A Port Alberni teacher has been honoured for his quick actions during a fatal bus crash earlier this month.
Bruce Patterson, a unit chief for BC Emergency Health Services, presented a certificate of recognition to Alberni District Secondary School teacher Mike Roberts on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The certificate acknowledges the “critical role” Roberts played in a bus crash between Port Alberni and Bamfield on Sept. 13.
“That bus had a lot of people in it, and we didn’t have enough resources,” explained Patterson.
Port Alberni only has two ambulances available overnight at the local ambulance station. With some help from nearby communities, emergency crews were able to send a total of 10 ambulances to the crash scene, along with two helicopters from the Comox Valley 442 Squadron. This still wasn’t enough to transport the more than 40 passengers who were on board the overturned charter bus.
When Roberts heard the news of the crash, he drove out to the site in one of the ADSS athletic department’s “Armada” buses to help transport passengers either to West Coast General Hospital or the emergency reception centre set up in Port Alberni.
“We got a hold of Mike and another teacher, Dave Maher,” explained Patterson. “They came when we called and picked up 22 people. They drove [the bus] there and back.”
Maher, who is the principal at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre, has also received a certificate of recognition from BC Emergency Health Services.
Patterson says that the work that Roberts and Maher provided that night was “essential” for BC Emergency Health Services.
“To have people who are willing to drop everything at 10 o’clock at night, knowing that they’ll probably be awake all night,” said Patterson. “It’s very reassuring to me as a paramedic to know we have reliable people in the community.”
Roberts was surprised by the certificate on Tuesday during one of his classes at ADSS.
“[The recognition] wasn’t why I did it,” said Roberts. “That’s not why I do anything. I did it because it needed to be done.”
Roberts is the athletic director at ADSS, but also teaches Leadership courses and the Emergency Medical Responder program at the high school. For this reason, Patterson said that no paramedics were needed on the school bus on Sept. 13.
On Tuesday, ADSS vice principal Jeanette Badovinac also expressed her appreciation for Roberts’ actions.
“We’re really proud to have you as a role model for our kids,” she told Roberts.