BENSON – Willy Odom has been described by travelers along Interstate 95 as “an angel” who “went out of his way to help us,” and someone who “made sure we were safe in a dangerous situation.”
Odom is a driver for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Incident Management Assistance Program (IMAP), which is also referred to as the agency’s Safety Patrol Program.
For his dedication, professionalism and public service, Odom was named this week as the department’s newest Roscoe Award recipient. The award is presented each year to one IMAP driver for outstanding contributions to the program.
Odom was surprised with the news during a meeting Tuesday at the Benson Fire Department with IMAP and NCDOT officials, law enforcement, first-responders and construction contractors. He has been an IMAP driver for NCDOT for five years, after a similar 13-year career for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
“I love helping people,” said Odom, who lives in Fayetteville and is a former U.S. Marine. “It’s what we do as a team, and how I like to roll.”
His boss, James Flowers, the Division 6 Traffic Engineer, said Odom is willing to work any shift, including during a storm, and Odom ensures the scene where he has stopped is safe.
“Willy has a God-given talent to bring a smile to someone’s face, even when they are having a bad day because of an unexpected break-down on the highway,” Flowers said. “He has a heart to help people.”
Odom is assigned to the IMAP group that regularly patrols I-95 from the South Carolina line to around Smithfield, although the group will respond to any major incident on I-95 as far north as the N.C.-Virginia border. Highway Division 6, which is based in Fayetteville, oversees the I-95 patrol drivers.
The program’s 66 patrol truck drivers assisted about 57,000 motorists in 2023. More information is available on NCDOT’s Road Assistance webpage.