Deep gratitude

Brett Lessard

Dear editor:
On the evening of Jan. 4, I was travelling on Highway 11 to my home in Bears Pass, east of Fort Frances, around 8 p.m.
As I rounded a significant right-hand curve, about one km east of Highway 502, my vehicle suddenly died and came to a stop barely off the road in the eastbound lane near the apex of the curve.
With no electrical power to activate my hazard lights, brake lights, or head lights, I was in a perilous situation. I instantly realized that traffic coming from behind would be upon me on this curve with no time to slow and avoid my vehicle.
My cellphone provided me with a 9-1-1 dispatcher, who then dispatched an OPP officer from Fort Frances. However, I knew that in order to stay safe in this situation over the next 30-40 minutes, I would have to rely on the assistance of a passing motorist.
Several empty pulp trucks heading east missed my vehicle by what seemed like mere feet as I waited inside to utilize what little warmth was now left. Regrettably, I was not prepared with extra warm clothing (i.e., heavier hat, gloves) or I would have awaited the arrival of emergency services a safe distance walk away from my vehicle.
I decided to exit each time a motorist passed in an attempt to summon immediate help. Freezing disappointment came as the 10th vehicle slowed and passed—despite having seen me waving both arms on the side of the road.
I retreated to my vehicle—now formidably cold. A minute later, my frosted windows became aglow and a vehicle approached from behind, passed, and then pulled over in front of me. The driver introduced himself as off-duty Treaty #3 Police officer Rene Pitremont, who happened to be in his personal vehicle and heading home in the area. He immediately helped me into the warmth of his vehicle and then retreated to a safe distance behind mine with his hazard lights on in order to warn approaching motorists of my nearly invisible and abandoned vehicle up ahead.
Upon the arrival of OPP officer Kevin Orchard, I then was brought to my vehicle to retrieve my belongings and speak to the tow truck driver who had now arrived. Rene, meanwhile, was standing near his vehicle a ways back, warning approaching motorists of the dangers around the next curve.
Officer Orchard then brought me back to Rene, who had so kindly offered to drive me the rest of the way to my home on Wreck Point Road.
I want to thank Officer Orchard personally for his kindness and professionalism in dealing with my situation that night. As well, I would like the community to especially recognize Officer Pitremont, who not only provided me with warmth, shelter, and safety while off-duty, but very well may have prevented a calamity of great proportions involving myself and other motorists.
His actions were of great thought and kindness, and in my opinion he deserves a smile and a nod from all who read this. He even helped carry in my groceries.
Brett Lessard
Bears Pass, Ont.