Health and Safety: Faces Behind the Statistics Wendy-Ellen and Blaine Nittel

“Blaine rolled his pump truck and it doesn’t look good,” said the voice on the phone. The next call confirmed Wendy-Ellen Nittel’s worst fears: her son Blaine had died at the scene. Wendy-Ellen now wears Blaine’s high school graduation ring to keep him close. It’s always on her hand when Wendy-Ellen tells Threads of Life’s story at exhibitions and trade shows, and her own story at Speakers Bureau events.

Blaine Nittel was supposed to be the final thread in the Nittal family tapestry. His birth announcement read: “Bruce and Wendy-Ellen are pleased to announce the birth of their farmhand Blaine Bruce. Blaine will be assisting Nathan and Sharlynn as they ‘help’ Dad do the chores.”

Blaine intended to be the fourth generation working the family farm in Alberta. He and his father Bruce would often talk about their plans for the future. Instead, the young man died in a single vehicle collision while driving a pump truck to a well site near Manyberries, Alberta.

A 4-H bursary and a memorial bursary at his high school were created in Blaine’s memory, and Wendy-Ellen now wears Blaine’s high school graduation ring so that she can carry him with her wherever she goes — “always in my heart and usually on my right hand.”

Wendy-Ellen also honours Blaine as a Threads of Life’s Speakers Bureau member, and a Threads of Life representative at trade shows and exhibitions. She has also joined the Threads of Life board of directors, to be a representative for family members in guiding the organization.

Read more about Wendy-Ellen’s story on page 4 of the Summer 2014 newsletter.


You can help families like Wendy-Ellen’s, coping with the devastating impact of a traumatic fatality or other workplace tragedy. Here’s how:

Donate: your gift will directly support Canadian families affected by workplace fatalities, life-altering injuries and occupational disease
Designate: make Threads of Life your company’s Charity of Choice
Volunteer: help out with our annual Steps for Life walk – see www.stepsforlife.ca
Spread the word: let those who need help know where to find it.

If you or a loved one have experienced a traumatic fatality or other workplace tragedy, read about how Threads of Life can help you.