Steven Shorthouse pulled extra duty after last Tuesday’s snowstorm, but not in the way he expected.
A week ago on Tuesday, the town of Lincoln parks laborer was called in for plow duty after the mega-dump of snow dropped on West Niagara. As he turned his plow truck onto Frances Cres., which is in Beamsville not far from Hillary Bald Park, he noticed a snowblower running by itself in a driveway and an elderly man lying face down in the snow.
Shorthouse has worked for the town for three years. In the summer he does park maintenance. He also digs graves in the cemetery. In the winter he does maintenance for the town and is called in on occasion to drive a plow truck to clear town roads.
“So I stopped the truck and yelled out ‘Excuse me, are you ok!’ and there was no response. So I put my air brakes and hopped out…I got to him I rolled him over onto his side and he was unconscious,” he said.
The man came around and was confused. Shorthouse offered to help the man get up out of the snow. He lifted him into the garage and put him in a chair. Neighbors also ran over to help. They called 9-1-1 to summon an ambulance. His wife also came out from the house and spoke to the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
Shorthouse realized his truck was blocking the road so he gave his name to the neighbours, asked them to stay with the man and his wife until the ambulance arrived. Then he drove his big plow rig away.
“When I came back to go do a loop back the opposite way…the ambulance was there,” he said.
Niagara EMS took the man to the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. He was to have some tests on Wednesday but otherwise was uninjured by the snowy mishap, thanks to the heroic effort from Shorthouse.
Shorthouse, who trained in CPR as part of his job, said he doesn’t normally drive a plow in his job, “so that’s why I feel like everything happens for a reason,” he said. He added he was in the right place at the right time to help the man.
The superhero effort caught the attention of Mike Kirkopoulos, Lincoln’s Chief Administrative Officer, who called out the heroic act of service in a message to town staff: “I’d like to recognize Steve in Operations who stopped while on a truck while plowing in Beamsville last Tuesday morning to come to the aid of a neighbour who collapsed on his driveway while snow blowing…So thankful and proud to have staff like Steve on the Lincoln team who are doing their best to not just keep our roads clear from snow, but also look out for our community members.”