My Hero in the News

Hero truck driver inspiration behind essay by Innisfil boy

by Ian McInroy
The Barrie Examiner

Innisfil truck driver David Virgoe is still being hailed a hero almost a year after he was killed in a horrific Highway 400 crash.

Gabriel Zepeda, a Grade 5 student at Goodfellow Public School, thinks Virgoe is a hero for his actions that day last June, which police and witnesses say saved the lives of many motorists on the busy roadway. Virgoe is credited with intentionally steering his rig off the road after being involved with three alleged street racers. Zepeda wrote about him for a class project titled My Hero and sent a copy of it, along with a note, to the truck driver's widow, Debbie Virgoe.

"I got this letter from a little kid, and it got my heart. I thought, 'Oh my God. I have to talk to him,'" she said yesterday after visiting with Zepeda at the school.

He knows that street racing is a bad thing to do and he's not even driving yet, she said.

"It's really important this message is getting to kids his age who can see the stupidity of what's happening out there. It's amazing that it's coming back to that age group," Virgoe said.

"They are very open-minded, because they haven't been behind the wheel trying to impress someone. They are learning a positive message that it is a privilege to drive, it's not a right. In another five years, he could be driving and he's already on the path of thinking how bad street racing, speeding and drinking and driving are," she added.

While many of the students picked movie stars or other high-profile people, Zepeda wrote about someone he thought had the makings of a true hero.

"I decided to do this because instead of doing it on a star, I wanted to do it on somebody who had saved peoples' lives," Zepeda said. "Street racing is not good at all. It's very dangerous. People are getting killed every day because of it.

"I just want to tell you what Mr.Yirgoe did isn't just noticed by adults. It's also noticed and appreciated by children," he said in his note to Debbie Virgoe, adding that her efforts to stop street racing and speeding are also appreciated.

"I just want to thank you for what you are doing to get laws passed to stop these people. You, too, are a hero. I will never forget what Mr. Virgoe did. He has touched so many peoples' lives. God bless you and your family," Zepeda wrote.

Virgoe said she was impressed with the youngster's writing.

"It was all the detail he had in it and how the accident could touch a family and for him to think of David," she said. "David was always worried about the way people conducted themselves on the road.

"When they told me (he was a hero), it didn't surprise me at all. It's what David would've done," she added.

To read Zepeda's essay, visit

Contact the writer at [email protected]

Page created on 10/12/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 10/12/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Read the press release as a PDF copy
David Virgoe on MY HERO - Read Gabriel Zepeda's essay on his hero David Virgoe

Author Info

Friday, May 23rd, 2008
The Barrie Examiner
Ontario, Canada

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