2009 Highway Angel of the Year to be honored at college bowl game

A Truckload Carriers Association Highway Angel will be recognized in front of 34,000 football fans during Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, set for Dec. 30 at Bronco Stadium at Boise State University. The college football game will be broadcast live on ESPN at 2:30 p.m. MT.

The bowl’s viewers will learn how Michael Hunt, a former truck driver for Mail Contractors of America of Little Rock, Ark., and now an owner-operator, helped to save a life at the scene of an otherwise fatal accident. TCA Chairman Kevin Burch and President Chris Burruss then will join representatives from Roady’s Truck Stops, the Humanitarian Bowl and Internet Truck Stop in the end zone to present Hunt with TCA’s 2009 Highway Angel of the Year trophy. Richard Clair, president and chief executive officer of MCA, will be by his side as he receives the award.

Hunt was selected as Highway Angel of the Year by a committee of the TCA Communications & Image Policy Committee, which ranked his good deed against the other Angels named in 2009. The subcommittee utilized a scorecard of criteria, such as how many other motorists stopped to help, the degree of difficulty of the good deed performed, and information provided by highway officials and incident bystanders.

Hunt was driving his tractor-trailer near Spring Lake, N.C., at about 2:20 a.m. when he came across a two-car collision that had just occurred. Two vehicles were involved in the crash, and both had come to rest within five feet of each other. Initially, Hunt attempted to put out the flames on one of the vehicles with his fire extinguisher. But the blaze was too strong, and that driver perished. Realizing that the second driver was still alive, Hunt used his tractor-trailer to push the vehicle away from the fire.

According to the report written by Trooper J.E. Stahl of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, “When Mr. Hunt did this, it damaged his own vehicle. Mr. Hunt’s quick actions helped to save a life from serious injury or death from burns.” The patrol later honored Hunt with an award for valor. “I’m glad I could help one of the drivers, but when I think about the other person who died — that’s tough for me,” Hunt says.

Burruss is not surprised at Hunt’s response. “We receive hundreds of Angel nominations each year, and the drivers are almost always shocked to hear that they are being recognized for their good deeds,” Burruss says. “For them, the highway is their workplace, and helping others is simply the right thing to do. It’s not about monetary gain or publicity.”