His high school principal called him a leader, a fact confirmed by the C he wore on his hockey sweater as captain of his midget house league team.
His hockey coach called him irreplaceable and irresistible.
The Village of Lumby is trying to come to terms with the untimely death of Bradley Michael Thomas Haslam, 18, who was killed Saturday in an industrial accident while working at Tolko’s Lavington planer mill.
Haslam was working an overnight shift at the planer mill when he was found by co-workers severely injured. He was rushed by ambulance to Vernon Jubilee Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
Haslam graduated from Charles Bloom Secondary School in Lumby this month, taking part in the school’s grad festivities. Principal Ken Gatzke described Haslam as a “terrific student.”
“He was well loved by all students and staff,” said Gatzke. “He was a tremendous kid. All our kids are special but Brad certainly was a leader in our school and well loved in the community.”
Charles Bloom initiated its crisis response team Saturday and opened the school Sunday at 1 p.m. for any students that wanted to drop in. A full response team was at the school Monday.
“We’ll continue to be here supporting students, and we’ll do whatever we can to support families over the next days and weeks as necessary,” said Gatzke.
Kevin Porteous coached Haslam the last four years in Lumby Minor Hockey and simply described him as “awesome.”
“Brad was one of those kids everybody liked,” said Porteous. “He was the typical good athlete, the handsome guy all the girls liked and all the boys wished they were.
“He’s irreplaceable. He’s been the captain of the team the last three years. All of the kids looked up to him. I told the kids Brad was one of those guys you get as a coach that teaches you things.”
WorkSafe B.C. continues to investigate the incident, which is believed to have happened around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Jeff Dolan, WorkSafe B.C. director of investigations, said Monday that it’s believed to have been an unwitnessed event, and that Haslam was working on the main floor in the area of a waste conveyor.
“He came into contact with equipment in that area. As a result, he, very unfortunately, suffered fatal injuries,” said Dolan.
WorkSafe B.C. investigators spent upward of 16 hours on-site Saturday. They turned the site back to the employer but issued orders that the area specific to the incident was not to be operational until rendered safe.
Dolan called the investigation “a complex one.”
“Investigators collected significant amounts of evidence that they’re now analyzing,” he said. “The investigation will be completed as soon as possible.”
On its website, Tolko’s Rob Fraser, general manager for the Southern Interior, said the company was extremely saddened by the accident.
“We extend our sincerest sympathies to the family and loved ones,” said Fraser. “We are currently assisting WorkSafe B.C. and the B.C. coroners officer with the investigation of this unfortunate accident as well as conducting our own internal review.”
Tolko’s Employee and Family Assistance Program service provide will be available on-site to support crews as they return to work.