Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) recognizes Bernard Poeppelman of Anna, Ohio, as a Highway Angel for helping save a load for a fellow driver.

On March 16, 2013, Poeppelman was traveling eastbound on I-68 near Cumberland, Maryland. It was about 2:30 a.m. In the distance, he could see flames from a vehicle parked on the side of the highway. It turned out to be a heavily loaded tractor trailer with its tire on fire.

Poeppelman called 911 and then began to use his fire extinguisher on the flames. When that wasn’t enough, he stood on the side of the road and waved his extinguisher at other tractor trailers, signaling to those drivers that he needed more extinguishers. Eventually, he got four more, but none were sufficient to put out the fire. When a snow plow driver stopped, he, Poeppelman, and another person used a shovel to smother the fire with dirt, thus saving the load.

A retired fire fighter, Poeppelman said, “I’ve seen a lot of fires over the years. There’s usually lots of damage and loss. You’re lucky when you can put one out.”

For his assistance, Poeppelman has been presented with a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. ABF Freight System, Inc., also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

TCA’s Highway Angel program is sponsored by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across North America nominating truck drivers for the program.