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Atlantic Trucking Report

Newfoundland trucker wins
Hero Award for heroic rescue

Newfoundland native Robert O’Brien’s quick thinking and heroic actions helped the truck driver earn the 2009 Bridgestone Canadian Truck Hero award.

The award, which includes a trophy and a $3,000 cheque, 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 O’Brien’s choice.

Jim West with Robert O’Brien

The Bridgestone Canadian Truck Hero award is an annual award that recognizes professional truck drivers who demonstrate courage, quick thinking and integrity in the face of an emergency. O’Brien works for ECL Transportation, based in Calgary, Alberta. “Truck drivers are often unsung heroes,” said Jim West, general manager, commercial products, Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, a division of BSCA. “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.”

  On February 14th, 2008 at approximately 2 am. O’Brien was driving along Highway 1, north of Enterprise, Northwest Territories when he came across a vehicle that had hit black ice, spun out of control and rolled three or four times before landing in a ditch. The driver was able to free herself from the mangled car and was attempting to dig out her two nine-and-a-half month old twins that were still stuck inside her car, safely buckled in. O’Brien was the first vehicle to arrive on the scene. He immediately called 911 and then set about freeing the children from the car, who were trapped under packed snow.

While a second driver arrived and was able to free the baby boy, Mr. O’Brien set about the difficult task of freeing the baby girl. After much digging and prying, O’Brien was able to free the child through the back window of the truck. With babies and mom now safe, all retreated to O’Brien’s ECL truck that kept them warm while they waited for RCMP to arrive and take them to hospital.

Thanks to O’Brien’s quick and decisive actions, mom and babies are all alive and well today. After a precautionary stay in the hospital, the three were reunited with their husband and father to celebrate a belated, but miraculous Valentine’s Day.

 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. For more information on the Bridgestone Canadian Truck Hero Award and its past winners, please visit:

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