Photo: Paul Van Hooydonk

In Memory of “The King of the Road”

The towing industry recently lost a legendary towing professional and great man, Alan Eadie. Our team at Tow Canada has lots of great memories of him and mourns his loss. “Alan was a wonderful person, I looked forward to our time at the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO) Tow Show and American Towman. He would always take time to sit at our Tow Canada booth and talk us about his stories as a towman,” reminisced Tow Canada‘s Associate Publisher Carol McNeil-Gardner.

Over his long career, Eadie earned the respect of his fellow towers, local first responders, and became well-known in the industry throughout Canada and the United States. One of the many accolades he received was the Tow Canada‘s first-ever Driver of the Year award in 1999. Back then, Eadie, who drove for Comtow in Toronto, Ontario, emerged the clear winner because of his dedication to training and single-mindedness to do the job in the most professional was possible.

In his memory, we have pulled Rosalyn Broughm’ nomination for Driver of the Year, featured in the spring 2000 issue of Tow Canada magazine.

Alan Eadie (second from the left) at Tow Canada’s booth during 2015 American Towman Exposition

Alan Eadie of Comtow, Toronto,
Nominated by Rosalyn Broughm

I always like to take advantage of an opportunity to give any recognition to any of the drivers/operators in the towing industry. There are many professional drivers/operators that deserve more recognition than they receive; however it just so happens that I have known one really well for the last nine years.

I believe one of the key questions that you are asking is, “What did this driver do to elevate himself above the rest of the class?” I believe that this cannot be measured properly by just looking at the year of 1999. Instead, I believe that the culmination of striving and achieving for over 25 years in this business has resulted in this man not only elevating himself above the rest of his class, but he helps others to do the same.

The operator has to come to work, day in, day out, night in and night out, without holidays on a regular basis, always in a clean uniform, which he constantly preaches to other operators at every opportunity. Anyone that works with him on his crew will be in uniform appropriate to the job. His only holidays in the time that I have known him, and as I understand it before I knew him, are a couple of days each and every year for the local Ontario Tow Show and Baltimore Tow Show. This year at Tow Show ’99 in Collingwood put on by the Provincial Towing Association, he won second prize in the heavy wrecker beauty con­test with a new 40-ton rotator. He previ­ously has taken several awards, usually first place, with a much older wrecker, as he takes great pride in keeping his truck clean and in good working order.

He is devoted, diligent, and professional and has earned the reputation and respect of his peers, other towers, as well as local police departments, fire departments, and environmental depart­ments.”

In August 1999, he participated in an emergency rescue public demonstra­tion put on by the Nova Scotia Towing Society in Halifax. He helped in the overall planning stages of this event, as well as organizing and instructing emergency rescue and recovery scenar­ios for the towing industry’s portion of the event. There was an excellent turn­out supporting the event from the tow­ing industry’s from three different provinces, together with the RCMP, heavy rescue fire departments, as well as emergency hazmat personnel to not only educate each other, but also the general public on what their roles are in emergency situations.

In 1999 he provided ongoing train­ing in air cushion recovery for other drivers in the company where he was the heavy recovery supervisor.

He participated as a member of the Ontario Recovery Group in a fire res­cue propane tanker recovery with local fire departments at a trade show in the Greater Toronto Area.

During 1999, in addition to the reg­ular towing calls, he successfully dealt with 31 major tractor-trailer crashes with varying degrees of challenges, including fatalities; he has successfully recovered 22 tractor trailer rollovers including tankers, chemicals and hazardous goods, as far away as Sault Ste. Marie. The most traumatic of these was a cry for help over the scanner one night by a couple of OPP officers in trouble; a tractor trailer had sideswiped their cruiser. This operator jumped into his truck and rolled to the scene to lift the truck off their cruiser, only to find with relief that they were not under a truck. His relief was short-lived and he found his best friend’s body laying in lane two of the 401, killed by the trac­tor trailer driver while he was hooking up an impaired on a “first available” call from the OPP. Although this inci­dent happened in October 1998, he has had to revisit that terrible accident scene on more than one occasion to take care of regular business with other tow calls of a lesser nature. Articles have been written about him in several magazines and newsletters. On a com­munity note, he regularly participates in his local Santa Claus parade promoting “Don’t Drink & Drive.”

These are only a few of the most recent events and accolades I can attest to that are a part of this man’s life. He is devoted, diligent, and professional and has earned the reputation and respect of his peers, other towers, as well as local police departments, fire departments, and environmental depart­ments. He is well known in the industry throughout Canada and the United States. On one occasion he got a tele­phone call from a professional in England who had heard good things of him. Towing is in his blood and has become a way of life for this man. His name is Alan Eadie.