Kavanaugh commemorates employee with truck, $5K donation

Instead of the usual white and red, Kavanaugh Brothers has painted one of its waste trucks blue to commemorate an employee and raise awareness about cancer screening and prevention in the NWT. 

The truck, decorated in memory of Bruce Bourque, promotes the NWT Cancer Care website and Run For Our Lives, which raises money for cancer services in the NWT every year. Kavanaugh is also donating $5,000 to the cause. 

“Anybody that’s seeing this, please, please talk to your doctor, get screened early, educate yourself, be aware,” Bruce’s wife Helen said at the unveiling of the truck on Thursday. “Just inform yourself as much as you can. And if it saves one person’s life, that would be wonderful.” 


Bruce worked for the Yellowknife-based waste management company for 10 years, where he was known as a gentle giant. He primarily operated the front-load garbage truck. 

Helen said Bruce began experiencing symptoms two years ago. Last year, because of the pandemic, his doctor’s visits were delayed and he was only able to speak to a physician by phone. 

Bruce was diagnosed with cancer late last September. He passed away two weeks later. 

Bruce Bourque passed away in 2020, two weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

 “It was too late by then, and it should have been dealt with earlier,” Helen said. 


“Early detection, awareness, early screening is so, so important.”  

Cheryl Houweling of Kavanaugh Brothers said with a small staff, employees are like family. 

“When something like this happens, when you lose a family member, you can’t help but wonder what you could have done,” she said. “You just feel helpless.” 

“If it saves one person’s life, that would be wonderful,” said Helen Bourque. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

“We had a great relationship, he was always in my office,” Houweling said of Bruce. “I miss seeing him, the guys miss hearing him on the radio.” 

Yellowknifers can expect to see the truck on the road in the coming weeks.