Widow thankful for support

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency



VANCOUVER - The widow of the bus driver who died shuttling five fellow drivers to their shifts during the 2010 Winter Olympics said she received a package containing a “You are our hero” banner, giant card and $250 in donations collected by Edison Transportation co-workers.

“I was just flabbergasted,” said Jeanette Roberge, thankful for the support of drivers, many whom she had never met.

Roberge, also an Olympic Bus Network driver, said she was treated well by Edison Transportation and Gameday Management after her husband Dale Roberge suffered a heart attack around 4:05 a.m. Feb. 22 near the Port Mann Bridge. Nobody from VANOC called to offer condolences, she added.

“Their priorities had to be to make sure everything went good for the competitors, and not worry about just a bus driver,” she said. “I didn’t expect to hear from them.”

All expenses, except for the 71-year-old’s pre-paid cremation, were covered. Gameday president Tony Vitrano told QMI that VANOC paid to ship the body to Minnesota. Roberge said she didn't know that until informed by a reporter.

Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili (Feb. 12 training crash) and Therese Rochette, mother of Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette (Feb. 21 heart attack), were the other Games-related deaths in February.

The RCMP didn't release Roberge’s name, claiming his family wanted privacy. Jeanette Roberge said the RCMP never asked her.

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