Paraparaumu Truckie Wins 2012 Highway Hero Award
24 January 2013
Paraparaumu Truckie Wins 2012 Highway Hero Award For Saving Toddler
Being deemed a hero was the last thing on truck driver Dennis Roderick’s mind when he instinctively slammed on his brakes and scooped a toddler wandering across SH1 out of harm’s way in February last year.
Yet the Paraparaumu grandfather’s brave actions fitted the bill perfectly, to see him crowned 2012’s Supreme Beaurepaires Highway Hero over four other impressive nominees in Wellington today – an event made more special by a joyful reunion with the little young boy for the first time.
“You’re a bit heavier now mate,” said Dennis, as he gave Liam Adamson, now aged 2, a hug.
Dennis was driving about 40kmh along Mana Esplanade, north of Porirua, when he saw Liam just metres in front of him attempting to cross four lanes of traffic. He swung his 20m-long truck and trailer across both southbound lanes to prevent the toddler being run over, leapt out of his cab and picked up the boy.
Dennis carried the 16-month-old safely to the roadside verge, where his distraught mum, Michelle Barr, soon appeared. Dennis handed over the tot before jumping back in his truck and driving away, as he didn’t want to hold up traffic.
“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said Dennis, who was touched by the recognition.
The family had called Mr Roderick, an owner-driver for Fastway Couriers, to thank him, but today was the first time they had met in person.
“We’re just so grateful that our son is here today – and that’s thanks to you Dennis,” said Liam’s father Jason Adamson at the presentation.
NZ Police national roading manager superintendent Carey Griffiths saluted Dennis’ heroic actions when he presented him with the Beaurepaires Highway Heroes trophy and a cheque for $5000.
“Despite the recognition he received from acquaintances, Dennis said ‘it didn’t seem like I was doing much,’” said supt. Griffiths.
“Dennis, I know that you did the ultimate thing in saving that child from likely death. I believe you can’t put a value on a life and I am sure his parents share that thought with me.”
Representatives from programme sponsors and supporters – Beaurepaires NZ, NZ Police, NZ Transport Authority and Fairfax NZ – judged this year’s award, which recognises acts of bravery, heroism or humanity performed by professional truck, bus and coach drivers in the course of their work.
“The Highway Heroes legacy is an impressive one,” said Beaurepaires NZ director of sales and marketing Campbell Gough. “Since its inception in 2000, more than 120 commercial drivers have been nominated and recognised publically for their often selfless acts to help others. While it’s not always the case, many of these drivers do so at some risk to themselves.
“It is by virtue of their day-to-day job that commercial drivers find themselves involved with incidents on our roads, so few consider their actions heroic – a trait common to most heroes. However, their actions and quick thinking invariably protect the wellbeing of other road users and Beaurepaires is proud to recognise the contribution these men and women make to helping keep others safe.”
other nominees were of a high calibre and included drivers
from Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, Alexandra and
High resolution photos attached to email
Caption: Truck driver Dennis Roderick is presented with a cheque for $5000 from NZ Trucking.
From left to right: Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres (NZ) national sales manager Campbell Gough, Dennis and national road policing manager superintendent Carey Griffiths
Caption: Truck driver Dennis Roderick, right, is reunited with Liam Anderson, 2, who he saved when the child wandered out onto State Highway 1 last year. Liam's parents, Jason Adamson and Michelle Barr, look on.
Caption: Supporters of the Beaurepaires Highway Hero award with Dennis Roderick, Liam Adamson and his parents
From left to right: Liam’s father Jason Adamson, Goodyear & Dunlop Tyres (NZ) national sales manager Campbell Gough, Dennis Roderick holding Liam Adamson, national road policing manager superintendent Carey Griffiths and Liam’s mother, Michelle Barr.
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