Neil Bain was beaming. “Isn’t she a beauty?” he says laughing.
Two years ago, there were few smiles. Bain and four other firefighters were called out to Highway 402 in a snowstorm for a car accident. They ended up in the middle of a pileup and Bain was eventually charged with careless driving. He was the only person charged in the multi-car crash.
The charges were eventually dropped last year and Bain, who suffered a broken wrist, continued to work as a volunteer firefighter despite the incident.
After the accident, a volunteer committee of firefighters got to work designing a new truck for the department. It was one of two to be replaced at a cost of $1 million. The cost was covered by insurance, with the volunteer firefighters’ association contributing about $10,000 for extras they wanted on the vehicles.
When the custom built fire truck, complete with room for 10 people to be safely seated, was ready to pull into the Wyoming station, the department’s leadership felt Bain was the best person to drive it.
“The same guys that took it out there on March 25, 2014 – I thought it was only fitting the same guys bring it back to town… it’s the right thing to do,” says Deputy Fire Chief Ron Vanderburgt.
So the five went out to drive the truck on its final few kilometres, this time with their wives by their sides. Tom Gibson was one of them.
“I was pretty touched by that especially for Neil. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the back there but for Neil this is huge. Everybody backed him and supported him and we know what a great guy he is and this is probably a great day for him.”
Bain was obviously pleased. “She’s got everything. You climb up in it and it seems huge.”
Bain was glad to be able to take the new trucks home, but he didn’t want it to be just him.
“I wanted my other guys with me, the guys that were with me almost two years ago and they were there.”
And Bain says it was an amazing ride. “It’s going to be safe… the truck we had before was just a van body put on a highway truck…this is something we should have had 10 years ago, but they didn’t build them 10 years ago.”
The group arrived at the Wyoming station as the sun was setting to cheers from friends and family.
“It was actually kind of emotional. It is almost two years to the day and you don’t think about it that often but just the way we did it tonight with the same guys who were in the vehicle two years ago, you can’t help but think about it,” says Gibson. “It’s kind of nice to finally get it.”