1. Please tell me about your organization.
Respect Tow Truck Operators was founded in 2009 by myself after I almost got hit on the side of the Queen Elizabeth Highway (Hwy 2), one of the most dangerous highway's in Alberta, doing a tire change on a vehicle. My eyes were opened up to how badly the industry needed a change. Respect Tow Truck Operators is run by myself and my best friend Meggin. We are solely out to change the towing industry. I have made it a goal in my life, and I have seen an incredible change from 5 years ago when I first was introduced to the industry!
I personally came inches away from being hit and killed by a tractor trailer while doing a tire change. I also have been recently married into the industry, my husband has been a flatbed operator for numerous years.
Everything! I never ever thought Respect Tow Truck Operators would get as big as it has. American Towman TV did a whole segment on myself and RTTO. I have Slow Down Move Over decals and merchandise for sale. I have a big website courtesy of TLC Media Productions. I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people and tow companies. I also would be no where without the 17,800 people who follow RTTO!
4. Thinking back on your work in the past year(s), were there any memorable moments? Perhaps a time when you got a little choked up?
Too many times to mention! I get a lot of people who thank me for the work I do and it blows me away every time. I enjoy the time I spend doing what I do for the towing industry immensely and I don't feel people need to thank me! I would have to say though the most memorable moment was being interviewed by American Towman TV. To this day I am still shocked that they wanted to do a story on myself and RTTO! I remember shaking so bad and trying to get my words together! I had so much fun doing it, and it really helped get the word out.
Towing is definitely in my blood now. I couldn't get out of the industry even if I wanted to. Just knowing that I have helped one person stay safe on the side of the highway or I have educated one person to slow down and move over for amber lights on the side of the road drives me to continue bringing awareness with Respect Tow Truck Operators. It all comes down to educating motorists on the laws out there protecting emergency vehicles. It is unbelievable how many do not know or understand the Slow Down Move Over Law.
6. If you could talk to donors and tell them why their support is important, what would you say?
I couldn't ever begin to explain how thankful I am for everyone's support! No one will ever realize how important the support I receive is in the making of RTTO. I only run it, everyone else gives me the motivation to keep it up! I haven't ever asked for donations for Respect Tow Truck Operators, I keep everything running on my own.
7. What has changed since you first started? Is it harder, easier? How has the organization responded to that change?
There has been a lot of changes since I first started 4 years ago. All states now have some sort of Slow Down Move Over Law, we just have to work on getting all of Canada to adopt it then move on to hopefully making the law worldwide. Since march, we have gained over 4,000 members on Facebook and I find it to be somewhat harder now to do things like make sure the news is posted daily or keeping up on certain weekly activities I have started, but nothing that is too hard to handle for myself. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Respect Tow Truck Operators is a huge part of the towing industry, and we do as much as we possibly can to protect each and every tow truck operator out there! Our next biggest step is taking RTTO into schools and educating children on the Slow Down Move Over Law and how it includes everyone. With this law, and the proper education, we can save more lives. Seeing how many tow truck operators and emergency works get injured or killed yearly because of people who refuse to slow down or move over makes me sick. I want to come home to my family just as much as everyone else in the towing industry. As of August 9th, we are at 22 tow truck operator deaths, which is unacceptable.
9. Can you tell us about a case in which RTTO made a difference?
I had a motorist message me and say how because of my page, she now knows to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. She went on to say that when she see's flashing lights, she remembers Respect Tow Truck Operators and what it stands for.
We may be called Respect Tow Truck Operators, but we accommodate just about anyone whether it be dispatchers, other emergency workers, or just fans and motorists. We have different activities going on throughout each week such as Vintage Tow Truck of the Day, Truck of the Day, and Tow Operator of the Week. Very soon I will be starting up contests for Respect Tow Truck Operators merchandise. I also have been keeping a list of all the tow operators killed on the job since January 2012. Take a second to "like" us on Facebook www.facebook.com/respecttowtruckoperators, follow us on twitter www.twitter.com/RTTOfanfollow check out www.respecttowtruckoperators.com!