HACKENSACK - Tim Rudolph, owner of Pro-Tow Auto Care at Hackensack, is a 2008 recipient of American Towman magazine's Order of Towman Cross medal.
The magazine has recognized exceptional people who provide towing services throughout the nation with this award for 20 years. According to American Towman's Web site, they look for people dedicated to the towing trade and the communities they serve.
Chiefs of police associations in each state nominate potential recipients each year, which a committee at American Towman reviews and narrows to a list of towing service operators who go above and beyond the call of duty in their field.
Rudolph and his wife, Jennie, traveled to Baltimore Convention Center where he was presented with the award in November.
"It is truly the highlight of my career," Rudolph said. He said the woman who notified him of the award told him he was the first Minnesota recipient.
Ray Patton, owner of Martyn's Towing in Olmstead, Ohio, where Rudolph began his career, also was a recipient of the award this year. Patton died last summer. His son, Jason, accepted the award.
After working in Ohio, Rudolph moved to Syracuse, N.Y., where he opened his own towing service with two tow trucks in 1974.
He helped his parents move in 1985 to Stony Lake near Hackensack and liked the area, so he moved here. He opened Pro-Tow Auto Care in 1988, first operating from his home in rural Hackensack before moving more recently to Highway 371, just north of the city.
He is a certified wrecker operator.
His life here has been one of on-call, 24-hour-a-day service. Beside responding to calls for towing, Rudolph also has served on the Hackensack Fire Department the last 20 years.
In between emergency calls, his business offers full service repairs for all brands of personal and business vehicles.
Rudolph has restored one of his first tow trucks, a 1968 Dodge WD300 Power Wagon, which he bought from an employer, Bud Martinowski, in Ohio. That vehicle was featured in 2003 in the book titled, "A Photographic History," published by Krause Publications.
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