Northland Strong: Truck driver earns Highway Angel award

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Thaddeus Paulson dreamed of becoming a truck driver. “I’ve always wanted the responsibility. I love the equipment, I love the machines. I grew up on a farm,” he told us.

The 27-year-old went through the Halvor Gold training program. And in December, he went on his first official run.

When he was coming back from that delivery, he encountered a scary situation.

It was December 23rd, after an ice storm. He’d been traveling on Highway 20 outside of Iowa Falls, Iowa, when he saw a serious crash in the other lane.

“It was a single-cab Chevy Silverado that had flipped a few times, probably three or four, and then landed in the ditch,” he recalled.

His dash camera recorded the crash. “I pulled over, put my flashers on, and the reflective triangles out, and ran across the road to help.”

A man had been driving his grandfather to the hospital because of some heart issues.

Due to the crash, the older man could not move, and was covered in blood.

According to Paulson, “It was probably -20 outside with the wind chill. And all the windows in the truck were broken. We were trying to get up the hill. So I grabbed one shoulder, and he grabbed the other, and I helped escort his grandfather up through waist deep snow going up the hill.”

Another driver had stopped, so they were able to put the man in a warm vehicle, until first responders arrived and took over.

Then Thaddeus called his dispatchers back at home to let them know why he was delayed.

“We’re thankful that he could go out and help these people. It’s nice that we have drivers like Thaddeus on our team,” shared Kendra Payette, Safety Compliance Manager.

They knew he deserved recognition for his actions. So they nominated him for the Highway Angel award, which is from the Truckload Carriers Association.

On Monday, the Halvor CEO, Jon Vinje, gave Thaddeus the award. “I’m very proud of your bravery, and your commitment to safety,” Vinje said.

Thaddeus was pretty happy to receive the honor. “This is cool, not going to lie.”

His own instincts, combined with Halvor’s culture of caring, definitely made a difference.

“I’m truly happy with this company and the way I’m treated,” he said.

And he hopes the family will reach out, and let him know how they are doing.

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