A Fort Frances man is being called a hero after saving the lives of two Dryden girls following a single-vehicle crash on Highway 502 in the early-morning hours of Monday.
The teens were returning to Dryden from a pow-wow around 1:45 a.m. when the driver swerved to avoid a moose and rolled several times, ending up in a water-filled ditch.
Purolator courier Brian Godin was travelling south when he saw a girl emerge from the ditch near Oliver Creek.
The second girl still was trapped in the small car.
“The vehicle was about 15 feet below upside down in a little swampy area,” Godin recalled, noting he made sure both girls were okay before going to call for help.
The accident occurred in an area with no cellphone service, which Godin was aware of as he travels the road often.
“I knew I was going to have to drive up the highway a ways,” he remarked.
“Usually from that area it is a good 15-minute drive to use the phone, but that night I only drove for five minutes.
“And it ended up working in a spot where it never works,” Godin said, adding he had just finished telling the 9-1-1 operator their location when he lost service.
Godin then returned to the scene and helped free the one girl from the vehicle.
“I had a safety kit in the Purolator truck and was able to used the shovel to free the door,” he said.
“And then I had a utility tool and was able to cut the ground away and get most of her jacket off that was stuck,” he added, noting her arm was pinned between the frame and the ground.
Godin said he nearly had freed the girl when the OPP arrived on scene and took over.
He noted the girls were taken to hospital in Fort Frances with multiple injuries, including a broken vertebrae, three broken ribs, and some cuts and bruises.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” the mom of one of the girls wrote to Godin once she located him on Facebook.
“If it were not for you, who knows how long my daughter would have been in that ditch,” she noted.
“I know I’ve said already, and will continue forever, but you are truly my hero!
“And I think everyone needs to know what an unbelievably brave and heroic man you are,” she added.
“Words cannot express the amount of gratitude I am feeling!”
Godin is not new to being called a hero—he noted this was his fourth rescue in 10 years.
The others included saving a man drowning at the Point, giving CPR to a lady who had collapsed on the waterfront, and rescuing a man who was having a stroke while driving along King’s Highway.
“I don’t know why I keep getting put in these situations,” Godin remarked.
“Everything just ended up working out that night,” he said of Monday’s rescue, noting he had left Dryden earlier than usual that night.
Not only had he left Dryden nearly two hours earlier than usual, but the one girl came out of the ditch just in time for Godin to spot her.