Trucker honoured as Canadian Truck Hero for helping to free infant twins from vehicle on remote section of Trans Canada Highway in Northwest Territories.
Newfoundland native Robert O’Brien, who works for ECL Transport of Calgary, Alta., earned the 2009 Bridgestone Canadian Truck Hero Award, which includes a trophy and a $3,000 cheque, for his efforts to free nine-and-a-half-month old twins in February 2008.
On February 14th, 2008 at approximately 2 a.m. O’Brien was driving along Highway 1, North of Enterprise, Northwest Territories when he came across a vehicle that had spun out of control on black ice and rolled three or four times before landing in a ditch. The driver was able to free herself from the mangled vehicle but the twins were still stuck inside, safely buckled in but trapped by the packed snow. O’Brien was the first vehicle to arrive on the scene, immediately called 911, and then set about freeing the children.
While a second driver arrived and was able to free the baby boy, O’Brien set about the difficult task of freeing the baby girl through the back window of the truck.
All retreated to O’Brien’s ECL truck that kept them warm while they waited for RCMP to arrive and take them to hospital. After a precautionary stay in the hospital, the three were reunited with their husband and father to celebrate a belated Valentine’s Day.
The award was presented to O’Brien by Jim West, general manager, Commercial Products, Bridgestone Canada Inc. (BSCA), at the annual meeting of the Ontario Trucking Association in Toronto. In addition, BSCA will also make a $3,000 donation to the charity of Mr. O’Brien’s choice.
“Truck drivers are often unsung heroes,” said West. “Our company has been honouring heroes like Mr. O’Brien since 1956. It takes an extraordinary person to do what he did, and we’re proud to present him with this award.”
The winner of the Bridgestone Canadian Truck Hero Award is selected from among nominations submitted by Canadian trucking companies and the general public, which are required to include a police statement corroborating the nominated driver’s actions.