Governor General announces the awarding of 11 Bravery Decorations
September 1, 2009
OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today the awarding of 11 Decorations for Bravery. The recipients will be invited to receive their decorations at a ceremony to be held at a later date.
The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972. The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; and the Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
A list of recipients (Annex A) and their citations (Annex B), as well as a fact sheet on the Bravery Decorations (Annex C), are attached.
ANNEX A - RECIPIENTS OF THE MEDAL OF BRAVERY
ANNEX B – CITATIONS
Terry Bratton, M.B., Verdun, Quebec
On January 13, 2008, Terry Bratton jumped into the St. Lawrence River to rescue a four-year-old boy who had fallen into the water trying to retrieve a ball, in Verdun, Quebec. Alerted by the child’s screams, Mr. Bratton did not hesitate to run to his rescue. He entered the freezing water and swam against the current to reach the boy in the middle of the river. With great difficulty, he managed to get him to shore. Thanks to Mr. Bratton’s quick actions, the boy survived and celebrated his fourth birthday that same day.
Dean R. DeJoseph, M.B., Windsor, Ontario
On December 3, 2007, Dean DeJoseph helped several people escape their burning house, in Windsor, Ontario. Driving by the residence, Mr. DeJoseph noticed smoke billowing from the back of the house. He ran to the scene, where several people advised him that others were still inside. Mr. DeJoseph went in through the front door, located one woman and escorted her outside. He then grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed the flames in the kitchen, retreating several times to get some fresh air. As the fire services arrived, all the other occupants had safely escaped.
Norbert Hébert, M.B., Lacolle, Quebec
On November 11, 2007, Norbert Hébert rescued a teenage girl who was trapped inside a burning mobile home, in Lacolle, Quebec. Alerted to the fire, he ran to assist and was advised that the girl was still in her bedroom, unable to open the window. He broke the window and tried in vain to pull the unconscious girl out. Others then arrived with a ladder, which allowed Mr. Hébert to enter the room, pick the girl up, and pass her to waiting hands outside.
Shawn Joseph Lahey, M.B., Kilbride, Newfoundland and Labrador
On January 3, 2006, correctional officer Shawn Lahey rescued a colleague who was being attacked by an inmate, in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The victim had been working in the segregation area when a prisoner jumped on him and held a shank to his neck. The victim grabbed onto the prisoner’s arm and called out to Mr. Lahey who immediately ran to his colleague’s aid. Mr. Lahey fought off the prisoner and quickly gained control of the struggling man. For several minutes, he and the victim then held the man down until other officers arrived to contain the situation.
Alexis Laliberté, M.B., Montreal, Quebec
On November 11, 2007, Alexis Laliberté rescued two children from the cold waters of the St. Lawrence River, in Verdun, Quebec. Walking by the river, Mr. Laliberté heard the children’s cries and saw the victims disappear under the water, carried away by the current. He jumped in and swam out to them despite the force of the undertow which made it very difficult to stay afloat. Mr. Laliberté grabbed the children and pulled them safely to shore where, wrapped in blankets provided by onlookers, they waited for the ambulance to arrive.
Leading Seaman Roxanne Anneke Lalonde, M.B. (posthumous)
On April 21, 2007, Naval Reservist Leading Seaman Roxanne Lalonde lost her life when she attempted to rescue a 15-year-old boy from the fast-flowing waters of the Rideau River, in Merrickville, Ontario. Upon arriving at the base of a dam, Leading Seaman Lalonde was advised that the boy was probably caught in the falls under it. Without hesitation, she jumped in the icy waters to search for him, but was suddenly caught up by the strong undertow and pulled towards the middle of the river. Others on shore tried to throw a life line to her, but the strong current quickly carried her downstream. Sadly, neither the boy nor Leading Seaman Lalonde survived.
Sergeant Roger Chadwick Lane, M.B., Gagetown, New Brunswick
On September 23, 2007, Sergeant Roger Lane, then master corporal, apprehended two men who had robbed a grocery store, in Edmonton, Alberta. Sergeant Lane was entering the store when he noticed a man wearing a disguise running towards him and realized that a robbery had just taken place. He caught the suspect, wrestled him to the ground, removed the gun from the suspect’s waistband and threw it out of reach. While other shoppers assisted in restraining the robber, Sergeant Lane grabbed a second suspect who was running away. As the man struggled to free himself, he sprayed tear gas in Sergeant Lane’s face. Although temporarily blinded, Sergeant Lane managed to subdue him and held onto him until the police arrived minutes later.
Chris MacLeod, M.B., Sydney, Nova Scotia
On January 24, 2008, Chris MacLeod rescued a boy who had fallen through the ice of Crane Cove, in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia. Alerted to the incident, Mr. MacLeod immediately ran to the scene. Wading through the freezing and rapidly deepening water, Mr. MacLeod broke the ice with his fists until he finally reached the young boy, who was starting to sink. He managed to get the boy up onto his shoulders and to bring him safely to shore where others helped them both out of the water.
Guillaume Massé, M.B., La Minerve, Quebec
On September 13, 2007, Guillaume Massé rescued a woman who was trapped inside a submerged vehicle, in La Minerve, Quebec. After witnessing the out-of-control car crash into the lake, Mr. Massé swam out to the fast-sinking vehicle. Unable to open the door, he reached in through the partially opened window. With dwindling air reserves, Mr. Massé struggled to undo the victim’s seat belt, pulled her out, and brought her to the surface. Completely exhausted, he pushed the woman towards the shore. He then drove her to his house nearby, where he called for an ambulance.
Hady Quan, M.B. (posthumous), Vancouver, British Columbia
On December 28, 2007, 30-year-old Hady Quan lost his life when he attempted to rescue a man who was struggling in the strong ocean currents, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Mr. Quan and his girlfriend were enjoying a leisurely swim when they heard the victim calling out for help a short distance away. As they approached the man, they discovered that there was a powerful undertow and that they would need help bringing the victim to safety. Mr. Quan continued towards the man, while his friend struggled to make her way to shore to get help. Rescuers managed to bring the unconscious victim to shore, where they tried, in vain, to revive him. Sadly, in the meantime, Mr. Quan was carried away by the current and drowned.
Michael Braden Walker, M.B., North York, Ontario
On December 24, 2007, Braden Walker came to the aid of a man who had been stabbed while travelling on a bus, near Madoc, Ontario. Sitting a few seats ahead of Mr. Walker and the would-be victim, the attacker was bothersome to nearby passengers. As the bus approached its scheduled stop, the attacker walked towards his target and stabbed him. Mr. Walker immediately grabbed the attacker’s hand and forcibly removed the knife. He kept the struggling attacker in a headlock and walked him to the front of the bus while others helped care for the victim until the ambulance and police arrived.
The Bravery Decorations were created in 1972. They recognize people who risk their lives and choose to defy their own instinct of survival to try to save a loved one or a perfect stranger whose life is in immediate danger. Every year, countless incidents occur, fraught with a great deal of danger for the potential victims and rescuers.
The three levels of bravery decorations reflect the degree to which the recipients put themselves at risk: the Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage (S.C.), acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; the Medal of Bravery (M.B.), acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
Anyone is free to propose the name of a person who has risked injury or death in an attempt to rescue another person. The incident need not have taken place in Canada, and the rescuer need not be Canadian, but Canadians or Canadian interests must be involved. The decorations may be awarded posthumously.
Nominations must be made within two years of the incident, or within two years after a public entity, including a court, a quasi-judicial tribunal or a coroner, has concluded its review of the circumstances surrounding the incident or act of bravery.
For more information on the Bravery Decorations and on the recipients of these awards, please visit http://www.gg.ca/honours/decorations/bra/index_e.asp.