Russell Hurd, who partnered with Harford Community College to establish the Heather L. Hurd 5K Run/1-Mile Fun Walk, has been named the C&S Wholesale Grocers 2013 Volunteer of the Year.
Hurd is a perishable quality control manager in the company's North East food distribution center.
He and his wife, Kim, established the 5K event in memory of their daughter, Heather, who was killed in a traffic accident in 2008 by a tractor-trailer driver who was distracted while texting. Hurd volunteers more than 1,000 hours each year with the college.
In its fifth year, the event raises money for book scholarships for HCC students and for programs that help raise awareness of traffic accidents, their consequences and costs, and the measures that can be taken to prevent them. The most recent race in November 2012 raised $15,000 for Remembrance Book Scholarships. Over the past four years, $47,200 of book scholarships have been awarded to deserving HCC students.
The event also remembers the hundreds of victims tragically killed on Maryland roads each year in preventable accidents and acknowledges the critical work of fire, police, and ambulance personnel. Hurd raises money, plans the event and arranges exhibitions, including a distracted driving simulator. He also speaks at schools about distracted driving and the Heather L. Hurd Run/Walk.
"Russ and his family volunteer numerous hours each year to bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving by hosting the Heather L. Hurd 5K Run/1-Mile Fun Walk with the Harford Community College Foundation. In addition, Russ serves on the Harford Community College Foundation board in support of the college. We greatly appreciate the Hurd family's service to the college and dedication to such an important cause," Denise Dregier, Director of HCC College and Alumni Development, said in a press release.
Hurd has also lobbied for legislation to prevent distracted driving and was a panelist at the Florida Distracted Driving Summit in November. He and his wife, Kim, were instrumental in passing Heather's Law in Maryland in 2010 that bans the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, and he has been a leading advocate against distracted driving across the country.
"Right now, we are losing over 3,000 people per year strictly due to cell phone use and texting while driving, and that number is conservative; 600,000 are injured every year. I hope that, one of these days, people will understand how dangerous distracted driving is," Hurd said in a news release. "I'd give anything not to be Volunteer of the Year. I'm Volunteer of the Year because I love my daughter. I'm trying to help prevent another family from going through this."