Monday, December 17, 2007

clear conscience?

a preventable tragedy?

'Good Samaritan' dies shovelling


The Hamilton Spectator

(Dec 17, 2007)

A retired steelworker died of an apparent heart attack yesterday while shovelling the sidewalk of his snow-clogged East Hamilton street.

Wayne Hastings, 60, collapsed near his Cambridge Avenue home and had no vital signs when paramedics arrived about 2:40 p.m.

Emergency Medical Services co-ordinator John Verbeek said his death was the only local tragedy associated with yesterday's storm, which dumped about 24 centimetres of snow on the Steel City and reduced road traffic to a trickle for most of the day.

Linda Hastings said her husband started clearing the sidewalk about 8:30 a.m. and took four breaks during the course of the day. She had offered to help him but he insisted on doing it himself.

He always shovelled the sidewalk "from corner to corner" -- as well as neighbours' driveways -- during heavy storms so his wife could get around.

"He did it for me. I have a bad leg. I can't walk a lot in snow," said Linda, who works at Hamilton General Hospital.

At some point, somebody appeared at her door and alerted her that Hastings was lying on the sidewalk.

When she found him, she wasn't able to find a pulse. As the fire hall is just around the corner on Kenilworth Avenue North, it didn't take the paramedics long to get to the scene despite the unplowed street.

Linda said her husband had kept physically active since retiring from Dofasco four years ago. In summer, he cleared the weeds along the street because he took pride in its appearance.

Jeannette Dedrick, who lives a few houses away, described Hastings as a "Good Samaritan" -- he always offered to shovel neighbours' driveways.

"Being a Good Samaritan doesn't always pay off," she said.

But Linda believes her husband died doing what he liked to do.

Helping people.

plegall@thespec.com 905-526-3385

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