Had­field helps cel­e­brate plant’s in­jury-free year

The Observer (Sarnia) - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MORDEN pmor­[email protected]­media.com

Do­ing some­thing in­cred­i­ble takes hard work, re­tired as­tro­naut Chris Had­field told 2,000 Im­pe­rial Oil em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors gath­ered Thursday to cel­e­brate a rare lost-time-in­juryfree year at the com­pany’s Sar­nia man­u­fac­tur­ing site.

He spoke from a stage on the home ice of the Sar­nia St­ing about grow­ing up in­spired by Apollo mis­sions to the moon and work­ing hard to be­come a fighter pi­lot, test pi­lot, as­tro­naut, the first Cana­dian to walk in space and the first Cana­dian to com­mand the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

Had­field, who at­tended King Ge­orge VI Pub­lic School in Sar­nia and still spends time at a cot­tage on Stag Is­land in the St. Clair River, “is a home­town hero,” said James Ritchie, Im­pe­rial’s Sar­nia chem­i­cal plant man­ager.

“Be­ing able to bring him here to re­in­force the mes­sages we have at Im­pe­rial, that’s just an hon­our. . . . We’re over the moon.”

The safety event fol­lowed a lost-time-ac­ci­dent-free year at the com­pany’s Sar­nia man­u­fac­tur­ing site in 2018.

It was the first time that has hap­pened in the 120-year his­tory of the site, where Im­pe­rial op­er­ates a re­fin­ery, chem­i­cal plant and re­search cen­tre, Ritchie said.

“What we are do­ing is world­class per­for­mance.”

Be­ing world-class takes “a tremen­dous amount of work,” Had­field told the crowd in the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

He spoke about the first NASA mis­sion to the moon that in­spired him years ago, call­ing it an “ab­so­lutely crazy, im­pos­si­ble, world­class thing to do.”

But that mis­sion hap­pened be­cause of the “au­da­cious­ness” of late U.S. Pres­i­dent John Kennedy, who, in the early 1960s, pledged his coun­try would travel to the moon.

“He chal­lenged every­body to try to do some­thing that was right be­yond im­pos­si­ble,” Had­field said.

Had­field com­pared that to his own as a young­ster grow­ing up in Sar­nia, first be­com­ing an air cadet and then join­ing the Air Force on his way to be­ing named a Cana­dian as­tro­naut in 1992, in the same group as Gov. Gen. Julie Payette.

Had­field made three trips to space and be­came a so­cial me­dia sensation when he recorded videos about life in or­bit, as well as a cover ver­sion of a David Bowie song, Space Odd­ity, recorded on the space sta­tion.

He spoke about a suc­cess­ful emergency space walk needed while he was com­mand­ing the space sta­tion when a cool­ing sys­tem sprung a leak.

“It wasn’t by luck and it wasn’t in­evitable,” he said about the space walk that “saved the day.”

It was the re­sult of “decades of one goal, one team,” Had­field said.

“You need to have a per­pet­ual dis­sat­is­fac­tion with your skill set and a con­stant, re­lent­less drive to be­come bet­ter at the things that mat­ter to you.”

Fol­low­ing the safety day pre­sen­ta­tion, Had­field was sched­uled to visit with stu­dents at P. E. McGib­bon Pub­lic School in Sar­nia.

You need to have a per­pet­ual dis­sat­is­fac­tion with your skill set and a con­stant, re­lent­less drive to be­come bet­ter at the things that mat­ter to you.”

Re­tired as­tro­naut Chris Had­field

PAUL MORDEN/SAR­NIA OB­SERVER

Re­tired as­tro­naut Chris Had­field speaks Thursday at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena dur­ing a safety day held for em­ploy­ees and con­trac­tors from Im­pe­rial Oil's Sar­nia Man­u­fac­tur­ing Site. Had­field made three trips to space and was the first Cana­dian to com­mand the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

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