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Local flood heros announced as finalists for trucking bravery award

13 May 2011

One city: two heroes. Toowoomba certainly knows how to make them brave with two local truck drivers being announced as finalists for the Australian Trucking Association’s new Highway Guardian Award. 

The two truck drivers are Michael Munchow and Greg Twidale. The new Highway Guardian award honours acts of bravery by Australia’s truck drivers in the course of their duty, and is sponsored by Continental Tyres Australia.

Michael Munchow

During the January 2011 floods, a wall of water roared down the main street of Withcott, in the Lockyer Valley. Shayne and Amanda Richardson were in their Honda Jazz hatchback when it was caught by the flood and hurled down the street. At great risk to himself, Michael Munchow backed his semi-trailer into a pole to stop the car and pulled them into the cab of his truck.

Greg Twidale

The January 2011 floods that swept through Toowoomba left motorists stranded on the roofs of their cars as the water raged around them. Greg Twidale from John Kelly & Sons Transport showed great bravery when he drove his truck into the flood waters at the corner of James and Kitchener streets and threw a strap to a stranded motorist so she could anchor herself in case her car was swept away. Greg remained in the flood waters for an hour until rescuers arrived.

The third finalist for the award is Greg Elton, of Underwood in Queensland, who saved the life of a motorist who veered into the path of his Australia Post B-double on the Pacific Highway. 

The ATA has also announced the other finalists for the 2011 National Trucking Industry Awards, following a high standard of entries across all the award categories.

The Chairman of the ATA, David Simon, said the awards were a crucial part of the trucking industry’s calendar, because they identify and reward the people who have made significant contributions to the industry.

“The quality of this year’s finalists is remarkable. They include some of the most dedicated people in the industry, who have worked tirelessly to raise Australian trucking to higher levels of safety and professionalism,” Mr Simon said.

The 2011 National Trucking Industry Award finalists are:

- Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry – Terry and Daphne Nolan (Gatton, QLD), Simon Skazlic (Truganina, VIC) and Rod Hannifey (Dubbo, NSW).

- National Professional Driver of the Year – John Hastie (Tully, QLD), Michael Cavanagh (Greenfields, SA) and Rod Hannifey (Dubbo, NSW).

- Trucking Industry Woman of the Year – Dianne Carroll (Tarcutta, NSW), Sue Rowe (High Wycombe, WA) and Sharon Kane (Smeaton Grange, NSW).

- Training Excellence Award – Women Take the Wheel (Brisbane, QLD) and Seymour Passenger Services (Seymour, VIC).

- Highway Guardian Award – Michael Munchow (Toowoomba, QLD), Greg Twidale (Toowoomba, QLD), Greg Elton (Underwood, QLD).

- TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award – Divall’s Earthmoving & Bulk Haulage (Goulburn, NSW), Bullbuck Pty Ltd (Port Hedland, WA), Nicol Echunga Transport (Echunga, SA).

The award winners will be announced on Friday, 27 May at the ATA Foundations Sponsors Gala Awards Dinner at Parliament House, Canberra. The dinner is part of the Australian Trucking Convention, which will be held in Canberra from 25-28 May.