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Monday, January 18, 2010

Farewell, Friend

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of FL tow truck driver, Todd A. Holland, who died Dec. 17 of a stroke while on the job. Holland worked for A&A Automotive and Wrecker Service of Port Orange for 13 years. He leaves behind a wife and a 9-year-old daughter.
Here's the story from www.newsjournalonline.com:
PORT ORANGE -- They stood in the back of the chapel, many dressed for work.

They refused invitations to take seats among friends and family members of their fallen colleague, because they needed to be among the first out of the building when the service at Volusia Memorial Funeral Home ended around noon Saturday.

And when it was time, the 20 tow truck drivers climbed into their rigs, turned on their beacon lights and joined the funeral procession for Todd A. Holland, who died Dec. 17 from a stroke he suffered on the job.

Many of the drivers showed up despite not knowing Holland, said Tracy Hess, a co-worker at A&A Automotive & Wrecker Service in Port Orange, where Holland worked for 13 years.

That's not unusual, she said. "Whenever someone in the wrecker industry passes away, we try to show up with the trucks as a sign of respect."

Holland was highly regarded among the 14-employee company, said owner Ron Hess, Tracy's father and co-owner of the wrecker service. "I had to hire two people to take his place," he said.

Holland leaves behind a wife, Rebecca, and 9-year-old daughter, Alyssa.

At the service, Chaplain Mark Spivey of Hospice of Volusia/Flagler asked attendees to call out words describing Holland. Responses included "loving," "smiling," "strong," "unselfish," "stubborn" and "brave."

Tracy Hess said Holland's favorite activities included four-wheeling, building bonfires and hanging out on her boat on Disappearing Island on the weekends, forgetting about work.

She said his daughter Alyssa had been sharing stories non-stop about her dad since his death. "He called her his little helper," she said.

Rebecca Holland said later she was impressed by the drivers' show of support. "It was a wonderful tribute," she said.

One reason for the cameraderie is a shared understanding of the hazards of the job, Tracy Hess said. In addition to the dangers of working in traffic, strokes are common among truck drivers, she said.

They tend to eat poorly, and blood clots develop in their legs more frequently because of the long hours spent sitting behind the wheel, she said.

ron.hurtibise@news-jrnl.com

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