BY KEITH LACEY
In peaceful Wahnapitae, a woman is fighting her own private war waiting and worrying about her husband who is working in Iraq.
Joanne Bradshaw, 47, says she didn't think her husband,
Loren, 48, would be placing his life in danger when he accepted
a job driving a transport truck in Iraq 18 months ago or she
would never have agreed to let him go. He works for a trucking
firm out of Houston, Texas.
"When he took the job, he wanted my support and assured me
he'd be safe, so I believed him and didn't worry too much,"
Her husband has come perilously close to being seriously
injured or killed during two frightening incidents over the
past few months.
Last week, Bradshaw garnered national media attention after
she released a videotape sent to her by her husband where he
and fellow American civilians were attacked by Iraqi insurgents
outside of Baghdad.
The video showed bullets flying past the truck being operated by Loren.
He is yelling for a convoy of truck drivers to go around a
truck that had broken down while insurgents were firing bullets
The video and an interview with Bradshaw was played across
the country on the CTV National News late last week. She's also
talked to reporters with CNN, CBC Radio and numerous other
The terrifying incident took place last September, but the
American military didn't want it released. It only became
public after Bradshaw's husband sent her the video last week.
In another incident last year, a truck Bradshaw's husband
was driving in Iraq "was totally blown up" by a roadside bomb.
"He told me it was almost a miracle he wasn't killed as his
truck was engulfed in flames...The army got there in time to
get him out, and he was dodging bullets while being rescued.
"When I finally got to talk to him, he told me everything
was OK and not to worry and it was just a fluke...he assured me
it wasn't going to happen again, but it did."
She is able to talk to her husband for 15 minutes each
evening, and she made the decision a long time ago to not show
weakness or how much she misses him. Instead she tries to
cheer him up and discuss positive things. Loren is the
stepfather to her two children. ages 21 and 19.
"He's having a tough time over there because he's seen a lot
of death and it's really starting to get to him, so when he
phones, he likes to talk about how I'm doing and how the kids
are and good things in his life," said Bradshaw. "I don't want
him to know how worried I am because I don't want to be
"I send him jokes and e-mails I hope can make him laugh...he
has a great sense of humour, but he's lost a lot of that since
going over there," she said.
Joanne is a Micmac Indian who makes a living creating and
selling native arts and crafts at trade shows, country fairs
and festivals in Canada and the United States.
Originally from the small Northern Ontario community of
Folyet, she met Loren, an American, several years ago in
Michigan. He pulled over to assist her when her car broke down
on a back road.
"He helped me and we went to a coffee shop waiting for the
tow truck and hit if off and exchanged numbers," she said.
They kept in touch over the phone and Internet for more than a year.
They met again when she attended a powwow in Michigan.
"We met again and it was instant (love)," she said. "I spent
that weekend at his place, and a couple of months later I moved
in with him and we've been together ever since."
They got married five years ago in Michigan and two years
ago they moved to Wahnapitae because her daughter became
ill.  They bought a house on the shores of the Wanapitei
Lorne took the job in Iraq after hearing details about job
openings from fellow transport truck drivers.
Except for two three-week leaves last September and during
Christmas, Bradshaw hasn't seen her husband since he started
working in Iraq 18 months ago.
As part of his contract with the American government, Loren
is not allowed to tell her what he's transporting.
"He's not allowed to tell me, and I really don't want to
know anyway...I just want him to be safe and that's obviously
difficult to do in such a dangerous situation," she said.
Of the 12 civilians caught in the frightening firefight last
September, 10 have quit their jobs and returned to the United
States. Only her husband and one of his friends remains, said
Even though her husband is applying to become a Canadian
citizen, he's a proud American who took the job because he
strongly believes in the cause to bring democracy to Iraq, she
"He took the job because...he saw what that country did to
its people, especially women and children, and wanted to go
there because he honestly believes one person can make a
difference," she said.
"He served six years in the marines, and he knew what he was
getting into. (He) convinced me going there was something he
just had to do."
Watching the videotape was shocking and disturbing.
"I just broke down and started crying...when you see the man
you love getting shot at and it looks like he might be killed,
it's obviously very upsetting."
She hopes she can convince her husband to stay home when he
returns for his next stint of rest and recreation in September.
"This has all been a bit overwhelming and I just want him to come home and stay home," she said.
Her husband has plans for a much quieter lifestyle when he
finally does return home for good.
"He wants to sit down on our dock here on the river and do some fishing for at least a month," she said. "He said he doesn't want to worry about paying bills or money and just wants to buy a bass boat and take me and the kids fishing."