ROAD ANGEL: Humble Warwick truckie, a guardian of the road
A ROUTINE trip to Casino, New South Wales took an unexpected turn for one Warwick livestock transporter when he found a car overturned deep within concealed bushlands.
Frasers Livestock Transport truck driver Jeff Clegg was travelling through Woodenbong in June 2019, when he "noticed a glow on the side of a mountain" after performing a routine check of his cattle truck.
"We pulled up on top of the hill in Woodenbong, which is where we always pull up to check the cattle," he said.
"I had one animal down, so I got on top of the crate to stand him up. And I noticed a glow on the side of the mountain, so I went for a walk along and saw the two-wheel tracks.
"I climbed down not knowing what I was going to find, and I saw the man trapped in his car - wedged in by the trees.
"I (went back to the truck) and called emergency services and then I stayed with him until they arrived."
The selfless and heroic act has seen Mr Clegg awarded the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian - honouring "those in the industry who are there in times of need".
The award, he said, wasn't expected.
"It come out of the blue, I had no idea. It was quite funny," he said.
"I'm very embarrassed about it, I never dreamt I'd be in the running for it."
Mr Clegg has been in the trucking industry for more than 30 years, working with Frasers for the past five.
While he regards Frasers, and other livestock transporters as the "pinnacle" of trucking, this encounter on the road is one that isn't uncommon.
"I've seen a lot of that sort of thing over the years," he said.
"I've come across a lot of events worse than too.
"Working for Frasers, I've never worked for a more professional outfit."
Frasers managing director Ross Fraser had nothing but praise for Mr Clegg's actions, and said it was "fate" that he was there at the right time to help the man.
"We're proud of all of our team of people here but our truck drivers do a wonderful job on the road. They're the company representatives," Mr Fraser said.
"I think there are probably a lot of truck drivers who experience a lot of things on the road that they don't get recognition for. That doesn't take anything away from Jeff (getting the award).
"It's not what you'd call an annual award; it's awarded every so often to the very deserving recipient."
Often at the centre of intense scrutiny, Mr Clegg hopes the award will bring some positivity to the transport industry.
"We go to work, we want to come home safe to our families," he said.
"We're not here to kill anyone or harass anyone on the road, it's a trade that we do.
"With all of this COVID stuff floating around, we've just had a couple of months where we had the highways to ourselves and there were no accidents.
"It just shows we aren't the problems on the road."