Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Guardian Angel of Highway 63

I have written a great deal about Highway 63, that road that connects us to the rest of the world. I have expressed sorrow over the deaths it has seen, and I have advocated for the twinning of it to prevent some of those tragedies. Today, however, is the first time I write about an unsung hero of that highway, the guardian angel of it perhaps. His name is Nathan.

I don't know Nathan's last name. I know a few bits and pieces about him, gleaned from the Facebook page that he built from nothing into over 22,000 followers. I know that he drives Highway 63 often in his work, and that keeping people from harm matters to him. I know he has invested countless hours in his Facebook page, a page that has likely saved lives with current road reports from someone on the highway and reporting from a point of knowledge and experience. I know that he ends every update with "remember, someone is expecting you home tonight", a gentle reminder of what we have to lose if we drive with inattention or recklessness.

I don't use the word hero lightly, and guardian angel is a term I have rarely used. I am not sure how else to describe Nathan, though, because I think he is both those things. He also has my respect and sincere appreciation, because as someone who uses social media both personally and professionally I know how time-consuming and occasionally difficult it can be. And yet on he goes, doing what he does, and very likely saving lives as he does it.

Nathan also writes a blog. While not a professional writer I think he does an excellent job expressing himself, and his most recent blog post blew me away so completely that I contacted him and asked if I could share it here. You see, I believe true strength lies not in bluster and swagger but in the ability to be vulnerable. I believe true heroes - true angels - are the ones who can share the dark sides of themselves and the dark corners they have seen. They are the ones who can rise above, inspire others and make us all want to soar.

Nathan is one of those individuals, perhaps one of the rarest of the rare. He went through a very dark period, one that began on a highway very similar to the highway over which he now stands guardian. I share his story with you today because Nathan is one of the unsung heroes. Today I would like to introduce you to Nathan, who has a last name I do not know, and who is the guardian angel of Highway 63.


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