It was Friday, July 24, 2009, and FTC Transportation driver Terry Claybrook had picked up a load that he could not deliver until Monday morning. He decided to spend the weekend in Brownstone, Ill., at the headquarters of the Association of Christian Truckers, an organization that offers truck drivers fellowship and worship opportunities.
The weekend passed uneventfully until Sunday night, July 26, when an ACT worker ran out of the kitchen screaming “Fire!” Claybrook and some fellow truckers determined that the smoke was coming from inside the wall behind a gas stove. He and the other drivers moved the stove, found a shovel, broke into the wall and discovered that the fire was coming from electrical wires that had been installed improperly. Together, they yanked the wires out and separated them, which put out the fire. Thinking everything was alright, the other drivers left.
However, ACT was still without power to its refrigerator, and Claybrook knew the group could not afford to lose the hundreds of dollars worth of food that was inside. He also saw that the wires were rubbing against old, dry wood and suspected that another fire easily could erupt. Drawing upon his previous experience as a maintenance engineer, Claybrook stayed long into the night fixing the wiring for ACT so power could be restored and there would be no chance of another electrical fire in the old – and uninsured – building.
“It wasn’t heroic,” Claybrook says. “I just did what needed to get done. If the fire had come back, that building would have burned to the ground. The reverend’s 80-year-old mother was upstairs, asleep. We wouldn’t have been able to get her out. Nothing is by chance. There’s a reason for everything you do.”
For the kindness he showed that day, Claybrook has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate and patch. FTC Transportation also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.