Cornwell inducted into Hall of Fame

Betty Cornwell, executive director of the Towing & Recovery Professionals of Maryland, based in Huntingtown, poses for a photo with fellow International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum inductees William Byers of Michigan, Dennis Harris of North Carolina, Steven Sedberry of Tennessee and Patrick Winer of Illinois.

Five towing industry veterans were selected as inductees into the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, and honored at a special event in Chattanooga, Tenn., considered the birthplace of the U.S. towing and recovery industry.

On the list is Betty Cornwell, executive director of the Towing & Recovery Professionals of Maryland, based in Huntingtown. Cornwell has spent over 45 years in the towing and recovery industry, during which she helped raise industry standards both locally and nationally and set an example for professional ethics, a press release states.

“I never thought this would happen. I told people who asked me why I thought that, ‘The good old Southern boys would not let this happen,’” said Cornwell in the release. She is a female pioneer in the towing and recovery industry with a long line of “firsts.”

Cornwell got her start in the towing and recovery industry in the early 1980s as part of the gas service station and towing businesses she and her husband, Harvey, operated, the release states.

She and others formed Towing & Recovery Professionals of Maryland in 1979, for which she also served three terms as president. Cornwell became the first woman to obtain an automobile inspector license in the state of Maryland, which she still possesses, according to the release. And she also learned how to operate a tow truck, obtaining a commercial driver’s license. Cornwell facilitated the first National Driver Certification Program Level 1 testing in Maryland.

As testament to her hard work and collaboration over the years, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s) wrote a letter supporting Cornwell’s nomination to the Hall of Fame.

“I worked with so many people over the years and it’s been such a wonderful relationship all these years. To see the special things they wrote about me, that to me is very special,” said Cornwell, a Calvert County resident.

For over 30 years, the Hall of Fame has inducted members of the profession who have distinguished themselves by making substantial contributions to and outstanding service in the towing and recovery industry.

“It makes me very proud that I can be a part of the process that gives the inductees the honor they deserve,” said Bill Gratzianna, president of the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, in the release. “They’re not in the industry for the glory or notoriety. They’re doing it from the heart.”

Hall of Fame selection is based on product innovation, exemplary dedication, industry leadership and professional achievement. Nominations are now open for the Class of 2018.

Learn more about the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum by visiting internationaltowingmuseum.org.