Mike Pettipas, a 47-year member of Local 793, has been honoured for his heroic efforts in saving a woman’s life on Dec. 16, 2015.
The Port Hope resident was presented with the Kyle Knox Memorial Award by Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher and members of the Knox family at a special executive board meeting of the union in Oakville on April 2.
Gallagher said the initiative and quick thinking of Pettipas saved the life of Grace Goheen, who had fallen and broken her hip in a secluded area and was exposed to the cold.
“It is most likely that Ms. Goheen would have died in the winter cold had it not been for Mike’s quick efforts.”
Gallagher said Pettipas had been hunting near Port Hope and throughout the day he kept hearing a strange cry. Around 4:30 p.m., he went to investigate and drove his pickup truck in the direction of the sounds.
When he got to a bridge that he couldn’t cross in his truck, Pettipas got out and saw his neighbour’s dog with a red glove in its mouth. He followed the dog through a kilometre of tall grass to a pond area where he found his neighbour, Ms. Goheen. The woman had fallen and broken her hip and was shaking uncontrollably.
The woman had released her dog because it was getting dark and she was worried that coyotes would attack the animal. Pettipas took off his hunting coat and vest and put them underneath and over the woman’s body. He then called his wife and asked her to direct an ambulance to the area.
Ms. Goheen recovered at Northumberland Hospital. She is still using crutches and has a brace on her right knee.
She spoke at the union meeting and noted she is still recovering from the ordeal.
She thanked Pettipas for saving her, saying, “Thank God that somebody was there for me.”
She also thanked business manager Gallagher and the union for inviting her to the award presentation.
Ms. Goheen said that in the past her dog, Skylar, hadn’t been too friendly to Pettipas, but on the day she fell must have realized he could help.
She noted it was a terrifying ordeal and if Pettipas hadn’t found her she probably wouldn’t have survived the night.
Pettipas also spoke at the union meeting and thanked the union officers for the award. He told those at the meeting that, “I was just doing my job.”
The Kyle Knox Memorial Award is named in memory of Kyle James Knox, a 24-year-old crane apprentice who was killed Oct. 11, 2011 when a drill rig collapsed at a subway construction site in Toronto. The award is given periodically to Local 793 members who exhibit extraordinary bravery and initiative in rescuing another member, fellow worker or a member of the public in a calamity.
Gallagher said he decided to establish the award after reading a newspaper article in which Kyle’s sister, Kendall, had been quoted as saying that Kyle had saved someone’s life on a construction site.
“It struck me that that spirit should be recognized going forward,” Gallagher said.
Several members of the Knox family attended the event, including Kyle’s mother, Sherry, his sister Kendall and her boyfriend Dustin Louth, and another sister Hanna and her husband Kyle Love.
The award was first presented in 2012 to Local 793 operators Ryan Blyth, Kirk Winter and David Tustin for their efforts at the accident in 2011 that killed Kyle Knox. They helped rescue another Local 793 member, Dan DeLuca, who was injured in the accident.
In 2013, the award was presented to Cedric LeBlanc of Ottawa, a Local 793 crane mechanic who came to the rescue of crane operator Jean Marc Legault who accidentally sliced his wrist in the cab of a crane 60 metres above the ground in downtown Ottawa and had to be rescued.