to discuss all those things,” Carter said.

‘Amazing stories’ shared by winners

Other winners included Bryce Neilson, 33, a driver from Anaconda, Mont., and Mario Estrada, 49, a driver from South Las Vegas, Nevada.

Their reward was time off for a trip to Memphis, tours of Graceland and other attractions, a banquet in The Peabody’s rooftop Skyway and an opportunity to get to know company officials and fellow employees.

“You share the stories, it’s really nice,” Estrada said. “Some of them are amazing stories, but this is what we do everyday.”

Estrada came upon an accident on an Arizona highway on his daily run from Las Vegas to Phoenix. He got the unconscious driver out of the vehicle and administered CPR before emergency crews arrived.

Montana driver scores hat trick

Neilson snagged his second Humanitarian Award, on the heels of winning Rookie of the Year at the National Truck Driving Championships in August in Orlando.

Neilson was rounding a curve outside Helena, Montana last November when a semitruck carrying liquid oxygen, a hazardous material, rolled over in front of him. He helped warn other drivers about the accident and helped free the driver from the truck cab.

Neilson said the honor was “very humbling. We’re all family, It’s great to hear other stories and meet other great people.”

FedEx ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC