How a firefighter taking the ‘scenic route home’ saved the life of a N.S. man


The scenic route. That’s what brought a New Brunswick volunteer firefighter to a rural highway in Alton, N.S. — where he would help save the life of a man on his way to a wedding. It was Aug. 13, 2022. Troy Burke, who is a first aid trainer and a decade-long member of the Cocagne Fire Department, had travelled to Halifax to pick up a boat that was under repair.The boat, it turns out, wasn’t ready and he was admittedly “quite upset.”“I took the highway home and decided, you know what, I’m just going to exit off the next exit that I see and I’m just going to take the scenic route home,” he recalled.“I don’t know Nova Scotia very well. So I decided to take the scenic route and I came across Brandon, who was laying on the side of the road.” Story continues below advertisement Brandon Maloney — a husband, father and Sipeknekatik Band councillor — was on his way to his sister’s wedding with the groom.Maloney had been riding his motorcycle along with the wedding party when he was involved in a T-bone accident with another vehicle.“(The impact) sent me about 100 yards into another guy’s yard,” said Maloney. “Kind of ripped my leg off on the spot. So I just tried to stop the blood with a belt and some towels, but it wasn’t really working well.”Looking back, Maloney said he “almost gave up” at that point. The home’s owner, Greg Harris, had come running out to help but there was nothing they could do to stop the bleeding.“I kind of laid back and just thought to myself, ‘Here you go. I’m going to die on the side of the road today.’” Volunteer firefighter Troy Burke came across the motorcycle accident that left Brandon Maloney seriously injured in August 2022. Provided/Troy Burke That’s when Burke appeared. Story continues below advertisement “He kind of approached and let me know that he was first aid and kind of just put his hands down my pants,” Maloney said, taking a moment to laugh at the memory.“And just gave me a warning and pinched off the artery.”Burke remembered the moment well too.“It was kind of funny saying, ‘You know, I’m going to have to put my hand down your pants.’ And he just said, ‘Don’t let me die here,’” said Burke.“I was lucky enough to find the artery in all that mess. And I just pinched it and it was like an elastic trying to pull my hand back in. And I knew that if I were to let go, that I wouldn’t get a second chance. So with all my might, I held on for as long as I could.” Trending Now He said he has no idea “why I did what I did.”“I’m not trained in that type of stuff. You know, we’re trained to put on tourniquets and hope for the best,” he said.“I was in my personal car with a limited first aid kit, so I just did with what I had to work with, and unfortunately, that was just my hands.” Story continues below advertisement Both men recalled Burke held on to the artery for 30 to 40 minutes — or what felt “like a year,” according to Burke. All the while, a crowd of well-dressed wedding guests looked on.Eventually, the paramedics arrived and Maloney was airlifted to hospital, where he went through surgeries and infections.He lost part of his left leg. Brandon Maloney underwent several surgeries in hospital following the collision. Provided/Brandon Maloney Maloney didn’t get Burke’s name, and Burke went home to Shediac River, N.B., and never knew what happened to the man he found on the side of the road.“It was always on my mind,” admitted Burke.For six months, Burke had no idea if that man lived or died. After a while, he assumed the worst. Story continues below advertisement Thanks to the power of social media, he now knows.‘We’re going to be great friends’This week, Maloney decided he would seek out the stranger who suddenly appeared that August day.“I guess some people it takes a little bit to talk about things and I woke up a couple of days ago and I was like, ‘Man, I should really find this guy.”He made a public Facebook post about his search, and thousands of shares later, he found Burke in just 24 hours.“It worked. I mean, I woke up to a lot of people (messaging me). It was a heartwarming story, and I was so happy to know that he made it through this ordeal,” said Burke. Brandon Maloney was injured and ended up losing part of a leg after a motorcycle collision in August 2022. He credits volunteer firefighter Troy Burke for saving his life. Megan King/Global News The two chatted on the phone, and both men said they were overwhelmed. Story continues below advertisement “(What happened to Maloney) always sat in the back of my mind and now just realizing that he has a family and that he’s a good person involved in the community who builds houses for people, it doesn’t get better than that. We need as many good people in the world as we can (get),” said Burke.The volunteer firefighter was also curious whether that wedding went ahead. It did, according to Maloney. He insisted upon it.In the months since the accident, Maloney has been recuperating and adjusting to life. He said he wants to maintain a positive outlook on life and remain active, whether it be hunting or attending his children’s sporting events.“The little things in life really mean a lot now,” he said.He’s also grateful to Burke and Harris for helping to save him, and plans to invite the men to a special event this August to mark one year since his near-death experience.After all, he said, he wants to “celebrate it, instead of letting it take us down.”Finding Burke, he said, was a great first step.“It was almost a little bit of closure for him and a little bit of stepping stone of closure for me,” said Maloney. Story continues below advertisement “I’m sure we’re going to be great friends.”— with a file from Global News’ Megan King

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