Truckers honored in ceremony

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WINDSOR, Ont. – The trucking industry was front and center last month during ceremonies in Windsor to honor National Transportation Week.

Michel Besner, president of Transport Besner of Saint-Nicolas, Que., received an Award of Excellence for his commitment to customer service and road safety. In 1985, Transport Besner became the first fleet in North America to commit its vehicles to a reduced speed limit of 90 km-h on all its units. In 1991, the fleet became the first in North America to be fully equipped with radar anti-collision systems, reducing accidents by 38 per cent. Two years later, the company established its own driver training school.

Stuart Sutton, vice-president, information technology, for TST Expedited Services, received an Award of Achievement. Sutton designed the TSTracs Emergency Freight Management System, a system that integrates satellite messaging, global positioning, geographical mapping, mileage-based software, telecommunications, imaging, EDI, customized reports, central faxing and the Internet to provide a state-of-the-art emergency transportation system.

An Exceptional Merit Award was presented to Tony Hopp of Al’s Cartage of Kitchener, Ont., for his work in promoting organ transplants. Inspired by his wife’s three-year wait for a liver transplant, the driver got the idea to use tractor-trailers as moving billboards to promote organ donation.

Three other members of the trucking community – Keith Hallett of the ECL Group of Companies in Calgary, Richard Nadeau of Transport Richard Nadeau in Fleurimont, Que., and Gerald White of JD Smith and Sons in Loretto, Ont. – were honored with Awards of Bravery.

Hallett, a driver with the ECL Group, was traveling near the town of Kathryn, Alta. on April 4, 1998 when he came upon a rollover accident scene where a small car had come to rest upside-down in a slough. Jumping into the freezing water, Hallett broke the window of the car and helped other rescuers remove the two female passengers.

Nadeau, an owner/operator, was driving home on Route 112 near Sherbrook, Que. on March 29, 1999 when he saw a mini-van burst into flames after hitting a traffic light. Nadeau ran to the burning vehicle and quickly succeeded in removing a female passenger. He then ran back to the van where he was forced to slash at the seatbelt to remove an unconscious man from the vehicle.

White was driving his tractor-trailer in Vaughan, Ont. on July 13, 1999 when he came upon a Hydro worker who had been shocked and stranded in a bucket. A co-worker had lowered him to the ground but was not strong enough to lift him out. White, ignoring the risk of electric shock and the fire burning on the stricken Hydro worker’s clothing, lifted him out and proceeded to extinguish the flames. n

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