Tuesday, October 30, 2007

International Towing Hall of Fame & Museum News

The New Hall Of Famers: Seven outstanding industry leaders have been inducted into the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame as the Class of 2007.
Richard D. Bays, Jr. (Watsonville, California), John E. Chambers (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada), Harriet S. Cooley (Bethesda, Maryland), Richard A. Frasier (Hague, New York), Pat Herring (Somerset, Pennsylvania), Randy Olson (Chattanooga, Tennessee), and Joseph Pedigo (Normal, Illinois) were nominated by members of the International Hall of Fame and Museum for their many contributions to the towing and recovery industry, their families and their communities.
The Hall of Fame members were recognized at an induction ceremony held September 14th, 2007 at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. With the closing of the 2007 Class Induction, the International Towing & Recovery Museum is now accepting nominations for the Class of 2008. Please find the nomination form on the museum’s Web site at www.internationaltowingmuseum.org.
For additional information about the inductees, or a photograph of the Class of 2007, call Cheryl Mish at the Museum.

At the Wall of the Fallen in Chattanooga.
Photo by Al Gregg of Dakota Service & Repair.

The Wall: First Names -
The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum has officially unveiled the first addition of names on the “Wall of the Fallen” Memorial Wall that was originally dedicated on September 9th, 2006. The complete list of names is in the November issue of Footnotes.At a memorable and emotional ceremony, 94 names were unveiled on bronze nameplates as hundreds of people watched. The Flag Truck also unfurled for the first time the office flag of the U.S. Department of Transportation in a fitting tribute to our fallen towing operators.
This ceremony was the first annual name unveiling and will continue to be held every year in the City of Chattanooga on the 3rd Saturday in September.
Here's a story about the late Bill Garrett, owner and operator of Garrett Wrecker in Checotah, OK who was one of the fallen honored on the wall.

Here's a video story by WDEF News 12 about the ceremony.

And an additional story about a VA tow truck driver John Drees whose name is now on the Wall.

The Fund: First Donation -The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum’s Survivor Fund recently released the first donation of $1,000 to a towing operator’s family. The Fund was established in November 2005 by the Board of Directors with help from many volunteers.

Survivor Fund money is available to any family that loses a towing operator in the line of service as long as it is applied for within 90 days from the date of death. Money can be applied for with the necessary pertinent information such as a death certificate and police report of the accident. All money must be applied for by an immediate family member (ie. Mother, father, brother, sister, etc.).

For more information about the Survivor Fund including the mission statement and an application, visit www.thesurvivorfund.com.

The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, the world’s only Industry museum, opened September 22, 1995. The museum houses 17 antique tow trucks along with industry displays and memorabilia. The museum is located in Chattanooga , Tennessee , home to the Ernest Holmes manufacturing company, the first U.S. manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment. For additional information, call (423) 267-3132.

Final Farewell to VA tower

Our condolences go to the family and friends of Junior Woody of Woody's Garage in Virginia who died in early October after being crushed by a bus he was trying to tow. Read the tribute to the veteran tower by Richmond Times-Dispatch writer Bill McKelway here.

Great Recovery Pictures!

Check out the series of photos online at Pensacola News Journal of a Dodge Truck being recovered from Florida's Santa Rosa Sound by Fletcher's Towing.

Child Left in Car is Discovered by a Tow Truck Driver

Just last month (check out the September 8 "Yikes!" post about that), there was a story about a toddler left in a car who jumped from that car while it was being repossessed. Now, here's a story about another toddler, this time in TX, who was left in the car that was parked illegally and was discovered by tow truck driver Stacy Holland when he brought the car back to the lot. Read the khou.com news story and watch a clip of the tow truck driver's interview here.

Good Profile on S&V Towing of Canada

...and check out the picture of them doing some ice fishing to retrieve a Hummer! Read it here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not just for rescuing cars...

Tow trucks are handy for helping animals, too!

Deer Gets A Lift: Jason Schultz, who drives a wrecker for Preferred Towing of MI, helped pull a 80-to 100-pound buck out of a six-foot well. A six-year old girl from saw the deer go in and her insistence led to the rescue. Read the story in the Times-Herald here.

Towing Company Pulls "Mountain" out of a Pool: Fountain City Wrecker of Knoxville TN helped hoist a 1200-lb horse named Mountain out of a pool behind a vacant home recently. Check out the story and a picture of Mountain here.

More Tow Heroes - AL & TX

Similar to a recent story about a Canadian tow truck hero (see post further down the page), Rusty Whitten of Eagle Towing in Alabama pulled one car away from the fiery wreck of another after a deadly crash. His actions helped to save three occupants, a father and two children.
Read the full story here in The Southeast Sun.
Check out another story on Whitten's actions from WTVY News4.com here.

Two Texas tow truck drivers, Hector Garfias and Todd Saunders, drove into rising waters to rescue an elderly couple who were stranded in their car. Read the CBS11TV news story here and watch the video clip.

Nice story on a CO tower

Found this story by Paul E. Anna in The Aspen Times about Wayne Crain of Ajax Towing. Read it here.

Another Educational Opportunity!

The Extreme Extrication Seminar, a three-day workshop that includes the Great Florida Fire School, will be held in Avon Park, FL. It's hosted by Ex-Team Heavy Rescue and runs from Wednesday, November 7, to Saturday, November 10. There's also a Friday night banquet. Cost to towers is $150. To register, visit www.exteamrescue.com and go to the "Class Information" page.

Haven't heard of the Ex-Team? Read about them here in the first section of the January '06 issue of Towing & Recovery Footnotes on p. 23.

Read about a good example of crosstraining here. Las Vegas Fire and Rescue have teamed with Ewing Brothers Towing to train for quick response to major accidents.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Upcoming Educational Opportunities

Wreckmaster Classes being offered:

OCT. 31 & NOV. 1 - Level 2/3 in Oklahoma City, OK

NOV. 3 & 4 - Level 2/3 in Old Bridge, NJ

NOV. 3 & 4 - Level 4/5 in Roanoke, VA (The Woodland Place, Vinton, VA)

Visit www.wreckmaster.com to register and learn more.

Unsolicited Advice: Keep the gate closed.

Remember that story in early October about the FL football player who stole a car back from a towing company (if you don't, check out the Oct. 4 post below). The property owner didn't press charges. Well, it appears that an average customer pulled the same stunt and police are making sure she gets the same treatment as the football star...

Read The Gainesville Sun story here.

Jerr-Dan Continues to Offer towPartner Memberships

Jerr-Dan will once again provide towPartner basic memberships to the entire towing and recovery industry in 2008.

According to the press release:
towPartners will provide these Basic Members a large number of cost savings benefits including quality programs from trusted brands such as Aramark, Sprint Nextel, Office Depot, Dell, Aircharge, T-Chek and more. With a current offering from well over thirty Supplier Partner companies and more being added regularly, towPartners is uniquely positioned to save the towing industry more money than ever. In 2007, towPartners expects to save its members well over seven million dollars and Jerr-Dan’s provision of these memberships in 2008 promises to save the industry millions of additional dollars.
To learn more about towParnters, visit www.towpartners.com and check out the Towing & Recovery Footnotes' profile of towPartners' vice-president Jeffrey Godwin in the first section of our October issue on page 14.

SIDENOTE: towParnters has also announced that towSearch.com, its online road service provider tool, has exceeded 22,000 listed companies from across the United States. Over 500 offer customers a 10% discount for going through towSearch. Read the whole press release here and check out towSearch here.

Canadian Towing Hero!

A standing ovation goes to an unnamed Canadian wrecker driver who saved a driver from a fiery wreck. Here's the story from TheStar.com:

Toronto Star Staff Reporter

A quick-thinking tow-truck driver saved the life of a driver trapped in her car after being struck by a suspected drunk driver in Richmond Hill today, say York Region police.

The victim was driving her Toyota Camry eastbound on Elgin Mills Rd. in the curb lane when she was struck by a Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck travelling westbound in the passing lane around 2 a.m. Witnesses say the driver of the Avalanche suddenly swerved left and crossed the eastbound lanes, striking the south curb and then swerving out again, striking the Camry head-on.

The Avalanche burst into flames and the woman was trapped in her Camry near the burning truck.

A tow-truck driver who witnessed the accident used his truck to pull the Camry away from the burning vehicle.

The driver, who was extricated from her car by Richmond Hill fire services, was taken to hospital where she remains in serious condition.

The driver of the Avalanche was not injured, while his passenger suffered minor injuries.

Investigating officers believe the driver of the Avalanche was driving with an illegal blood alcohol level.

Charged is Robert Roberts, 38, of Aurora.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 28.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Predatory Towing Legislation Signed in NJ

According to this Associated Press story, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed legislation to protect the public from predatory towing companies on Wednesday, 10/24.
The law, called the Predatory Towing Prevention Act, sets maximum towing fees, prevents towing companies from offering kickbacks for information about illegally parked vehicles and requires tow operators to be registered with the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
Read the full story here.

Here are more details on the legislation from PoliticsNJ.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sometimes, you just gotta tell it like it is!

Here's a story by Mike Gerrity from the Montana Kaimin that had me laughing - especially the last two lines.

Missoula County Search and Rescue volunteers got well acquainted with an Idaho resident this week after rescuing him twice within a few days.

Search and Rescue volunteers went out to the Telephone Butte trail 25 miles from the Blue Mountain trailhead west of Missoula on Friday night to retrieve a pair of hunters who slid their 2003 Ford Explorer off the icy trail and got high centered.

Volunteer Chief R.J. Nelsen said that Roger Woodworth, who owned the SUV, was trying to navigate a very narrow and rough trail.

“It’s pretty treacherous,” Nelsen said. “It’s barely wide enough for ATVs.”

Search and Rescue volunteers later retrieved the stranded hunters using all-terrain vehicles Friday night.

On Monday afternoon, however, Woodworth attempted to retrieve his SUV with the help of Sparr’s Towing Service.

On the way out, the tow truck broke down, and the man had to be rescued again along with Bernie Kuhnf Jr., the tow truck driver.

“So now there’s two vehicles up there,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen added that his crew of volunteers had been awake for more than a day after having to rescue the driver and go to their day jobs in the morning.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Nelsen said.

Kuhnf Jr. said that his towing company will try to retrieve the two vehicles on Wednesday, and the stranded hunters should not have been up on that trail in the first place.

“They were two old idiots,” Kuhnf Jr. said.

Woodworth could not be reached for comment.

I'm betting that there might be some trouble collecting on that tow bill...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It's all over the news...

...so I had to at least mention it. Tony Joiner, senior football captain of the Florida Gators for the University of Florida, was arrested early Tuesday for removing his girlfriend's car from Watson's Towing in Gainesville without paying.

According to the Florida Today story,
[Property owner Stan Forron] Forron says Joiner had actually talked to the dispatcher who was working early Tuesday morning and had made arrangements to
pick up the car. The employee left to get some food, and the gate to the company was left open. Joiner showed up to pay the towing bill, waited for some time and got impatient and decided to go ahead and take the car and worry about the bill later.
But another employee noticed the car being removed and called police. Forron claims a worker at Watson's Towing told the Gainesville Police not to charge Joiner, that the company just wanted the money Joiner was supposed to pay.

Yes, the Towing & Recovery Footnotes website is back online!

Check out the latest issue of Footnotes and all of our back issues at www.trfootnotes.com!


Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Canadian tow truck driver Amanda Frizzley. The 26-year old worked for Dr. Hook Towing and was killed when her tow truck was hit by a SUV. Read the story in The Winnipeg Free Press here.

Towers said good-bye to 43-year old Donald L. Wheeler of Weymouth, MA, owner of D&D Towing in South Boston. He died of a sudden illness and his colleagues participated in a 80-truck procession to honor him. As reported in The Boston Globe story, "Wheeler's beige casket was tied with a yellow strap to the bed of his favorite tow truck, a 30-foot International 4300 with a shiny red cab." Read the whole story here.