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For Immediate Release
May 5, 2003

For Information Contact:
Gary Petty, NPTC

NPTC Inducts Four Drivers into Hall of Fame

NPTC Inducts Four Drivers into Hall of Fame
Presents Humanitarian Award

Alexandria, VA – Four truck drivers who have logged more than a combined 13 million miles of safe driving were honored by the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) and inducted into the NPTC – Bridgestone/Firestone Driver Hall of Fame, April 29, 2003, at NPTC's Annual Education Management Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

(Inductees left to right: V. Good, D. Nutt, C. Almond, F. Comans)

The drivers are from NPTC member companies and have met the minimum qualifications of 20 years, 2 million miles or 50,000 hours of driving without a preventable accident. Many of the drivers have far exceeded these qualifications and are known for having made significant contributions to their industry and their communities. This year's Hall of Fame inductees are:

Clarence E. Almond
J.F. Fick, Inc., Fredericksburg, VA

Clarence Almond has been driving with J.F. Fick for 30 years. He learned to drive with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company through in-house and on-the-job training programs. Clarence has had no accidents or moving violations driving 90,000 hours over his 40-year career.

Clarence's daily routine includes driving on traffic-filled highways, busy streets, treacherous country roads and tight parking lots. He says, "Backing a tractor-trailer in small convenience store parking lots has been especially challenging." Clarence has attended many safety and defensive-driving classes conducted bi-weekly at J.F. Fick and is currently the "Brew Crew" training representative for their in-house driver-training program. Clarence has been recognized for his outstanding driving record and achievements by the Governor of Virginia, both Virginia U.S. Senators, and has received a Commendation from the Virginia General Assembly in recognition of his 30th year anniversary of employment with Fick with a perfect driving record. Clarence is a quiet Southern gentleman who enjoys country life – farming and raising livestock on his family farm.

He recognizes his wife Estelle as his greatest asset saying she "keeps him in line." When he gets home from work he helps his wife with the accredited daycare program run from their home. Clarence is an active member of the Ferry Road Baptist Church.

Fonzy C. Comans
Praxair, Inc., Brandon, MS

Fonzy Comans is one of 10 children where he was taught to work hard for an honest days pay. He learned to drive at age 10 on the family's farm and was plowing corn and cotton fields at thirteen. Fonzy started driving a truck hauling peaches from Georgia with his cousin at age 15. Since then he has logged 4.5 million miles over a distinguished 39-year career, 18 of them with Praxair.

Fonzy is known for his outstanding work ethic and attitude and his commitment to safety and professionalism is clearly demonstrated. He has taken and successfully completed all safety courses that Praxair offers as well as the Smith System Defensive Driving Course. Fonzy regularly attends safety meetings, helps train new drivers and offers suggestions to reduce accidents and improve safety.

Not only is Fonzy an accident free driver, but also he and his wife Marcella have never had an accident in their personal cars. Fonzy gives Marcella all the credit for her support and advice that has helped him be able to be on the road "worry free." They have been married over 40 years; have 3 children and six grandchildren. In his spare time Fonzy helps the elderly in his neighborhood; he loves to garden and especially fish on his bass boat.

Vernon E. Good
BOC, Lima, OH

Vernon Good learned to drive a truck at age 16 from his father, hauling hay to Kentucky. Since then he has driven over 4 million miles without a preventable accident during a distinguished 40-year career, 31 of those driving hazardous material for BOC.

Vern continually reinforces his safety first attitude to all who will listen; he continues to utilize the driver training he has received over the years while employed at BOC as well as his Smith System Defensive Driver Training. In addition Vern attends quarterly safety meetings and reviews Bulletins put out by BOC and NPTC.

Vern has received special recognition from the National Safety Council's 1 million mile club in 1984 and again in their 3 million mile club in 1998. Vern prides himself in his personal professional appearance as well as always having a polished tractor and trailer.

During his free time Vern spends time restoring Classic Cars and entering them in car shows. He is also a collector of die cast scale model cars. Vern enjoys spending time with his wife Lynn and their dog Buffy. Vern and Lynn have three grandchildren and their pictures keep him company as he remembers them during the week.

Donald C. Nutt
Emerson Transportation Division, Walnut Ridge, AR

Donald Nutt learned to drive going with his father during summer school breaks and his father's safe driving record motivated him to follow in his footsteps as a driver for Emerson Transportation Division. Since then Don has driven over 2.8 million miles in an impressive 26-year career with Emerson.

Don keeps his safety knowledge and driving skills current by reviewing safety films at driver's meetings, reading safety flyers and keeping abreast of safety procedures. Don is most proud of his safe driving record, has been recognized by Emerson every year for the past 25 and was "Driver of the Month" in December 2001. Don's advice to anyone considering truck driving as a career – be dedicated, responsible, and trustworthy and make professionalism a top priority.

Don's wife Sheila has supported him in his career and took care of their daughter and ran the household when he was on the road. During his free time Don enjoys golfing, boating, fishing, watching sports and most importantly spending time with his family.

Dodi Reagan Humanitarian Award

Also announced during this ceremony was the winner of the Dodi Regan Humanitarian Award that was established in 1997 in honor of one of NPTC's former Director of Safety Programs.

Gene E. Reed with his wife Jane Gene E. Reed, a long-time employee of The TFE Group, was named as the recipient of the Dodi Reagan Humanitarian Award. Although Gene is a professional truck driver with over 30 years and 3 million miles of accident free experience, it is for his commitment to excellence in the workplace and his compassion for his fellow man that he received this most prestigious award. Gene serves as a member of the Allen County Indiana Medical Response Team whose objective is to respond to any major medical emergency that has overwhelmed the local infrastructure.

In addition, Gene contributes his time to work with both SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) and FEMA (the Federal Agency). He has participated in numerous public service and disaster recovery programs over the years. During floods and hurricanes, fires and critical care necessities, from Indiana to Georgia, and from Florida to the Virgin Islands, it is all in a "days work" for Gene.

He says that it is hard to choose the most rewarding experience as he has had so many. A big hug and thank you from someone he has helped ranks as high as saving a life. The gratitude people show is the same.

The support Gene receives from his wife Jane he says is remarkable. She manages their home, business, and family issues when he needs to be away to participate in his activities. They strongly believe they have been blessed in their lives and should try to help others in need. A simple "thank you" has created bonds with people that will last a lifetime.

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