Mississauga, Ontario – A Newfoundland man has been named the Bridgestone Canadian Truck Hero Award for 2009. The annual award recognizes professional truck drivers who demonstrate courage, quick thinking and integrity in the face of an emergency.
Robert O’Brien, who works for ECL Transportation based in Calgary, Alberta, was awarded a trophy and $3,000 at the annual meeting of the Ontario Trucking Association in Toronto. Bridgestone Canada will also make a $3,000 donation to the charity of Mr. O’Brien’s choice.
“Truck drivers are often unsung heroes,” said Jim West, general manager, commercial products of Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions. “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 14, 2008, O’Brien was driving along Highway 1, north of Enterprise, Northwest Territories, when he came across a vehicle that had skidded on ice and rolled three or four times before landing in a ditch. The driver was able to free herself, and was attempting to dig out her children, who were still buckled in the car. O’Brien was the first to arrive on the scene, and he called 911 and set about freeing the children who were trapped under packed snow.
A second driver arrived, who rescued the baby boy, while O’Brien freed the baby girl through the truck’s back window. He then kept the victims warm in his truck while they waited for the RCMP to arrive and take them to hospital, where they were later released after a precautionary stay.