Alexandria, Virginia

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is honoring truck driver Stanley P. Gorczak as a Highway Angel for helping someone pull through a medical emergency.

It was August 8, 2009, and Gorczak had checked into the Carlisle Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, where he planned to spend the night before continuing on his route the next day. A seasoned traveler, Gorczak had come down to the hotel lobby to fill his thermos with coffee before heading back upstairs to his room for the night.

Suddenly, a hotel clerk came running toward Gorczak screaming that Ashley, another hotel employee, had collapsed. Thinking quickly, Gorczak handed his cell phone to the clerk and told her to call 911. He then rushed to help Ashley, who was lying prone on the floor.

Gorczak’s first instinct was to carefully roll Ashley onto her back and check her vital signs. He checked for a heartbeat and looked at her eyes to see if the pupils were dilated. He spoke to Ashley, trying to get her to respond, but she was incoherent. Her eyes were moving left to right underneath her eyelids, but she couldn’t open them. Noticing she was shivering, he sat her up in a chair and covered her with towels. Then, he held her head up to prevent her from choking in case of a seizure. Gorczak patiently waited with Ashley until the paramedics arrived.

“I was just being myself, and I only did what I hope someone would do for me,” said Gorczak modestly. “I was in the right place at the right time to help somebody.”

Actually, this is the second time that Gorczak has helped someone while on duty for ABF. Earlier this year, he was eating at an Illinois truck stop when a customer began choking on a hamburger and fell to the floor. The man was too heavy to pick up, so Gorczak turned him on his side and managed to get him to cough the hamburger out.

Now that Gorczak has been accepted as a TCA Highway Angel, he will receive a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch for the kindness he showed to Ashley. ABF Freight System, Inc., will also receive 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 exemplary kindness, courtesy, and courage they have displayed while on the job.