Across the country, it’s not unusual for professional truck drivers to see and respond to others in need as they go about their daily work. Often, they do so under the radar with a great deal of humility. Ruan professional driver Julio Fernandez from our operation in Amsterdam, NY, is one of these humble, everyday heroes. Fernandez was recently awarded Ruan’s Extra Mile Award for his life-saving efforts to rescue a motorist trapped during the storms of Hurricane Ida. Fernandez quietly helped and went right back to his daily routine. His actions speak to Ruan’s Guiding Principles of Safety Focus and People First.
Dedicated Transportation Manager Steve Martin recounts the events that led to Fernandez’s nomination for the Extra Mile Award:
“On the night of September 1, Julio had left a store in Brooklyn, NY, just as Hurricane Ida was hitting New York City and New Jersey. When he crossed the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, he saw an elderly gentleman in a car that had been swept into the guard rails by the rushing waters. The motorist was trapped in his vehicle, and no one was there to assist him. Julio quickly stopped his truck and waded through waist-deep water to reach the car and get the man out. He noticed this motorist who was clearly in danger and stepped up to make sure he was moved to a safe location before the situation got worse. Julio found a transit police car and assisted the man into the back seat. Julio then proceeded back to his truck and continued his trip to the Amsterdam distribution center in soaking wet boots and clothing, through several miles of road closures.”
As a recipient of an Extra Mile Award, Fernandez was presented a $500 check and a certificate recognizing his efforts. At a celebratory dinner, Fernandez shared that he had donated his $500 award to the family of a fallen Marine from the recent attacks in Afghanistan. The fallen Marine was a friend of Fernandez’s son. Moved by Fernandez’s generosity and desire to help, Ruan proudly donated an additional $1,000 to this family in Fernandez’s honor.
“Julio is a tremendous individual and man of great character,” said Dedicated Operations Leader Jeremy Carmichael. “He truly embodies our people-focused Ruan spirit through his efforts to go above and beyond.”
Ruan’s Recognition Program includes five tiers of awards designed to recognize and celebrate the daily contributions that are made throughout the organization in providing exceptional service to our customers, the motoring public, and our teams across the country. The Extra Mile Award is given to team members who go above and beyond in living Ruan’s five Guiding Principles.