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Farm worker thanks the man who saved his life

Date

2010-06-08

Authors

Monique Beech

Abstract

Bert Wervers trembles ever so slightly as he enters the hospital room Thursday morning.

It's been just over three weeks since he saw farm worker Trinidad Mendieta. Last time, the 34-year-old San Jose, Mexico native was lying on North Service Rd. in Beamsville, blood seeping from his severed leg.

Newspaper title

The Tribune

Full text

HAMILTON — Bert Wervers trembles ever so slightly as he enters the hospital room Thursday morning.

It's been just over three weeks since he saw farm worker Trinidad Mendieta. Last time, the 34-year-old San Jose, Mexico native was lying on North Service Rd. in Beamsville, blood seeping from his severed leg.

The tractor he had been driving had just collided with a car. Wervers and two others ran from their own vehicles to help. The 58-year-old Vineland man used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the blood flow — an action Niagara Regional Police say saved Mendieta's life.

Three weeks later, Wervers needs closure. He says he needs to be sure he did the right thing. That the father of three boys is OK.

But he doesn't know what to expect as he enters that Hamilton General Hospital room where Mendieta has been ever since the May 18 accident.

"You don't know what he's going to say or how he's going to act," says Wervers, a sturdy grandfather of seven.

"He didn't really sleep last night," confides Wervers' wife, Maureen.

Slowly, Wervers, Maureen and translator Alexes Barillas make their way to the trauma wing.

Mendieta's shared room is dark.

Mendieta is groggy. He was in a coma when he arrived in hospital but has since recovered. His speech is back.

He looks thin under the blue hospital blanket. A bump where his left leg used to be pokes out from the covers. His left arm is in a brace after it was broken in three places.

Barillas, a national representative with the United Food & Commercial Workers Canada, relays in Spanish who the strangers are in the room.

A smile spreads under Mendieta's moustache.

A series of 'gracias, gracias' (thank you, thank you) comes from his lips.

"I'm sorry. I don't remember your face," Mendieta says to Wervers.

Through the translator, Mendieta tells Wervers he remembers being hit from behind. He recalls the tractor rolling several times before he was thrown from it.

"Everything is still blurry," Mendieta said.

"I just remember flying through the air and everything falling on top of me."

The 34-year-old says he's grateful to be alive. He's happy Wervers was at the right place at the right time.

"I thank God and you, because you were there at the right time and place when I needed them the most," Mendieta says.

Still, it's been a struggle. He has regular physiotherapy. He's in pain. But he's keeping his spirits up and is focusing on the future.

Mendieta's employer, the Warner family, come for regular visits. So do his relatives who live in Ontario. His wife and three children are back in Mexico, but Mendieta hopes to get visas so the family can move here permanently.

He says he's grateful to receive medical care in Canada, where government insurance covers foreign agricultural workers. That wouldn't be the case in his home country.

"God may have taken part of my body but he left the most important thing which is my life," Medieta says.

After leaving the room, Wervers releases a deep sigh.

He knows Mendieta is OK. He did the right thing.

"Did you see him?" Maureen says as the couple waits for the elevator.

"He's very good. You do what you need to do at the time and a lot of times you don't get to see the results. This time you did. And he looked good, doesn't he?"

Niagara Regional Police plan to recognize Wervers for his heroic actions.

A trust fund is set up at the CIBC in the name of Jamie Warner in trust for Trinidad Mendieta.

Links

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Ontario and México

Languages

English