Sometimes, being a Highway Angel comes down to one’s mindset. That’s the thinking of Doron “D” Doravi, who was recently selected as a Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Highway Angel for his actions on May 3, 2019. Hauling a front-end loader southbound on U.S. Highway 81, a few miles south of York Nebraska, Doravi and another CDL driver encountered an overturned truck that blocked the northbound lanes and part of the median. Observing spilled liquid, “D” asked the other driver, whose truck was closer, to get a fire extinguisher. In the meantime, Doravi focused on the driver of the overturned truck, still belted into the driver’s seat with the driver’s door facing the sky. After determining that the driver didn’t have an injury that precluded moving him, Doravi cut the seat belt and helped the driver exit the tractor. By this time, the other driver had returned and the two rescuers helped get the accident victim to the ground. Doravi stayed nearby until paramedics arrived.
“The biggest point is the mindset, the other thing is the training,” Doravi explained. “How to do it quickest.” While many drivers receive training in first aid from carriers and other sources, Doravi might have a little more expertise than the average driver. His experience begins years ago, as a Sergeant and Team Leader in the Tel Aviv division of the Israeli National Police Tactical Anti-Crime and Terrorist Unit, the equivalent of the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) units familiar in the U.S. “As a member of a SWAT team, we are taught quick assessment of the situation, the ‘what, where, when’ thinking,” Doravi explained. That mindset paid off for the driver Doravi rescued and turned over to responding EMTs.
The training continued after Doravi came to the U.S. “When I moved to Arizona, I became a reserve firefighter. We had training in firefighting and emergency response,” he said. He still carries a large medical pack in his tractor, just in case. “You never know when it might be needed,” he said.
One of the first issues Doravi encountered upon coming to the U.S. was the pronunciation of his name. That’s mostly because the letter “R” is “rolled” in the Hebrew language, similar to the way it’s pronounced in some European languages like French and Spanish. Without an English equivalent, it’s difficult to explain the correct pronunciation of both first and last names to people he meets here in the U.S. “My American friend had trouble pronouncing my name and just started calling me ‘D,’” he said, “so that’s what everyone calls me now, even my wife.”
Doravi didn’t need to rescue a fellow driver to attract the attention of Steve Weidner, operations manager at Diamond Transportation Systems, where Doravi leases his champagne-colored Kenworth W900.
“He’s one of the good ones, that’s for sure,” said Weidner. “Loyal, dedicated, and a good representative of the industry and our company.” Doravi has been with Diamond for about three years.
Weidner spoke of Doravi’s attention to detail and his excellent communication with customers. “He’s the epitome of what you want in an owner-operator,” he continued. “I wish I had 60 more like him.”
Doravi’s journey has been long and interesting, from an Israeli SWAT team to a Phoenix, Arizona based owner operator in the trucking industry. “I want to drive the biggest thing on the road,” he said. “I haul a lot of military vehicles and a lot of farm equipment.” While the loads he hauls aren’t always the biggest, Doravi relishes the responsibility of the type of driving he does. “To me, what we do, hauling permitted loads, having to plan the trip and route, get permits, can sometimes be very challenging,” he explained. “Some of the military vehicles are very impressive looking, not necessarily big or heavy, but interesting.”
While it may be gratifying to haul such interesting freight, “D” says his biggest honor was in pulling The Wall That Heals, the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Mobile Education Center. He’s had the honor twice, once on a leg from Michigan to Cravitz, Wisconsin, where he pulled the display in a parade. More than 10,000 people visited the display in Cravitz. “That’s probably the top of the top. It’s a very emotional experience,” he said.
When he’s not piloting his Kenworth down the highway, Doravi enjoys shooting and motorcycle riding. Harley-Davidson owners may be disappointed to learn that he’s not a fan. “I prefer Japanese quality,” he said, but he’s not picky about the make or model. “Give me two wheels, an engine and a quality machine, that’s what it’s about,” he explained. Off-roading in four-wheeled vehicles is a passion, too, as are the four dogs he and his wife care for. “The dogs are all rescues, loving, small creatures,” he boasted. “They are my boys.”
Whether he’s rescuing dogs or accident victims, “D” Doravi is equipped and ready to step up as needed. “I’m getting old and cranky,” he said, “but I’m in a good place.” Thanks to his training, preparedness and mindset, those he encounters are in a good place, too.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.