A minute...maybe two to save a life

Story Hay­ley Lei­bowitz

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - Fleet Focus -

I WAS LUCKY TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME. If that was my Mum I’d hope some­one would help her,” says Shan­non Awa­tere, brush­ing aside any at­tempt to la­bel him a hero. But boss Chris Carr is clear that if not for Shan­non the sit­u­a­tion he en­coun­tered on a Kapiti Coast street in mid-May could eas­ily have turned into a tragedy.

“Some­times you can be very proud of the ac­tions of peo­ple you work with, and ap­palled at the ac­tions of oth­ers,” says the Carr & Haslam direc­tor, who nom­i­nated Shan­non as a Cas­trolTruck­Driver Hero.

That day be­gan like any other for Shan­non, who had just com­pleted a job on the Kapiti Coast and was wait­ing fourth in line be­hind other ve­hi­cles as an old lady crossed the road.

“She didn’t look well and the next thing I knew she just dropped, shop­ping and all,” says Shan­non.

The driv­ers of the cars ahead sim­ply drove around her…but Shan­non ran to help: “I chucked on my haz­ards, jumped out the truck and pulled her to the side of the road. Some­thing in me said ‘make sure she’s breath­ing.’ I put my ear next to her mouth but I couldn’t hear any­thing.”

De­spite it be­ing many years since he last had first-aid train­ing, Shan­non says it all came back to him and he re­mem­bered his CPR com­pres­sions: “Fi­nally, she breathed in.”

He rolled her onto her side into the re­cov­ery po­si­tion as sup­port ar­rived in the form of a doc­tor from a nearby med­i­cal cen­tre: “She woke up in shock. I was sweat­ing as I went to ring for an am­bu­lance.”

Think­ing back on the sit­u­a­tion, Shan­non says: “I can’t ex­plain the feel­ing when it hap­pened. Adrenalin was rush­ing. I was re­ally wor­ried and it was such a re­lief when she woke up.”

The 30-year-old fa­ther of two says stop­ping to help the wo­man was “just the right thing to do.

“I didn’t know what to ex­pect but I’m pissed off that no-one else stopped. The thing that gets to me is, when I was a kid, peo­ple would pull over if some­one was in trou­ble. I can un­der­stand peo­ple be­ing in their bub­bles, but it takes one, maybe two min­utes to check if some­one is al­right.”

Chris Carr is equally as­tounded at the in­dif­fer­ence of oth­ers: “It’s ap­palling that all those peo­ple saw what he saw and drove around her. It makes you won­der about your fel­low hu­man be­ings.

“Shan­non stopped his truck in the mid­dle of the road to pro­tect that wo­man. It’s a fan­tas­tic thing he did.”

With some eight years in the truck­ing in­dus­try, Shan­non be­gan his ca­reer as a me­chanic but was look­ing for a change: “I love my com­pany. I’m never in the same place. I love the sights and scenery and be­ing around peo­ple.”

Carr reck­ons that Shan­non, like “lots of truck driv­ers,” has a “big heart.”

And he adds: “He only men­tioned this to us in pass­ing, as he didn’t think it was any­thing spe­cial – but the wo­man is do­ing well thanks to his ac­tions.”

“I’m just an or­di­nary per­son who did some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary,” jokes Shan­non, call­ing up the fa­mil­iar cliché.

And af­ter the in­ci­dent? “I car­ried on with my day. Peo­ple are re­ly­ing on me to de­liver my loads.”

Shan­non, like each of our Cas­trolTruck­DriverHero nom­i­nees, is recog­nised for his ac­tions with a $1000 app­pre­ci­a­tion re­ward, com­pris­ing $500 cash and a $500 Cas­trol pack­age.

He will also au­to­mat­i­cally be­come a nom­i­nee in the an­nual Cas­trol Truck­DriverHeroAward. T&D

Shan­non Awa­tere reck­ons it was “such a re­lief” when the wo­man came around

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