Grateful customers call their truck drivers "life-savers" all the time, but 13-year veteran trucker Edward A. Regener is a life-saver in the literal sense of the word.
On Nov. 4, 2006, Regener braved intense heat and smoke to rescue two men trapped in a burning car on I-10 near Phoenix. For his courage, Regener, a line driver for FedEx Freight, was honored as Goodyear's 24th North American Highway Hero at an awards ceremony at the Mid-America Truck Show in March.
Regener was driving eastbound on I10 that day, when a westbound car crossed the median and collided with a pickup that was attempting to pass him, pushing the pickup into his truck. The car came to rest atop a guardrail and caught fire. Fire also broke out in the pickup and spread to Regener's cab and one of his trailers. With flames blocking his driver's side door, he scrambled out the passenger door of his cab and raced to the car that had caused the accident.
After a struggle, Regener managed to get inside, where he found the driver and another man wedged in between the crushed front and back seats. Despite intense heat and thick smoke, Regener ripped the seats apart until he could reach the two men, and then handed them out to other motorists. Both men survived, and Regener was later treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation.
Founded by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in 1983, the Highway Hero program recognizes professional truck drivers and the life-saving rescues and roadside assistance they provide as their jobs take them across North America. Regener, who's based in Fontana, Calif., is the second FedEx driver to receive the Highway Hero award.