Alexandria, Virginia

Jannie Reece of Waynesboro, Tennessee, a professional truck driver for Transco Lines, Inc., of Russellville, Arkansas, has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA). She is being recognized for helping put out the flames on a fellow motorist’s car.

It was about 2:15 a.m. on June 25, 2014. As Reece was traveling westbound on I-20 in Leeds, Alabama, a small car pulled up beside her and caught on fire. Flames were coming out of both sides and the front of the vehicle. The driver applied his brakes and pulled to the side of the road. Reece also stopped and then grabbed her fire extinguisher.

Running to the scene, she found a young male driver and his passenger standing near the car. Reece made sure they were okay and asked if anyone else was inside. They said no. When the driver stepped a little too close to the car, Reece told him to stand back, as the fire was strong. He seemed anxious to assess the damage to his car.

As the flames began to subside somewhat, Reece began spraying underneath the vehicle. The young driver announced that he wanted to open the hood to look at the condition of the engine. Reece advised him not to… but he did anyway. This caused flames to again shoot out from under the hood. Reece moved to the side to spray the new flames, burning her hand slightly as she worked to eliminate them.

After the fire was out, Reece called 911 to report the situation. When the first responders arrived, they thanked Reece for her actions and said the situation would have been much worse if she had not been willing to get involved. The young driver thanked and hugged her as well. Sadly, throughout the incident, no one else stopped to help.

When asked why she chose to stop and help, the 21-year professional truck driver responded: “Over the years, I have kept my philosophy that you have to pay it forward if you want good things to come to you. I don’t want anyone to be hurt if I can help it.”

For her good deed, TCA has presented Reece with a certificate, patch, and lapel pin. Transco Lines, Inc., also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

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.