Monday, January 31, 2011

Marine Corps Wrecker Operator Named RC-SW Marine of the Year

Congrats! Here's the story from the Marine Corps Times:

Rain, snow or shine, if a vehicle in southern Afghanistan gets stuck, blown up or breaks down, it’s Lance Cpl. Stephan C. Wall’s job to get it moving again — even if that means braving bomb blast and enemy fire.
A wrecker operator assigned to General Support Motor Transport Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, he is tasked with recovering damaged vehicles and getting resupply missions moving again as quickly as possible.
“A slow target is an easy target,” he told Marine Corps Times during a phone interview from Camp Leatherneck, in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Every second a convoy sits still, “the enemy has a chance to pounce and attack it.”
Since deploying in September from Camp Pendleton, Calif., Wall, 21, has recovered about 90 blown-up or otherwise incapacitated vehicles — and he nearly met his maker, twice. For his dedication and bravery along Afghanistan’s treacherous roads, he was named Regional Command Southwest’s Marine of the Year.
The command oversees about 20,000 Marines, and all were eligible for the award. A board of sergeants major in RC-Southwest nominated and reviewed a list of contenders, then recommended four to Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, the chief Marine commander in Afghanistan. Mills made the final call.
Wall, who drives 7.5-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement wreckers and 22.5-ton Logistics Vehicle System wreckers, said his job calls for recovering both combat-damaged or stranded vehicles. Every mission is different, requiring him to think on his feet.
While on a routine resupply mission in October, a vehicle in Wall’s convoy was disabled by an improvised explosive device. Working furiously to clear the vehicle from the road, a second IED detonated less than 10 yards away, peppering his vehicle with shrapnel. Rattled but spared serious injury, he quickly finished hooking up the truck and hauled it back to base.
“I felt a little dazed and confused, but I knew that I had to keep doing what I had to do to get out of there,” he said.
He received a Grade 2 concussion and was put on mandatory light duty. Wall received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his actions that day. He was back behind the wheel a week later.
In November, he had a second close call.
“We were going up to recover a mine roller that was hit by an IED. After waiting for a sweeper team to clear the area, we drove up to the mine roller, and my front left tire hit another IED,” he said.
His vehicle was badly damaged, but again he escaped serious injury.
Despite what his superiors describe as exemplary service, he is humble about his achievements. He credits his success to the Marines and sailors around him, and his family and friends back home.
“I feel honored that I was even put up for the award. I just try to mimic my command. Trying to be like them made me the Marine I am today,” he said.
Wall’s deployment is scheduled to end in April. For now, he said he is taking things a day — and a mile — at a time by keeping the convoys moving.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Footnotes' February Issue Now Available Online!

Your February 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.
  • Exciting News!!!! In this issue, Footnotes proudly presents the first of what will be a regular monthly four-page feature. towPartners has joined with Footnotes to begin publishing in each issue the now-monthly towPartners ADVISOR! The Advisor will feature advice in all areas of towing, from technical details to business operations, while offering towers everywhere the opportunity for great discounts from the many, many equipment and service vendors who have teamed with towPartners to provide these savings to the industry. Page 13
  • Bucks For Trucks is the beginning of a four-part series of articles for towing company owners on getting financing for their businesses in an era of tight money that is perhaps loosening up some. This first article gives the reader an overview of the current fiscal situation and discusses possibilities for getting the money to buy or lease that truck you need. Keep your eye on this series for the kind of advice that can help you thrive during trying times. Page 1
  • Return of the Lizard Lickers. Love 'em or not, these wild and colorful Carolina repossessors, featured in our June 1010 issue, have earned an audience on a cable reality TV show and have gotten such a following from that that they now have another show! With an entertaining website and even a book coming out, the Lizard Lickers are again on the move! Page 22
  • The Black Book. The author of "The Black Book On Towing" and owner of the website begins his first column of what will become an occasional series on how to be better at the business you’re in. Dennis Wencel is both a towman and a business writer and so he knows of what he speaks. Avoid the costly mistakes that can hurt your business and rob you of profits. Watch for The Black Book. Page 7
Also in this issue: Comments from tow business owners on the thorny issue of paying overtime, new and improved towing equipment inGear Mart, and great combo print/online advertising deals that will increase your product visibility at a 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:
February 2011 Issue:
We hope you enjoy the February issue of Towing and Recovery Footnotes .
Sincerely,Bill Candler 

Hino To Debut First Diesel Hybrid Cab Over Engine Truck

RSVP by Feb. 18th! Here's the press release: 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 • 4:00 pm (reception immediately following)
NTEA Work Truck Show • Indiana Convention Center

»» MARCH 8
• Hino Trucks Conventional Chassis Update Session (9:30 am)
• Hino COE New Truck Unveiling, Press Event & Reception in
Booth #5731 - Hall J (4:00 pm)
»» MARCH 9
• Hino Trucks COE Chassis Update Session (11:00 am)
• Green Truck Summit Ride & Drive featuring the all new Hino COE
hybrid truck (12:00 pm - 4:30 pm)
»» MARCH 8 - 10
• Hino Trucks Display in booth #4131
To register to attend Hino Trucks CEO unveiling and NTEA Work Truck Show,
please visit (id: ntea2011; password: hinoatntea).
You must register to attend by Feb. 18th.
Learn more at or seek us out on our social network to ask
questions [Twitter] or see video of Hino Trucks in action [YouTube]. Search
for “Hino Trucks USA”.

Mater (and McQueen) Get A Stamp!

Here's the release from USPS:

Since 1986, Pixar films have stretched the boundaries of our imagination with stories about unlikely heroes who explore the bonds of friendship and family. Now some of those heroes are the subjects of colorful new Send a Hello stamps that encourage people to connect with loved ones through the mail.
The Send a Hello stamps, which go on sale Aug. 19, are a natural outgrowth of the Art of Disney stamp series issued between 2004 and 2008. Originally intended as a series of three annual issuances depicting friendship, celebration, and romance, the Art of Disney stamps proved so popular that the Postal Service expanded the series to include issuances in 2007 and 2008 to celebrate imagination and magic.
Based on that success, the Postal Service was eager to work with the Walt Disney Company again, choosing to explore the Disney*Pixar films, which offer exciting, contemporary characters and strong themes involving family and friends.
This pane of 20 stamps includes five different designs featuring Pixar characters: Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars (2006); Remy the rat and Linguini from Ratatouille (2007); Buzz Lightyear and two of the green, three-eyed aliens from Toy Story (1995); Carl Fredricksen and Dug from Up (2009); and the robot WALL*E from WALL*E (2008).
Since the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was introduced in 2001, all seven Pixar films released since that time have been nominated and five of the seven have won, including Ratatouille, WALL*E and Up.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

WI Tower Gets Local Coverage For Footnotes' Cover Shot :)

We're happy to have featured Andy Tessmann's truck on our December cover, too! Here's the story from Watertown Daily Times Online:

Andy Tessmann of Emergency Starting and Towing stopped by our office the other day with a copy of the December 2010 issue of Towing & Recovery Footnotes, a monthly publication for the towing industry.
The cover story was about a new charity the towing industry in the Midwest is embracing. Tow truck owners from all over the Midwest drove to the Chicago area back in early December and held a parade with tow trucks as far as you could see. Over 190 companies were represented with many of them bringing more than one tow truck. They were all decorated in the Christmas spirit and they were collecting Toys for Tots in the Chicago area. They brought thousands of toys. There's lots of needy children in that metropolitan area, making this a wonderful holiday charity.
Well, to illustrate the parade and the charity work this industry is doing, the editors of Towing & Recovery selected one tow truck to be on the front page.
Sure enough, it was Emergency Starting and Towing's unit all decorated. It probably helped that the tow truck is painted a bright red. Tessmann told us he didn't even know they took his rig's picture let alone have it selected to be on the front page. The first he knew about it was when an industry friend sent him an early copy he had received.
It was a pretty impressive photo. And, Tessmann tells us he's already planning to be there for next year's parade.

Monday, January 3, 2011

CA Towing, Storage Bill Takes Effect

Here's the story from

California Assembly Bill 519, which deals with towing and storage laws, will go into effect statewide in January 2011. The bill was supported by the insurance industry and opposed by the Collision Repair Association of California (CRA) and others.
It impacts companies that charge for towing or vehicle storage related to a tow. Those companies must:
Upon request provide a Towing Fee and Access Notice to the owner or operator of the vehicle. 
Provide an itemized invoice of the actual tow charges. 
Provide a notice on your invoice stating, "Upon request, you are entitled to receive a copy of the Towing Fees and Access Notice" and have the notice available.
The notice only needs to be on invoices that have tow charges.
The CRA suggests that repairers have the tow provider provide the information required relating to the tow on their invoice then incorporate by reference their invoice on your invoice (for example: see attached invoice xxxx for a total $xx.xx). Using the tower-provided invoice repairers are by this statute not responsible for the accuracy of the unaltered documen, according to CRA.
The bill allows for additional services or fees (mark up) to be charged if they are itemized and explained. This could be a handling fee or administration fee. Repairers should have the fee on their authorized estimate, according to CRA.
For more information, call CRA at 916-837-2362.

WA Builds Up "Move Over" Law

Here's the story from The Seattle Times:

By Sara Jean Green 
Seattle Times staff reporter
Drivers who speed past emergency vehicles stopped on state highways or fail to give first-responders more room will face hefty new penalties beginning Jan. 1.
The state's new "Emergency Zone Law" builds on the 2007 "Move Over Law," creating a 200-foot zone around stationary emergency vehicles that have their lights activated — including patrol cars, fire engines, tow trucks and state Department of Transportation (DOT) vehicles, according to the State Patrol.
The enhanced law is meant to offer greater protection to first-responders, said Capt. Steve Burns, commander of the State Patrol's District 2, which covers King County. Speeding fines in the emergency zones will double, and fines for failing to slow down and safely move over will increase from $124 to $248, he said.
"This gives the law a little bit more bite," said Burns at a news briefing Tuesday morning in a AAA garage bay in Seattle.
Under the existing law, motorists traveling on a roadway with at least two lanes in their direction of travel must move over a lane from the shoulder when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its lights activated. They're also required to slow down and proceed with caution.
On roadways with only one lane in their direction of travel, motorists must pass to the left of an emergency vehicle if they're able to safely do so, while yielding the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.
The law remains the same under the "Emergency Zone Law" but creates the 200-foot zones in front and behind emergency vehicles, doubling the penalty for failing to slow down or safely move over within the zone.
In 2008, a year after the "Move Over Law" went into effect, 30 patrol cars were hit by motorists on state highways. Last year, an additional 28 patrol vehicles were hit by drivers during roadside traffic stops and other investigations, Burns said.
One of those vehicles was assigned to State Patrol Sgt. Dan Atchison. In October 2008, he and other troopers were tracking an escaped sex offender and had set up a containment zone on east Interstate 90 near North Bend. When two speeding vehicles came around a bend, one hit the other and then careened into Atchison's patrol car, which had its lights on and was parked in a median to the left of the highway.
Two of his troopers "had to jump in the ditch" to avoid being hit by Atchison's car, which was shoved off the road.
Atchison's patrol car was totaled and the driver who hit him was cited for speeding and following another vehicle too closely. The 15-year patrol veteran suffered injuries to his knee and lower back. "I went to the hospital, and I've been sore ever since," Atchison said.
But Burns and other officials who attended the news briefing said it's not just troopers who are at risk from impaired, speeding and distracted drivers. In September, tow-truck driver Tony Padilla, 51, of Burien, was hooking up a disabled vehicle on southbound Interstate 5 in Seattle when he was fatally struck by a vehicle. The driver and passenger both fled the scene but were later arrested. The driver has been accused of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Between April 2009 and Nov. 30 of this year, troopers contacted 2,940 drivers and issued 592 citations under the "Move Over Law," according to the patrol.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or