Former Military Serviceman A Hero On Another Front

on Monday, 12 August 2013. Posted in Stories

Written by Shirley McCall Hanlon with credit to Woodstock Sentinel Review August 1977

Former Military Serviceman A Hero On Another Front

Former Military Serviceman A Hero On Another Front

John Allan McKay who grew up at Lot 14, Concession 7 of West Zorra Township and served in the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals from 1960 to 1965 was also hailed as a hero in August of 1977.

At this time in his life John was a transport truck driver.  While doing a routine trip on the 401, he came upon a fellow trucker in trouble. 

David Cook from the Aylmer area was driving the 401 when a right front tire blew, heated up, and by the time Cook was able to stop the rig it was smoking.  John stopped and the two men attempted to put the fire out with fire extinguishers.  When this wouldn’t work Cook attempted to uncouple the trailer to get the burning cab away from the load.  A mechanism jammed and Cook got out to release the final pin.  By the time he got into the cab to drive it away, the cab was filled with smoke and was pretty well burning.  According to Cook “that is when McKay started moving fast.  He grabbed me by the arm or the shoulder.  I can’t really remember which.  I could hardly breathe.  I couldn’t see for the smoke.” 

Cook suffered only minor injuries but the 1969 truck cab was a burned-out hulk and damage was estimated at $30,000.  John, the trailer and its cargo were unharmed.

John was nominated for the Dayton Truck Hero Award – presented annually to the Canadian trucker who performs the most heroic act.      

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