Thursday, December 30, 2010

Everyday WI Tow Hero!

Round of applause to WI State Trooper Craig Larson and tow boss Pat Brauner of Brauner’s Towing in Black River Falls for their quick actions! Here's the story from the Leader-Telegram:

BLACK RIVER FALLS — Three young children and two adult women are lucky to be alive after nearly being overcome by carbon monoxide Sunday night after their car went into the ditch on Interstate 94 near Black River Falls.
According to a press release from the State Patrol, the incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. when the car went into the median ditch while on the way from Minnesota to Chicago. When State Trooper Craig Larson responded, all five people in the car appeared to be in good condition.
However, after the tow truck arrived and the operator began to remove the vehicle, the driver became unresponsive. Larson then realized all five people in the car were unresponsive.
Larson and tow truck operator Pat Brauner of Brauner’s Towing in Black River Falls quickly removed the five from the car. At Larson’s request, Brauner began chest compressions on the female driver and Larson performed CPR on the three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, until they became responsive. The female passenger was breathing and was not as seriously overcome as the others.
After removing the vehicle from the median, it was discovered that the exhaust pipe broke off, causing carbon monoxide fumes to enter the car.
The family has asked not to be identified. They were treated at Black River Falls Memorial Hospital and released.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Footnotes' January Digital Edition is OUT!

Your January 2011 digital edition of Towing and Recovery Footnotes is now available. Simply click here to instantly begin reading the issue, or click on the features below to read specific articles.
  • Get It In Gear! Enjoy Footnotes' annual equipment issue, featuring articles on the impact of customer opinion on equipment development, some towers' favorite gear, and products seen at SEMA, the big equipment trade show. New trucks and accessories from the major manufacturers are highlighted as well. Page 1, Page 6 and Page 9
  • Regs, Regs, Regs! Towers are getting hit by more and more onerous regulations and paperwork requirements from government at all levels. What can be done about it, if anything? For a little help on the issue, see our in-depth analysis of the situation regarding regulations affecting towing companies. Pages 14
  • Rough Stuff In Philly. Some towers in Philadelphia are fiercely competitive, often racing to a scene to beat the tower called to handle the job, and this behavior is starting to get the attention of the city government, to the potential detriment of all towers there. Pages 20
  • Wreck Chasers. In a companion story, you will learn how Philadelphia towers are getting even wider attention via a reality TV show. Will this show hurt the image of city towers even more? You be the judge. Page 21
Also in this issue: A chance to win a $119 Tie-Down Bundle from Pierce Sales, which includes three sets of two different tie-downs each; new products from Jerr-Dan, NRC, and Miller; and even a few jokes as well. And don’t hesitate to ask about our combo print/online advertising deals that will increase your product visibility at a great savings over the usual ad rates.
If you cannot click on any of the links above, please copy and paste this URL into your web browser:

January 2011 Issue:
We hope you enjoy the January issue of Towing and Recovery Footnotes .
Bill Candler

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Everyday VA Tow Hero Honored!

Here's the story from

A tow truck driver with Anytime Towing in Ladysmith was honored tonight with the Life Saving Award for his heroic actions that saved two lives on Halloween morning.
Sheriff Tony Lippa presented T.K. Loving, 36, of Hanover, with the award during a dinner at Timbers Restaurant.
Sheriff Tony Lippa and Major Scott Moser present T.K. Loving with the Life Saver Award Wednesday night.
Lippa, who said he is a former tow truck driver, said he knows the dangers of that job and thanked Loving for his heroic actions that not only saved his own life, but the life of someone else.
Loving was responding to a AAA call around 4:3o a.m. on Oct. 31 to tow a vehicle that had broken down on I-95, halfway between the Ladysmith and Thornburg exits.
That’s when a vehicle drove off the main road and struck Loving  and the customer he was helping as they stood on the northbound shoulder.
The crash left Loving and Robyn Silcox, 20, of Stafford with serious injuries. The driver of the vehicle drove off.
Silcox, a 2008 Stafford High School graduate and a junior at Old Dominion University, is recovering from serious injuries to her hand and arm and has more surgery planned.
She credited Loving with spotting the oncoming vehicle before it hit them, managing to mostly push her out of its path and saving her life.
In an earlier interview with the Free Lance-Star, Loving said he reacted as anyone would, and gave the credit to the rumble strips.
“I heard the rumble strips. The rumble strips pretty much saved me and her,” Loving said.
When he heard tires crossing over the strips, embedded in the pavement to alert drivers they are straying from the road, “I looked up, saw headlights, and grabbed her,” Loving said.
The impact shattered Loving’s right ankle and tore his Achilles tendon. He is not allowed to put any weight on his foot, and is using crutches. He will need surgery and physical therapy.
Loving has been a tow- truck driver for Anytime Towing for three years, and said most of his work is on I-95. Until that day, he’d never had a close call with passing traffic.
When he responded to Silcox’s call, Loving said he parked his tow truck on the grass, putting the entire northbound shoulder between him and the right travel lane of I-95.
“It’s not like I was close,” Loving said.
He suspects the driver may have mistaken the shoulder for a travel lane.
Loving will receive worker’s compensation for a portion of his salary, but said he could be out of work for six months. Loving’s wife is a stay-at-home mother to their four children, including a 4-month-old.
“It’s going to be a struggle. I’ll have to figure something out,” Loving said.
The driver of the dark blue 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt or Pontiac G5  fled the scene without stopping, and has yet to be located.
Anyone with information about the crash or vehicle is asked to call the Virginia State Police Area 44 Office in Caroline County at 804/633-6799 or e-mail the office at

Monday, December 13, 2010

Everyday Tow Heroes In WI

Here's the story from the Janesville Gazette:

JANESVILLE — Thirty tow trucks paraded through Janesville on Saturday to spread holiday cheer.
Trucks were decorated with tinsel and stockings. One truck had Santa’s sleigh and reindeer on its flatbed. Others carried large boxes designed like Christmas presents.
When the tow truck drivers arrived at Traxler Park, they delivered more than 1,000 toys to the Salvation Army and ECHO. The toys will be donated to local families.
The parade was part of the Tow Trucks for Tots program, which collects toys for children and promotes the towing industry. Worldwide Equipment Sales of Rockdale, Ill., and the Wisconsin Towing Association organized the event.
Pat Winer of Worldwide Equipment started Tow Trucks for Tots a few years ago.
He said tow trucks often would form a parade as part of a funeral procession when a tow truck driver died.
“We wanted a tow truck parade when everyone would laugh and have a good time,” Winer said. “We thought, ‘What would be better than collecting toys for children?’ ”
Worldwide Equipment does a tow truck parade every year in Illinois, he said. The company also organizes a parade and toy giveaway in other cities that might need help.
Janesville was chosen because the General Motors plant and other businesses have closed, creating a hardship on families, Winer said. GM makes many tow trucks.
“The people who built those helped the towing industry,” he said. “We wanted to help them.”
Tow trucks from Wisconsin and Illinois were in the parade. They had their lights flashing when they drove. Police cars, ambulances and fire trucks also participated in the parade.
When the trucks arrived at Traxler, about 75 people helped unload presents. They formed assembly lines to pass the presents from the trucks to other vehicles that will take gifts to the Salvation Army and ECHO.
“Look at these people. They’re all smiling and happy to be helping out,” Winer said.
Steve Davis of Davis Citgo in Janesville and the Wisconsin Towing Association said fundraisers were done to buy toys. He said the towing association asked its members to donate and help.
“This time of year it’s a good thing,” Davis said. “It’s a good day for Janesville.”

Monday, December 6, 2010

Everyday Tow Hero In Canada!

Kudos to Mario's Towing for their new Dinner for Cars program! Here's the story from Global Winnipeg:

A Kelowna towing company has come up with a unique program to feed the needy while helping people get rid of their old clunkers.
Mario's Towing will pick up unwanted vehicles in the Kelowna area free of charge during December, tow them to a metal recycling company and donate the money they get for scrap, which averages out to about $75 for every vehicle.
The program is called Dinner For Cars and Mario’s hopes it becomes an annual event.
The company hopes to get at least 31 cars in December, which will raise enough money to feed approximately 900 people during the holiday season.
For more information, call Mario's Towing at 250 - 765 - 6009.

Friday, December 3, 2010

WooHoo! December Digital Edition is Out!

Your December 2010 digital edition of Towing and Recovery Footnotes is now available. Simply click here to instantly begin reading the issue, or click on the features below to read specific articles.
  • Charity Begins At Work. The holidays are a perfect time to consider what charitable and community efforts would best suit your towing firm and/or family. Helping others in your market area is not only a good thing for the recipients but it's a morale builder for your towing team as well as being good for business — a win/win for all. Page 1
  • Higher & Higher Tech. The technology available today for towing companies is nothing short of revolutionary. The ultimate is to completely eliminate conversation (and thereby errors and lost time) between dispatchers and drivers and to go with a virtually paperless office. Two articles give insights into the very latest. Pages 14 & Page 16
  • Hazmat Training & Safety. Two articles shed light on hazmat recovery, a serious issue for towers. If you’re not an expert on hazmat, here are some basics that will get your office and your drivers started from the standpoint of regulations, training, safety, and some things to watch for on-scene. Pages 19 & Page 22
  • Nights & Daze. Driving your wife crazy with your snoring? Always feeling sleepy at the wheel? Productivity down? You may have a health condition that is correctable but potentially dangerous if ignored. Here are some answers that could change your life and work and improve things at home as well. Page 8
Also in this issue: A chance to win a $427 Signal Vehicle Products Lightbar from Pierce Sales; the advantages of working with a friendly competitor; a tower’s favorite chassis and wrecker; and the story ofthree generations of family towing. And don’t hesitate to ask Sales Manager David Abraham at 877-219-7734, ext. 1 about our comboprint/online advertising deals that will increase your product visibility at a great savings over the usual rates.
If you cannot click on any of the links above, please copy and paste this URL into your web browser:
December 2010 Issue:
We hope you enjoy the December issue of Towing and Recovery Footnotes .
Sincerely,Bill Candler 

Sad News From WA

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of 62-year-old Anthony Poortinga of Wenatchee, WA, who was the owner of Anthony’s Cheap Tow towing service. He died on Saturday, 11/27, in a house fire. Judging from the story comments, he was a great guy who will be missed deeply. Here's the story from The Wenatchee World (click the link to go to the newspaper online, there is an additional story from 2005 on Anthony):
EAST WENATCHEE — Anthony Poortinga, 62, the well-liked and flamboyant owner of Anthony’s Cheap Tow towing service, died Saturday night, his body found by firefighters inside his East Wenatchee home.
Firefighters responded at 11:33 p.m. Saturday to a house filled with smoke at 167 12th St. N.E. Douglas County Fire District 2 firefighters quickly knocked down a small fire and found Poortinga in a bedroom while searching and ventilating the house, said Douglas County Fire Chief Chuck Fenton. Poortinga lived alone and was the only person in the house at the time of the fire. There were no smoke alarms in the house. Fenton said it appeared Poortinga had awakened and tried to make it to a window before being overcome by smoke. The fire call came from an East Wenatchee Police officer who spotted the smoke.

Fenton said he knew Poortinga personally and found him to be a very friendly person who was always willing to help others.

“He really didn’t have a chance,” Fenton said. “If there’s anything we can take from this, it’s a lesson that smoke detectors are critical. It could have made a difference.” The smoke started in a closet close to Poortinga’s bedroom. It’s likely the fire was caused by an electrical short, but impossible to say for sure, Fenton said.

East Wenatchee Police confirmed the victim was Poortinga Sunday after notifying his relatives. He was an East Wenatchee resident since 1979. An autopsy will be made to determine the cause of death, said Dan Rierson, East Wenatchee Police assistant chief.

Poortinga was well known around the valley as the owner of Anthony’s Cheap Tow. In his wide-brimmed cowboy hat, bandana tied around his neck, pearl-buttoned denim shirt and cowboy boots, he could be seen nearly every day driving one of his tow trucks around the valley or stopped by the side of the road helping a motorist. When he wasn’t on a towing mission, he could be found in one of his trucks reading a paperback mystery book or in a local cafe. His favorite haunts were Jimmy’s Diner on the Eastside and Denny’s and Smitty’s restaurants in Wenatchee. He loved to read.

“When he didn’t come in Sunday, we wondered where he was,” Sherri Schoonover, a waitress at Jimmy’s Diner, said this morning. “He would come here every day and order the breakfast special and read a book. He was very well liked here.” Schoonover said he would often come in with his daughter and grandchildren. “He was like family. He will be missed.”

Poortinga started Anthony’s Cheap Tow in 2004 after retiring from a career as a private contractor installing power and telephone poles throughout the Northwest. Interviewed for a 2005 Wenatchee World article, Poortinga said he started the towing business because his previous career had kept him on the road all the time and made it difficult to make friends.

He started out with a pickup and flatbed trailer that he used to transport race cars, then added the towing service and gradually added several more vehicles, stationed around the valley. The blue trucks with their Anthony’s Cheap Tow signs were his only form of advertising. He said the business didn’t make him a lot of money, but he loved it because it gave him a chance to help people and make a lot of friends.

“I’ve always done things a little different,” he said in the 2005 article. “I’ve always blazed my own trail.”

Rick Steigmeyer: 664-7151