Kelowna man recognized for heroic act in saving a life

Recognized for heroism

Rod Tribiger doesn't consider himself a hero.

The man whose life he saved from a burning truck on Postill Lake Road earlier this summer may disagree.

Tribiger was one of five people in attendance at the Westbank Lions Community Centre Friday afternoon to receive medals from the Royal Canadian Humane Association for their acts of bravery to save a life.

"Not really," said Tribiger when asked he felt he was a hero. "I think anyone in that scenario would have done the same thing, including you."

It was the evening of July 20 and Tribiger was patrolling the Postill Lake Road area as he has done numerous times as a volunteer with the Okanagan Forest Task Force when he came upon a truck on fire.

"It was fully engulfed with flames. It had a little utility trailer and that was fully engulfed." said Tribiger recalling the events.

"It didn't even occur to me that there could be someone in there. I thought it was just an abandoned vehicle so I'm videoing this.

"The inside of the box of the truck was on fire by that time and I something just hit me like, 'I wonder if there is someone in there.'"

Tribiger says he opened the door and found a man asleep inside the vehicle. He says the man had reclined his seat back...he was totally out.

"I had to shake him to wake him up. He wasn't drunk, he wasn't on drugs or anything, he was just in a very deep sleep. I grabbed him off about 20 yards and we just sat and watched it burn."

Tribiger says he did think about his own safety momentarily, saying the tires were blowing at the time and there was a propane tank in the back that was emitting about a six foot flame.

"I was a bit edgy walking up to it but you don't think about that kind of stuff then."

Tribiger says he drove the man, who he described as falling on hard times, into town, got him a meal and got him set up for the night.

The Royal Canadian Humane Association is the oldest association in the country, established by Queen Victoria in 1894.

"Today, it's purpose is to provide meaningful recognition to those persons who, through their alertness, skill and concern bring the saving of life, especially where those actions lie outside the ordinary duties of the person involved," the association states.

Tribiger was the recipient of a bronze medal, granted when a recipient has shown extraordinary disregard for personal safety in saving or attempting to save a life.

He was one of 20 individuals scheduled to receive recognition, however only five were able to attend.

Among those not in attendance was Aiden Godwin, an off duty lifeguard at Green Bay Bible Camp, who saved an unconscious woman after her boat sank in July of 2022.

BC United party MLA Elenore Sturko was also recognized after she disarmed a knife-wielding man in a White Rock cafe.

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