Tommy Raymond

There is something chilling about a phone ringing in the night, when social protocols generally decree an etiquette around acceptable hours of making calls. Our instincts automatically tell us that something is not right; that something must be very much out of order if someone feels compelled to get in touch with us outside of generally accepted calling hours.

Paulette Raymond had been sleeping when she groggily reached for her ringing phone. It was one of her sisters. She asked if Paulette was awake and then said, "Tommy's gone."

Struggling to process the situation, she thought, "Gone? Gone where?" What her sister was telling her about their brother, Tommy, was too incomprehensible to be real. She hung up the phone, pulled her knees to her chest and rocked back and forth on her bed, completely shattered by the impossible news and feeling as if she hadn't done her job as a big sister to protect her little brother.

Tommy Raymond worked as a foreman at a container pier in Bedford, Nova Scotia. He had been employed there for over 25 years. He loved his job and the friends who worked beside him every day.

On September 13, 2009, Tommy had been called in to work an extra shift. He was in the process of locking up some containers in the vicinity of a parked tractor trailer. Realizing the driver was preparing to leave, Tommy gave him the thumbs-up "all-clear" signal. Then the lock he was carrying fell out of his hand and rolled under the trailer. In a split-second decision to scoop out the lock with his foot, Tommy lost his balance and fell. In the meantime the driver, who was unaware of Tommy's predicament, started up his truck and began to pull away. Tommy died instantly underneath the wheels of the trailer.

There were 12 Raymond children, 11 of whom grieve their brother's death in their own way. The workplace tragedy that took their brother from them without warning, without a goodbye, has fundamentally changed each of them. Their family is incomplete and their hearts ache every day.