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Trucker offers elixir of life to students, seniors

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. - When owner/operator Bruce Paton heard about the contaminated water crisis in North Battleford, Sask., he felt he had to do something about it.But all he had to offer was his ...


GOOD SAMARITAN: Lease-operator Bruce Paton and his wife, Angel, hauled 13,000 litres of bottled water to students and seniors in North Battleford, Sask. The city is struggling with a contaminated water crisis.
GOOD SAMARITAN: Lease-operator Bruce Paton and his wife, Angel, hauled 13,000 litres of bottled water to students and seniors in North Battleford, Sask. The city is struggling with a contaminated water crisis.

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. – When owner/operator Bruce Paton heard about the contaminated water crisis in North Battleford, Sask., he felt he had to do something about it.

But all he had to offer was his truck, and a big heart. After rallying support from bottled water manufacturers Sierra and Cool Springs, however, Paton and his wife, Angel, loaded up their 2001 Freightliner with over 13,000 litres of bottled water destined for the thirsty citizens of the stricken city.

Paton, who hauls general freight for Yanke, asked his dispatcher not to assign him a load on his weekly run to Toronto, Ont.

“I deliberately called my office and told them not to load me out and then picked up the water and hauled it to North Battleford, then I went on my merry way from there,” explains Paton.

The Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.-based trucker says his efforts were worthwhile when he realized how pleased the city was with his contribution.

“I wasn’t too sure at first, I didn’t think we’d be able to put a dent in anything,” says Paton. “But the superintendent of the schools told me they would have enough to do all the schools for three weeks. They were tickled pink,” he adds, noting that one school even gave Angel a flowerpot from their solarium.

Paton set out on his crusade with the intent of quenching the thirst of those who needed it most – students and seniors.

“I was concerned about the seniors not having water because they don’t really have access to it unless they buy bottled water or haul it,” says Paton. “My main concern was the seniors because we’re all going to get old some day and we hauled it to the schools too because we’d all like to be kids.”

The water was divided up so that 10,000 litres went to five local public schools, while seniors received 3,000 litres.

It was a challenging experience at times for the trucker to rally support, since he was not a registered charity and some skeptics were hesitant to contribute. His perseverance paid off, however, and Cool Springs and Sierra were eager to help with his cause.

North Battleford city clerk, Elaine Kostiuk, says it was nice to see an ordinary citizen step up so quickly to the plate and help those in need.

“Individually like that, he’s the only one (to make a significant contribution),” says Kostiuk. “That’s what makes it kind of special.” n


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