Mr Athanasiou positioned his truck to protect the victims of the accident, including the severely injured tow truck driver, by blocking traffic and assisting where he could.
Mr Athanasiou was presented the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian accolade at Americold’s Laverton depot by Bridgestone National Commercial Manager Geoff May and ATA Chairman Geoff Crouch.
Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Andrew Moffatt praised Mr Athanasiou for his quick thinking and selfless actions.
“We are pleased to recognise George Athanasiou as a Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian. It takes a certain type of person to lend assistance at a major accident site and Mr Athanasiou did so with such composure,” Mr Moffatt said.
“Mr Athanasiou joins an elite chapter of Australian trucking professionals who have been acknowledged for going above and beyond to aid those in need, despite what must be confronting scenes.”
According to Australian Personnel Solutions Victorian State Manager Sarah Russell, Mr Athanasiou has become highly regarded by the business and its customers over the past two and a half years.
“George is one of the most loyal and hardworking employees we have. He is extremely versatile, and has demonstrated this by working across multiple areas of the business including driving, loading, yard and allocation roles. He is a great asset to our business,” Ms Russell said.
Australian Trucking Association Chairman Geoff Crouch extended his admiration for Mr Athanasiou’s actions and the round-the-clock support offered by APS with counselling and medical services.
“The Australian trucking industry is lucky to have members like George Athanasiou. He has more than 20 years’ experience behind the wheel with a spotless driving record, and the ATA is proud to recognise his efforts with the Bridgestone Bandag Highway Guardian Award,” Mr Crouch said.
“This award not only recognises incredible individuals in our industry, but also highlights the dangers on our roads and the need for support systems for our truck drivers,” he said.