An Oxford County family got a chance to say thank you to a stranger who may have saved their lives.

A Mississauga truck driver was honoured by the Red Cross on Tuesday for going out of his way to help when he spotted a barn on fire while travelling along the 401.

It was around two in the morning on July 22nd when, after spotting the blaze, 25-year-old Roman Wasyl Gobosz pulled his truck to the side of the highway, called 911 and then started making his way to the farm. 

He crossed through a ditch, hopped a fence and ran through a field to the home. With flames fully engulfing the barn just metres away, and explosions going off, Gobosz managed to alert the family inside the home and helped get them to safety.

Gobosz says of that night, “No one was stopping, and maybe the fire would have got to the house...maybe it wouldn’t. Who knows? But it’s better that we don’t know.”

In the end, 110 cattle perished in the fire and the 150-year-old barn was destroyed, but farm owner Clarence Markus is just grateful someone was there for his family.

“We value our cattle tremendously, but all my family was alive. Everyone survived and, in the end, all the things we did lose, as sad as it was…all that was replaceable and my family wouldn’t have been.”

Gobosz has been given the Canadian Red Cross Life-Saving Award, which acknowledges the efforts of citizens who go out of their way to save lives.

In giving Gobosz the award, the Red Cross’ Kelly Farrell said, “That’s remarkable, at two in the morning, to take the time and do that for a stranger.”

The Markus family is rebuilding the dairy barn and plan an official re-opening next July; exactly one year after the fire.  The guest of honour on that day will be Roman Wasyl Gobosz.