NZ Truck & Driver News

 
Deane’s our Castrol Truck Driver Hero of the year

Deane’s our Castrol Truck Driver Hero of the year

NZ Truck & Driver News

 October 2020   

When we talk about our industry being full of good guys, Deane Rodgers is definitely one of them. 

It’d be hard to find someone more enthusiastic than he is about his job – driving for Cromwell-based Summerland Express Freight. As he puts it: “I’m up and excited every day to do what I do.” 

But it’s something far from everyday that has seen Deane voted our Castrol Truck Driver Hero of the year – namely, putting his own life at risk to avoid endangering people or property when his trailers caught fire.

It happened as Deane was driving north through a tinder-dry South Canterbury en route to Christchurch, in his Iveco Stralis curtainsider B-train unit, in February last year.

Taking account of the strong wind, the dry grass on the highway verges and the paddocks of wheat and hay all around, Deane decided that the fire would cause least harm if he could make it to the big open truck parking area at the Makikihi Country hotel – five kilometres up the road!

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When we talk about our industry being full of good guys, Deane Rodgers is definitely one of them. 
It’d be hard to find someone more enthusiastic than he is about his job – driving for Cromwell-based Summerland Express Freight. As he puts it: “I’m up and excited every day to do what I do.” 
But it’s something far from everyday that has seen Deane voted our Castrol Truck Driver Hero of the year – namely, putting his own life at risk to avoid endangering people or property when his trailers caught fire.
It happened as Deane was driving north through a tinder-dry South Canterbury en route to Christchurch, in his Iveco Stralis curtainsider B-train unit, in February last year.
Taking account of the strong wind, the dry grass on the highway verges and the paddocks of wheat and hay all around, Deane decided that the fire would cause least harm if he could make it to the big open truck parking area at the Makikihi Country hotel – five kilometres up the road!
Farmers and authorities praised his actions: He made it to the pub parking area and managed to save the tractor unit. The trailers and their load were lost to the flames….but the fire didn’t spread further, thus avoiding a potentially catastrophic wildfire.
His actions have now been recognised by a judging panel, which voted Deane the Castrol Truck Driver Hero of the year – the award and a $3500 travel prize presented to him at last month’s Road Transport Association AGM in Cromwell.
NZ Truck & Driver managing director and judge Trevor Woolston says: “Deane’s actions were significant due to the fact that he averted danger and his actions saved millions of dollars worth of damage to the local economy.”
Summerland Express Freight general manager Grant Lowe – who nominated Deane as a Castrol Truck Driver Hero – says the company is proud to have him in its team…and believes his award is “thoroughly deserved.
“It’s fantastic to see an everyday humble guy like Deane get recognised. We are very proud.”
Deane, who has been driving trucks for 33 years, says he’s “over the moon” to be recognised with the award – but was nervous about giving a speech on the night the award was presented: “I’ll probably drive a flaming truck again…(rather) than give another speech!”  

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