“Those things you do to your family
and your co-workers when you’re
careless, those things last way longer
than the broken bones. The impact
on your loved ones is tremendous.”
– Eric Giguere
Valley Traffi c Systems
Servicing the Road Builder
Industry for Over 22 Years!
Road & Traffic Signs
Electronic Message boards
Portable Arrow boards
Portable Traffic Lights
Water Filled Barriers
Traffic Cones, Delineators
Solar Powered Signage
And Much More!
Giguere’s co-workers made the painstaking decision to use the
machine to remove about two feet of dirt and dug by hand from
there. It took 10 minutes to reach him.
those things never go away. My dad died when I was small and my grandfather
is my best friend; he was devastated. Those things you do to your
family and your co-workers when you’re careless, those things last way longer
than the broken bones. The impact on your loved ones is tremendous.”
Giguere still suffers nightmares about being buried alive, the weight of
the soil pressing down on him. It took him 11 years to swim again because
he didn’t want to hold his breath. He avoided parking garages and elevators
and hated the dark.
He’d always dreamed of becoming a New York State police officer and
went back to college after his physical recovery, earning the necessary credits.
He took the police exam and scored well but was ultimately declined.
He became depressed. Everything in his life was falling apart.
And then one day, he saw an opportunity.
“My lawnmower broke and I had no money. This guy down the road was
selling a push mower for $10. I went there to buy it and noticed his work
truck in the yard. He said he was the supervisor, so I told him what happened
to me and said if he ever wanted me to come and talk to his guys, I
would. He called me and I went in and told them my story. It just kind of
took off from there.”
Today, at age 44, Giguere is the owner of Safety Awareness Solutions, a
company he founded in 2006. He travels across the U.S. and Canada, telling
his story at conferences, tradeshows and construction industry gatherings.
He feels if he can reach just one person and persuade them to put safety
first, something good will have come from his ordeal.
“Telling my story is therapy for me,” said Giguere. “It’s my way of taking
a terrible thing and trying to turn it into a positive. I’m gone a lot; I’m
on the road a lot. I miss my family. But if just one person says they’re not
going to do that unsafe thing they did last week, if I could have that impact,
it would make everything I went through at the bottom of that trench
When he speaks, Giguere wears his boots, jeans and a work shirt. He is
the first to say he’s not a professional speaker. His “just one of us” appearance
enables him to connect with his audiences, but it’s his passion that really
drives the message home.
“I don’t want to be a ‘professional speaker.’ What I am is a guy who went
to work every day and who busted his ass eight, 10, 12 hours a day to make
a paycheque. But I’m the guy who got caught doing things the wrong way.”
“I was dead,” said Giguere, as his co-workers pulled him out of
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 4 2020 | Think BIG 43