Auto Service World
News   November 18, 2005   by Auto Service World

Kamloops Truck Driver Honoured for Bravery


Kevin Harris, a Kamloops, B.C., trucker who fought off flames and defied danger so that he could provide comfort to a dying fellow driver he had met only 10 minutes earlier, is the recipient of this year’s Bridgestone Firestone Canadian Truck Hero Award.
The award, which Bridgestone Firestone Canada has presented since 1956, is given to a Canadian trucker demonstrating courage, quick thinking and integrity in the face of emergency. In recognition of his achievement, Harris received a $3,000 cheque from Bridgestone Firestone Canada, along with a commemorative trophy. The award was presented today at the annual meeting of the Ontario Trucking Association.
Harris, a driver for Valley Roadways Ltd., was travelling along Highway 5A between Merritt and Kamloops last August, trailing Peter Mills, a Lamont, Alta., trucker with whom he had shared coffee at a truck stop only moments before. Mills’s truck suddenly veered out of control and rolled into a ditch, crushing the cab and pinning Mills’s arms and legs.
Rushing from his truck, Harris climbed into the crushed cab and valiantly attempted to rescue the gravely injured driver. While rescue efforts were futile, Harris remained at Mills’s side, putting a pillow behind his neck, wiping his face, holding his hand and trying to make him as comfortable as possible in the dire circumstances.
With fires igniting around him from dripping diesel fuel that threatened to engulf the entire truck at any moment, Harris used fire extinguishers from the two trucks to quell the fires, enabling him to stay with Mills. He was able to remain until Mills drew his last breath, at which point Harris left the cab, just before it was engulfed in flames.
“I thank God every day that man was there with him,” said Mills’s wife, Katrina. “I’m so happy that he was there, and that Pete wasn’t there by himself.”
Mills’s father David told The Canadian Press following the accident: “To risk that truck going up in flames anytime, and [Harris] stayed there. He really deserves some kind of commendation for this.”
In addition to presenting Harris with the $3,000 prize money that accompanies the award, Bridgestone Firestone Canada is donating a matching amount in Kevin Harris’s name to a memorial trust fund that has been set up for Peter Mills in his hometown of Lamont, Alta.
The Bridgestone Firestone Canada Truck Hero Award winner is selected from among nominations submitted by Canadian trucking companies, which are required to include a police statement corroborating the nominated driver’s actions.
For photos of the winner receiving his trophy or more information on the Bridgestone Firestone Canadian Truck Hero Award and its past winners, please visit: www.truckhero.ca.


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