Colonel Christopher A. Knight,
I am writing to commend Corporal Richard V. Warden, who came to our rescue on Christmas Eve when we had a flat tire on I-10.
My husband Jan and I were on our way to a beach vacation. It was about 8 p.m. and pouring rain. We were riding along a very isolated stretch of highway, 20 miles from the nearest town, when our pickup truck started shaking and I realized we had a flat. I pulled off the road as far as I could and still keep the wheels on the pavement. We pulled out the instructions from the glove box. It was a new truck and we hadn't had to change a tire before. Soon we were in the back, me with a flashlight and a large umbrella hovering over Jan who was laying on the pavement behind the truck trying to get the spare tire out from its hiding place. It took us a while to get everything assembled that we needed. Then we moved to the side of the truck to change the tire. This is when we really got nervous, because we were just a matter of 4 or 5 feet from the traffic lanes and, while it wasn't too busy, cars were coming by very fast and splashing us with water as the rain continued to pour down in sheets.
Just about then we saw some blue lights. It was Corporal Warden, who parked behind us, giving us a little more security from the passing traffic. He also came out with a tire tool that made it a lot easier for us to get the tire off. He offered advice that was helpful on getting the jack to work on the truck. And then, when Jan was clearly exhausted, he took over putting the spare onto the wheel mounting and letting the jack down.
I'm sure we would have been there at least another half hour in the rain if Corporal Warden hadn't come along when he did. And I shudder to think of the danger we were in trying to work so close to traffic in the dark in the rain on a lonely holiday night. We were so delighted to have his cruiser parked behind us to direct traffic to the far lane.
But he went beyond the call of duty by actually helping us get the tire replaced, getting soaking wet himself in the process.
So please extend my thanks to Corporal Warden and the Florida Highway Patrol for their help during our troubles on Christmas Eve.
Carolyn S. Carlson