Three awardees named as TCA kicks off 79th convention

by Nicholas Camilleri

NASHVILLE, TN – The Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) 79th Annual Convention got started on Monday with an introduction of TCA president Russell Stubbs and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Before moving on to the main session, the winners of three awards were named. 

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American Central Transport Inc, Tom Kretsinger Jr, was awarded the TCA’s Past Chairman’s Award.

“This award is given to recognized industrial leaders who make significant kind of changes to business, the community, the industry and the Truckload Carriers Association,” said Keith Tuttle, the TCA’s most recent former chairman. “It is the highest honour given by the TCA.”

Tuttle said Kretsinger Jr was active with both the American Trucking Associations and the TCA and that he couldn’t think of anyone else more deserving of this year’s reward.

Due to significant health issues, Kretsinger Jr, was unable to attend this year’s TCA convention, and was recognized earlier in the year at a special dinner near his home in Kansas City, Missouri.

Daniel Sieczkarski, a Rochester, New York truck driver for Melton Truck Lines based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was awarded with the 2016 Highway Angel of the Year Award for his valiant act of saving another truck driver during last year’s devastating floods in Texas.

On April 18, 2016, Sieczskarski, was travelling on I-10 just outside of Houston when he observed a tractor-trailer being overcome by raging flood waters. The New York truck driver pulled his truck to a safe spot, and with the help of another motorist who supplied a life vest and tubing to throw the vest out to the stranded driver. The driver was apprehensive about using the vest, so Sieczkarski made his way to the driver through the raging waters and assisted the driver back to shore.

Prior to delivering the award, dramatic video displaying the event was shown to the audience.

Taking the stage to accept the award, Sieczkarski was evidently choked up. After thanking his family, and employer, Melton Truck Lines, he expanded on his current relationship with the driver he rescued.  

“We talk on a daily basis and we’re best of friends,” said Sieczkarski, adding that the driver was unable to make it to the event because of work.

Upon receiving his award, Sciezckarski was presented with the song “Highway Angel” by country singer Lindsay Lawler.

Pilot Flying J’s, Wendy Hamilton was awarded the 2016 Wreaths Across America (WAA) James Prout Spirit of Giving Award. The award is given for individuals who dedicate their time and support to charitable causes to support the WAA’s mission “remember, honour and teach” about those who serve the U.S. forces.

Upon being given the award by the founders of WAA, Morrill and Karen Worcester, Hamilton said she was surprised, which is rare for her as a planner.

“I gratefully accept this award on behalf Pilot Flying J,” she said, adding that they’re the ones who allowed her the opportunity to get involved WAA.

Hamilton mentioned that each of her grandfathers served in the second world war, and also, they both just happened to be truck drivers and concluded by saying it’s of the upmost importance to ensure the current generation, and those to come, to remember and honour those who serve. 

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