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How to save a life

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Keeping up with an active three-year-old is a handful for anyone, let alone a dad on one leg.

RCMP Constable Jim Moir is that dad. Late February 2, 2011, Moir was doing what he’s trained to do when he responded to a call near Yale, BC, of a car that had slid off the road during less than ideal driving conditions.

The 45-year-old had everything under control from the crash; a family of five travelling in a Dodge Ram truck hit a patch of ice before hitting the ditch. No one was injured, just a tad shaken up.

As Moir spoke with the driver’s 15-year-old daughter near the truck’s tailgate, a sanding truck approached trying to improve road conditions in an area that was now home to a few wayward vehicles sprawled across the road.

Like something out of the movies, the sanding truck also lost control and slammed into another truck that was sent careening into Moir and the girl.

Moir didn’t think, he acted.

Instinctually he grabbed the girl by the shoulders launching her out of harm’s way before the oncoming vehicle crashed into Moir, trapping him between two vehicles.

“I was about to get to the paperwork, then I just remember a bunch of people yelling and then I was pinned between the vehicles,” said Moir, nominated to the Vancouver Canucks Local Heroes program by his wife Erica.

“I remember the driver of the vehicle yelling ‘he’s trapped, he’s caught, everybody get over here’ and I remember looking down and wiggling my toes and thinking everything was okay.

“In all honesty, I don’t actually remember pushing her out of the way. I jokingly say I was pushing her out of the way just to get myself out of the way, but at the end of the day no one was killed. Unfortunately, not everyone walked away.”

Moir limped away and he’s still rehabbing from a fractured right leg. That, said Moir, is a small price to pay for having saved the young girl’s life; had he not stepped in and acted so heroically, RCMP believe the girl likely would have been struck in the mid-section and killed on scene.

The incident occurred before 1 a.m. the morning of February 3rd, 2011, and by the stroke of 9 a.m. – not eight hours later – Moir was already up and doing physiotherapy. Through the night he underwent a three-hour surgery where a plate and 12 screws were inserted into his leg.

The road to recovery has been arduous to say the least. He was unable to put weight on his leg for 13 weeks, leaving the 6-foot-4, 300-pound father to crutch around the house after his rambunctious son Aiden.

Like most tots, Aiden is full speed ahead, all the time.

“He’s much more active than the average kid,” laughed Moir. “It’s been a challenge, but I’d say my most humbling experience has been learning how to walk again. I’ve been like a bull in a china shop in the physio centre.”

The 20-year constable, who works Highway Patrol out of the Fraser Valley Traffic Services, ruptured an Achilles tendon in 1996 and he learned then that doing what the doctor says is the right way to go about things.

He’s still following doctor’s orders and it won’t be long before he’s back up and running, but a knee replacement is likely on the horizon and he’ll have to go through the physio process again.

Moir won’t soon forget the incident that saved a life and changed his, he has scars to remind him. He also has a Silver Medal for Bravery, which the RCMP bestowed upon him for his selfless act of courage.

Looking back, the whole situation makes Moir laugh. Call it destiny, call it fate, call it luck, but February 2nd is Moir’s birthday and he never works on his birthday.

That day, he did.

“Every year since I’ve worked for the RCMP I’ve always taken my birthday off, this year I worked for whatever reason. I guess this was just meant to be.”

“All things being equal, it certainly could have been a lot worse for everyone. I’m just glad I’ve had so much support through the public, my family and the RCMP.”

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