Republic Services Driver Comes to Aid of Injured Man
Phil Gaston is a truck driver with 24 years of experience at Republic Services, known locally as Allied Waste Services of Lynnwood. He’s also a proud Teamster, a member of Local 38 in Everett, Wash.
On February 29, 2012, midway through his route in Edmonds, Wash., Gaston noticed a man in distress. As Gaston climbed out of his truck to help, he saw that the man’s leg was bleeding profusely. The resident had cut an artery with box cutters while working in his garage.
“That’s when my instincts kicked in,” said Gaston, who took some first aid training about 30 years ago. He grabbed a roll of paper towels from the truck and started applying direct pressure to the man’s wound.
“I realized I wasn’t going to be able to apply enough pressure to slow the bleeding,” explained Gaston. “I had to move fast so I took the man’s belt and used it as a tourniquet.”
During the incident, the injured resident was on his cell phone to 911 operators. Gaston saw that the operators were having a difficult time pinpointing the location of the cell phone. The man appeared to be going into shock as he tried to give directions. Maintaining pressure on the wound, Gaston helped the 911 operator with directions to the location.
“I stayed with him until paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital,” Gaston said. “He later told me he’d cut himself seconds before I spotted him. It was pure coincidence.”
Gaston said he was lucky it was a wound he could get to and deal with, and lucky he remembered his training.
“I remember the [first aid] course well,” he said. “It was during meat cutting training 27 years ago; an industrial accident course.”
For saving the man’s life, Gaston has already received numerous commendations.
The local fire chief, Captain John Magee, contacted Gaston’s boss and told him Gaston had saved a man’s life while on his route. Magee conveyed the district’s appreciation for Gaston’s Good Samaritan act and for “going above and beyond the call of duty.”
In April, he was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Life Saving Award by VFW Post 1040.
“Going above and beyond the call of duty is normal for Teamsters, but Gaston’s actions stand out,” said Barry Lund, a Local 38 business agent who represents the Republic workers. “Gaston was not only in the right place at the right time, his quick thinking in an emergency saved someone’s life. I’m proud to call him my Teamster brother.