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Mats: A hero among heroes

Larry Travis of Albuquerque, N.M., was recognized for saving a woman's life when he was honored with Goodyear's 19th Annual North American Highway Hero Award.Travis, a 10-year veteran and master train...


Larry Travis of Albuquerque, N.M., was recognized for saving a woman’s life when he was honored with Goodyear’s 19th Annual North American Highway Hero Award.

Travis, a 10-year veteran and master trainer for Covenant Transportation in Chattanooga, Tenn., was travelling outside Sheridan, Ark., when he saw flames shooting into the air from an SUV that had run off the road into a deep ditch.

He did not know whether the vehicle was occupied, but thought he had seen a slight movement at the driver’s side door. Travis grabbed his fire extinguisher, rushed down towards the vehicle and realized there was a woman in the drivers’ seat. He reached through the flames to pull her to safety all the while suffering burns to his own body. Seconds later, the vehicle exploded.

“I don’t think any of us look at ourselves as heroes. We were in the right place at the right time,” says Travis.

The Goodyear North American Hero Award program recognizes professional truck drivers’ life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across the country.

Travis was nominated for the award during the annual nationwide search. Five finalists won all-expenses-paid trips to the Mid-America Trucking Show for themselves and a guest.

Travis received a $10,000 savings bond and a diamond ring. Each of the other four drivers, William Clark of York, Pa., Bill Johnson and Bryan Effle of Norfolk, Neb. and Oscar Gonzalez of Laredo, Tex., received $5,000 savings bonds and a commemorative plaque.

“Mr. Travis put himself in extreme danger to rescue a total stranger, and demonstrated courage under pressure that is truly awe-inspiring,” says Ted Fick, vice-president of Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems. “He embodies the spirit of the Goodyear Highway Hero program.”


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