Julian Kaczor Named Goodyear Highway Hero
The truck driver from Utica, New York, was honored for his bravery here March 31 during the Mid-America Trucking Show.
Kaczor was driving through Jacksonville, Florida, when a car crashed into a construction barrier and began to emit smoke. Kaczor went to the car as it became engulfed in flames. He tried to extinguish the flames but, as the fire intensified, he forced the car's driver-side door open, pulled the injured motorist out of the vehicle and dragged him to safety.
After being named the winner, Kaczor was quick to praise his fellow finalists whom he had the chance to spend time with, as well as Goodyear for its steps to recognize those drivers.
He also urged everyone to “be cautious in construction zones” and later noted the driver was traveling much faster than the posted 45 mph speed limit.
"Julian acted instantly to help another person who was in need, without regard for his own well-being," said Gary Medalis, marketing director for Goodyear. "His decision to get involved exemplifies the courage and decisiveness of professional truck drivers."
As the 33rd Goodyear Highway Hero Award winner, Kaczor receives a special Highway Hero ring, a $5,000 prize and other items.
The two others honored at Mid-America were:
• Mark Cavanagh of Hillsville, Virginia, who was driving his truck through Pennsylvania when he saw another tractor-trailer drive off the road and roll down a hill. That truck's driver was thrown from the rig and was hanging from its mirror bracket by a belt. Cavanagh stopped his truck, cut the injured driver's belt and pulled him away from the damaged truck. He then stayed with the driver until help arrived.
• Dorian Cole of Los Angeles, who assisted a local police officer after seeing the officer collide with another motorcyclist. The impact from the collision caused the officer to hit a concrete divider. To protect the injured officer from oncoming traffic, Cole positioned his tanker truck across several highway lanes, allowing paramedics unimpeded access to the officer.
“I’m a winner because of the fact a law enforcement officer was able to recover,” Cole told Transport Topics. “I’m a winner because I was recognized by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. This is not about me — it’s all about the officer being saved. I’m glad I was at right place at the right time and acted."
“Goodyear is proud to be the company that honors truck drivers for their heroism,” Medalis said. “Each of our Highway Hero Award finalists is a hero in his own right and is truly worthy of recognition.”