2011 Award Recipients

The Lifesaving Society recognized volunteer commitment and rescue bravery at the 99th Annual Commonwealth Honour & Rescue Awards on Saturday, March 12, 2011 at the  Hotel Vancouver.


Branch President, Lifesaving Society, BC & Yukon, Len Manuel
Branch Governor, Lifesaving Society, BC & Yukon, Ian Robertson
National Governor, Lifesaving Society, John Bankes

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, The Honourable Steven L. Point, OBC
Member of Parliament, Burnaby-Douglas, Bill Siksay
Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General, Honourable Rich Coleman
Member of Legislative Assembly, Burnaby North, Richard Lee
Deputy Mayor, City of Vancouver, Suzanne Anton

Click on persons name to view photo and award citation.   Photos are also posted in the 99th Annual Commonwealth Honour & Rescue Picture Gallery for quick viewing, please note that full size images in the gallery can not be saved.  If you would like to save an image, click on (photo) beside the recipients name, right click, then save as. 


Awarded to those who have dedicated a minimum of two years service to the Society in a volunteer capacity.


Awarded to those who have dedicated an additional four years of service to the Society in a volunteer capacity.

Awarded to those who have dedicated twelve years or more to the Society in a volunteer capacity.

Awarded to those who have earned their Service Cross (12 years of service) and have dedicated an additional 4 years or more to the Society and performed meritorious service in a volunteer capacity.

Granted by Commonwealth Council and awarded to those who have served the Lifesaving Society for 20 years or more of voluntary activity.

Selected by the President of the B.C. & Yukon Branch for invaluable volunteer service given in promoting the Society and its aims.


To acknowledge meritorious service in saving lives.

To acknowledge rescues involving significant acts of bravery.

Awarded to a proficiency award holder who applied skill and knowledge gained through Lifesaving Society programs to aid a victim of an aquatic emergency.

In memory of late Branch Governor, George A. Brown, this award is presented to a pre-teen performing the most courageous aquatic rescue of the year.

Chosen by the Governor of the B.C. & Yukon Branch and presented for the most heroic rescue of the year.


A Canadian Safe Boating Council award to recognize outstanding contributions to boating safety by a marine organization professional.



Anne Benn
From her days as a top contender in lifeguard competitions, Anne moved into the role of judge and coordinator of these events. Most recently she provided valuable input to a new first aid instructor course designed by the Society. In between shifts as a paramedic in Penticton and caring for her three children, Anne’s spare time is spent as a key player in helping this Branch to host two national lifeguard championships in May.

Ngaire Leaf (Photo)
After winning the coveted Barnsley Shield in both the 2003 and 2004 BC & Yukon lifeguard championship, Ngaire put her time and talents into judging and organizing lifeguard competitions. She is a leader and mentor for other competitors and officials and can always be relied upon to pitch in where needed to promote lifeguard competition within the BC & Yukon Branch.


Karen Hillmann (Photo)
She has been a member of the Leadership Committee since 2002 and took on the Chair position in 2005. In 2003 Karen attained the highest level of leadership as a Branch Trainer and has actively contributed to the development of high quality instructor workshops. She has a reputation for being an innovative and creative instructor and is a popular mentor for new instructors and instructor-trainers. Karen has shown great dedication to the Lifesaving Society over the long term and her contribution is invaluable in many aspects of the Society’s work.

Ryan Radford (photo)
As a member of the National Lifeguard Service Committee, Ryan brought much enthusiasm and initiative to the group. He continues to contribute high quality support materials for those who train lifeguards and is always looking for new ways to enhance the NLS program. Ryan has also been a leader in the development of lifeguard competition within this Branch and currently serves as Chair of the Competition Committee. He has played a key official role in the last several national championships and is the leader of the group organizing this year’s events in Surrey this May.

Lori-Ann Drew (photo)
Lori-Ann has served in the role of Rescue Awards Chair for the past nine years and has long been a supporter of the Society alongside her late father, George Brown. Each year she puts in hundreds of hours doing the research required for all of the rescue awards being presented here today. Her perseverance and determined detective work in collecting the facts about each case make the stories come alive. In addition, she serves as Chair of the George Brown Memorial Fund Committee.

Jon MacKinnon (photo)
Jon began his involvement with the Society as a volunteer examiner in the Kootenays in the 1960’s. He continued his link with the Society in the role of Recreation Consultant for the provincial government and became Branch Governor in 1997. Jon stepped down from that position in 2008, but continues to be involved wherever he can. He has served the Lifesaving Society well in a role of ambassador and Jon’s diplomacy and tact are evident in the fact that he often referred to his wife Joan as “the real Governor.” Many thanks to Jon for his years of commitment to the work of the Lifesaving Society.

Lisa Meier
As a northern representative from Chetwynd, Lisa represents the Society in lifesaving and lifeguarding. She is also a valuable member of the National Lifeguard Service Committee and as an active Instructor in the North. Lisa provides a great deal of support to Lifesaving Society Affiliates and instructors throughout the North and is always ready to provide input to improving the quality of lifeguard and instructor training.


Glenn Schultz (photo)
Glenn served on the NLS Committee for 16 years and continues to be a volunteer consultant to the committee. Each spring he mentors a new crew of lifeguards through the Vancouver Lifeguard School. His job as Supervisor of Beaches and Outdoor Pools in the City of Vancouver gives him great insight into how best to train lifeguards, a great benefit to the safety of Vancouver’s beaches. His experience and support of the Society’s work has also made him an important mentor to new trainers and committee members. In the Branch 100th year, Glenn has contributed many gems to our search for Lifesaving Society archives.


Ron Aubrey (photo)
Ron has acted in all capacities including roles in finance, marketing and sponsorship as well as serving as President from 1994 1996. He is a strong promoter of the Society and was a key part of the move in 1997 to purchase office space and further ensure long term financial stability for the Branch. Ron continues to contribute his ideas and time to our Centennial events and projects. His long term commitment to the Society’s work is today recognized as he is bestowed with the prestigious status of Honourary Life Member.

Joel Sutcliffe (photo)
Joel has been a member of the National Lifeguard Service Committee for the past seven years and is currently Chair of the committee. He regularly contributes articles and resources to assist other lifeguard trainers. After rising to a national level competitor, Joel has given back by putting in hundreds of volunteer hours organizing events, acting as judge and taking a senior position in running regional and Branch competitions. He has also contributed volunteer time as a co-researcher on a study to investigate trends in the lifeguarding field. As part of the current project of revising the national lifeguard training program, Joel contributed some excellent research work to ensure the final result is evidence-based and highly credible. Joel is a most worthy recipient of the President’s plaque.


Mauricio Cepeda, Ed Deuschle, Tony Molachyk & Todd Whyte (photo)

Last October several Penticton city workers were about to take their mid-morning coffee break. While working near Marina Way Beach, Tony Molachyk was notified by an agitated citizen that someone was in distress in the lake. Tony recalls that there was a wind pushing south at about 25 kph and a half metre chop. When he looked out on the water he could barely see the man so he immediately used his radio to call his foreman, Todd Whyte, who then notified the fire department of the situation, causing an emergency response team to be dispatched immediately.
The man in trouble had entered the water to retrieve his motorized model airplane that had crash landed into the lake. It was floating because it was made of styrofoam, but by now it was drifting further from shore due to a southerly current and breeze.
Two other city workers Ed Deuschle and Mauricio Cepeda overheard Whyte’s call on the radio and knowing the Parks boat was in the water nearby they jumped in and headed onto the lake. By the time the Parks boat arrived the man was half a kilometre out and getting tired. He was hanging onto the airplane for flotation, but was unable to make progress toward shore and was starting to feel the effects of hypothermia in the 10 degree Celsius water.
With Mauricio driving the boat, Eddie pulled the man onto the boat platform and put a lifejacket on him. They took him to shore where the fire department treated him. The victim was later taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia, but was released in good shape shortly after.
Their citation from the City of Penticton said they “acted decisively under critical circumstances, showed exceptional team-work, and commitment to duty” in saving the man from drowning. We are pleased to honour these men with Silver Medals for Merit from the Lifesaving Society.


Peter Clark, Kevin O'Hara, Wesley Paulin & James White (photo)
It was Grey Cup Sunday in November 2009 when Saturna Island residents Peter Clark, Wes Pauley and Kevin O’Hara were enjoying the game at the Lighthouse Pub overlooking the water. During a break the men stood out on the outside deck and watched as a float plane taxied out into Lyall Harbour preparing to take off. All looked normal until the plane started its ascent and abruptly crashed into the chilly waters of the harbour.

The three men raced down to a nearby dock to retrieve an inflatable zodiac. Finding a key left for just such an emergency, they headed out towards the location of the crash. At the same time, another Island resident, James White, had seen the plane crash into the water from his home and reacted by jumping into his 3 metre skiff and heading towards the scene. By the time he arrived the plane had sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor in deep water, but James was able to spot two heads popping up above the waves; it was the pilot François (Frank) St. Pierre and a passenger Barbara Glenn. Both were suffering extreme trauma from the crash and showing signs of fatigue from the frigid water. With the speed at which the crash occurred, they did not have time to retrieve the flotation devices on board the plane.

James maneuvered close to the survivors and managed to secure the woman to a rope attached to his boat. At this time, the other three rescuers had arrived and Peter Clark transferred into James’ boat to help hold onto the pilot as they started making their way towards the government dock. The woman was lifted into the Zodiac and brought back to the government dock as well. Within a few minutes, the Coast Guard Auxiliary from Pender Island and members of the Saturna Island Volunteer Fire Department arrived to assist. The pilot was immediately airlifted to hospital and the passenger was stabilized by the Emergency Medical Team and shortly after transferred to hospital via air ambulance.
It was a tragic accident as a total of six people lost their lives that day, but thanks to the quick response of four residents and the Island’s emergency response teams, François St. Pierre and Barbara Glenn were saved.

For their efforts we recognize Peter Clark, Wesley Paulin, Kevin O’Hara and James White with Silver Medals for Merit.

Hollie Cook (photo)
Hollie Cook was driving home on the Okanagan connector when she noticed a line-up of cars on the side of the road including one facing the wrong way in the ditch, roof collapsed with a woman behind the wheel. Hollie, an experienced lifeguard, had a first aid kit in the car, so pulled over and made her way through bystanders toward the wrecked car. She asked the woman behind the wheel what had happened and was told that she had fallen asleep at the wheel and woke up as her car was rolling into the ditch.

Hollie called out to the bystanders to see if anyone had called 911. Someone handed her a cell phone saying, “You seem to know what you’re doing, you talk to the operator.” Hollie explained that she was trained in first aid and assured the 911 operator that the victim was conscious and appeared to have no life threatening injuries.

By now Hollie had her gloves on and first aid kit by her side and slowly made her way into the car through the passenger door as the driver’s door was up against a fence. Hollie performed a primary assessment of visible injuries and noticed pieces of windshield glass stuck in the victim’s arm and her stomach was tender near where the seat belt had dug in during the roll. Just then, Hollie was tapped on the shoulder by a man introducing himself as an off-duty firefighter offering assistance. He climbed into the front seat and immobilized the victim’s head and neck and continued speaking to her while Hollie checked the left side of her body for injuries.

Being tight for space in the front seat, and being the smallest rescuer, Hollie climbed through the trunk into the back seat and took over immobilization for the next 35 minutes while the firefighter did a head-to-toe assessment.

When the paramedics arrived they had Hollie continue immobilizing the victim’s head and neck as they started an IV and asked firefighters to bring the jaws of life to cut off the driver’s side door to get the victim out. A cervical collar was strapped in place and the victim was placed onto a spine board, removed from the car and airlifted to Kamloops.

For her presence of mind and willingness to take a lead role in an emergency, Hollie Cook is presented with a Silver Medal for Merit.

Nathan Coole & Marcus Hume (photo)
Early in the afternoon on a typical work day, Nathan Coole & Marcus Hume were building a lakeshore home on Ness Lake, 15 kilometres north of Prince George. Doing interior work for the past week caused Nathan and Marcus to want to get outside, so they headed out to fix a gate in need of repair.
Once outside, they heard unusual noises, but were not sure where it was coming from, so they headed toward the sounds. Soon they saw a woman carrying lifejackets and waving her arms to indicate that there was a need for assistance. When they looked out onto the lake, they could clearly see three men about 100 metres from shore clinging on to an overturned canoe.

Nathan and Marcus leapt into action, retrieving a kayak from a nearby boathouse and carrying it down to the water’s edge. It was a single person kayak, so Nathan decided to head out on his own while Marcus retrieved blankets and called 911. The water was choppy and the kayak not very stable, so Nathan had to be careful to avoid becoming a victim himself.

The ice had just come off the lake so the water was cold and when Nathan arrived at the overturned canoe it was clear all three men were suffering from hypothermia, one was in more serious distress than the others. Leaving lifejackets for them, Nathan took the man in the worst condition to shore and returned for one man while the other was picked up by a nearby vessel.

All three men were taken to University Hospital and treated for various stages of hypothermia. Chief Paul Davenport of the Ness Lake Volunteer Fire Department said there would have been a much more tragic outcome if not for the actions of the civilian rescuers. The situation even prompted Nathan to think about joining the local fire department thinking he’d be starting with a fairly strong experience item on this resume.

The grateful victims were hoping to be here today, but the mother of one sent this message, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving the life of my son Kory and keeping our family as one. This prestigious award is given to you as a gift for the lives of others who highly respect and honour you. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you today and always.”
Nathan Coole and Marcus Hume are most deserving of Silver medals of Merit.

Michelle Dac & Peter Dac (photo)
Their afternoon stroll in Port Coquitlam last January took Michelle and Peter Dac over the Patricia Avenue foot bridge over the Coquitlam River. As they crossed the bridge, they came upon a young man on the other side of the railing, swinging back and forth. When they asked, “What are you doing?” he let go and fell 10 metres into the frigid water below.

The man was swept down the rain-swollen river quickly so they knew they would have to react quickly if they were going to help. Michelle ran to a nearby house to call 911 and summon help while Peter tried to follow the man by running along the east riverbank. After thirty minutes and several hundred metres of tracking the man’s progress down the river, Peter went through bushes to a nearby road where he was able to flag down an RCMP patrol car. The constable left his vehicle and rushed to the river’s edge where he spotted a shallow area about five metres from shore where he was able to wade in waist-deep, reach out to the man and make the rescue.

Concerned about what trouble Peter may have encountered, Michelle became distressed until their emotional reunion forty minutes after being separated at the foot bridge. Peter had promised Michelle that he would not enter the water
The victim was suffering from hypothermia and had many cuts and bruises. Paramedics took him to hospital for treatment and he was later released. They later received a thank you note from the victim’s family.

Peter was scheduled for seven weeks of training at BCIT but had injured his knee to the point that he could not support himself for three weeks. He stated later that, “We were just happy that everything with all the efforts put in by everyone ended in a positive result.” And that positive result has earned Michelle and Peter Dac Silver Medals for Merit.


Alexander Melnyk
It was another sunny July day, perfect for friends to go cliff jumping at Horseshoe Lake near Jasper, but the day quickly turned into a near tragedy. After a few hours of cliff jumping, Trevor Quarrington, Jordan Trepanier and Alexander Melnyk were watching a man prepare to jump off the highest level of the cliffs, nearly 20 metres above the water. He hesitated just as he jumped which resulted in him landing awkwardly in the water. The boys knew by the landing that the jumper would be hurt, so when he did not surface they immediately sprang into action.

Trevor and Jordan swam over to where he had landed while Alexander headed to the area in his rubber raft. With the crystal clear water, they could see him at least 6 metres beneath the water’s surface. Trevor dove down and made contact but was struggling to pull the 250 lb. man to the surface.

Jordan joined in and together they managed to bring the unconscious man to the surface and then to shore. Fearing he had broken some bones, they kept the man floating face up in the water with the help of Alexander and his raft.He had landed face first and had suffered facial injuries. After vomiting up water and blood, the victim regained consciousness and appeared to be in fairly good shape.
After checking to make sure he could feel all his extremities, the three men helped him onto another raft and paddled it to the other side of the lake. The victim thanked his rescuers and was ready to drive away, but was convinced to wait for the ambulance to be fully checked over. The ambulance arrived and he was taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

For anticipating this near tragedy and taking decisive action to save a life, Alexander Melnyk is presented with a Silver Medal for Bravery. (Trevor Quarrington and Jordan Trepanier received their awards from the Lifesaving Society’s Alberta/Northwest Territories Branch.)



Keene Anderson & Sarah Young (photo)
On a cool day last March, Sarah Young, Melissa Warner and Gillian Harvey were having a picnic at Diver Lake near Nanaimo. Around 7 pm, just as the three friends were leaving, a young man named Keene Anderson came up to them in a panic asking, “Does anyone have a cell phone?” He said that there were a couple of guys in the lake, their motorized canoe had overturned and they were in trouble.

Sarah headed to the dock and could see three men in the water, two still clinging onto the boat and one swimming towards shore. "It was clear that this guy was in trouble and wasn't going to make it,” Sarah said later. So she took off her shoes and some outer clothing and jumped into the frigid March water.

As she was rescuing the first victim, Keene was entering the water using a fishing 'float tube' that he had used for fishing earlier. He made his way out to the two men who were still clinging onto the boat, grabbed both of them and kicked his way back into shore.
Sarah made it to the first man who was well into the first stages of hypothermia and brought him to shore. With the help of Melissa, they pulled him out, removed his wet clothing and covered him in blankets and sleeping bags they had collected. Sarah re-entered the water and helped Keene complete the rescue of the two other victims.

As a local RCMP member said later, “It’s a very uplifting story; those guys would have been absolutely finished if not for the joint efforts of Sarah Young and Keene Anderson.” For your heroic efforts, today the Lifesaving Society is pleased to present you with Silver Medals for Bravery.


Melanie Sullivan, David Ehrhardt & Matthew Smith (photo)
In late afternoon on a warm June day a seasonal worker from Mexico waded into Osoyoos Lake near Haynes Point to cool off. He was not a strong swimmer and about 45 metres from shore he began to struggle and swallow water. His nearby friends were unable to assist, so began yelling for help.
Melanie Sullivan was on the nearby beach reading and relaxing when she heard the yelling and noticed no one was reacting. As she entered the water she yelled for someone to call 911. She swam as fast as she could to the man, who at this point, had stopped thrashing and was face down in the water. Rolling him over she tried to keep his head above water, but could hear gurgling sounds coming from his chest. He was blue, not breathing and his eyes were fixed in a wide open look of panic.
At a nearby campsite, David Ehrhardt of Burnaby had heard commotion and looked out onto the lake to see a woman with something in the water. He jumped into his nearby boat and headed out onto the lake. When he arrived, he struggled to pull the victim aboard while Melanie climbed on with David’s assistance and they headed for shore while giving chest compressions to the victim.

Once on shore they were met by Matthew Smith, a Calgary firefighter. He turned the victim on his side and could hear no breathing, so opened the airway which lifted the man’s tongue from the back of his throat. His chest began to rise and he began to groan, then proceeded to vomit a large amount of water. He slowly regained consciousness and although dazed, he smiled up at his rescuers, knowing he had survived a near tragedy.

The victim was taken to hospital to be checked over, but was released two hours later and back to work the next day. A medical report showed that he had been unconscious for two minutes prior to being revived. He was very grateful to his rescuers saying, “They did the greatest favour anyone can do.”

Matthew later said that despite his years as a first responder, “It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy when you see someone come back to life. That’s the best thing in the world.”
In recognizing a great team effort by three strangers, we are pleased to present Silver Medals to Melanie Sullivan, David Ehrhardt & Matthew Smith.

Cst. James Hudson & Michael Ravenscroft (photo)
While walking his dog along the seawall at Ambleside Beach on a September afternoon, Michael Ravenscroft came upon a crowd of people near the mouth of the Capilano River. One observer mentioned that she thought someone had just drowned in the river. Looking out onto the water Michael could see a man floating face down, motionless.

Seeing that no one else was doing anything, he stripped down and contemplated the best approach just as someone asked if he was a good swimmer. He answered, “We’re about to find out” as the two of them, and the dog, proceeded to enter the water and swim across the river, judging the current to determine their line of travel. They reached the man and began to tow him back across the river to safety but found the current and cold water quickly draining their strength.

When they were about half way back to shore, a West Vancouver police officer, Constable James Hudson, arrived on the scene and quickly entered the water to assist. Being a former lifeguard, he was ready to assist the men already in the water, who at this point welcomed the assistance. This allowed Michael to make sure he could make it back to shore and not become a second victim.
Foam was coming out of the man’s mouth and he was still unconscious and limp in the water. The rescuers were able to bring him into shore and safely on land where Constable Hudson was ably assisted by off-duty nurses in trying to revive him with CPR. The ambulance arrived and paramedics continued CPR as the man was taken to hospital for further treatment. Michael was never quite sure if the man had survived until he saw an article in the newspaper praising the rescuers for saving the man’s life.

For their willingness to help while others stood watching, we present Constable James Hudson and Michael Ravenscroft today with Silver Medals for Bravery.

Mario Knezevic (photo)
He was supposed to be watching a world cup soccer game that day, but instead Mario Knezevic was doing renovations at a friend’s home in South Surrey. He was out on the patio taking a break when he heard someone nearby yelling, “My baby, my baby!”

He raced down to the nearby backyard pool to find a young girl floating face down. He jumped into the pool fully clothed to pull her from the water onto the deck. She was blue, not breathing and was cold to the touch. The mother was frantically yelling at Mario to do something. He was very apprehensive, but then recalled some CPR training he had taken in Croatia over 25 years ago.

Mario began with six chest compressions but saw no result. He was wary about compressing too hard on the chest, but now began to give rescue breaths which caused water to be expelled from her mouth into his. After several attempts, her lips began to turn pink, so he knew he was doing the right thing. Finally she began to cough and sputter.

Emergency crews soon arrived and took over from Mario allowing him to take a break and a drink to calm his nerves. He recalled later, “At the time I was very clear on what had to be done, but later I went into shock realizing I had just saved that little girl’s life.”

Mario has now offered his services to the Lifesaving Society to help promote the importance of CPR and first aid training for everyone. He has also become close friends with the girl and her family and recently attended her third birthday party which many noted would never have been celebrated if not for Mario’s presence of mind, and long-term memory recall, to save a young life from drowning.
Today, the Lifesaving Society honours the actions of Mario Knezevic by awarding him a Silver Medal for Bravery.

Natalie Nakamura  (photo)
Last July seven year old Natalie Nakamura was having a great beach day building sand castles and moats with her five year old brother at White Pine beach on Sasamat Lake in Port Moody.
Their fun attracted the attention of a three year old boy who joined them in their activities. At one point, Natalie and her brother headed into the water to fill their buckets and the three year old followed. He quickly found himself in water well over his head and became panicky and scared.

Later admitting that she is not the most comfortable swimmer herself, Natalie knew she had to do something. At this point, she could only see part of his head bobbing above the surface of the water, so she went toward the boy and put her arm out. The boy grabbed her arm and she swam back to shore, pulling him back to safety. Natalie later said, “He came out to where I was but he was too young to swim in that part, then I saw him sinking down.”

Port Moody Fire Chief Jeff Lambert was confident that without Natalie’s quick response “that little fellow might not be alive.” Later on the beach, many people realizing what she had just done, hailed Natalie as a hero. The Lifesaving Society is pleased today to make that official by presenting Natalie Nakamura with a Silver Medal for Bravery.

Warren Point (photo)
A 16 year old girl was swimming in the Chehalis River near Agassiz one afternoon last July when she drifted into an area where the current became stronger than expected. She began to struggle to keep her head above water. A few friends were close enough to drag her onto a nearby riverbank then ran to get help.

Seeing the commotion and concerned that the girl had been left on her own in distress, 17 year old Warren Point took the chance of swimming across the river to make sure she was alright and do what he could until help arrived.

The 911 caller had stated that someone was nearly dead on the river and they needed an ambulance there right away, so a major emergency response was launched. Soon after, police helicopter, search and rescue team members and police officers arrived on scene. Young Warren continued to comfort the girl and helped direct first responders as they came to help.

Two police officers were able to get a spine board across the river and prepared the victim to be airlifted off the river, but first a paramedic was dropped down from the hovering helicopter to check on the victim’s condition. She was eventually airlifted to a nearby soccer field where waiting ambulance attendants treated her prior to a flight to Royal Columbian Hospital.

The young girl made a full recovery and a local RCMP spokesperson stated that, “We are very grateful that there was not another tragedy to have to report. It was truly an amazing rescue and those involved should be called heroes.”

For his role in this amazing rescue, today we present young Warren Point with a Silver Medal for Bravery.


Pete Pretorius (Photo)
Our next recipient was born in Pretoria, South Africa, a long way from the nearest beach. Pete Pretorius came to Canada to settle in the Lower Mainland and now enjoys taking his wife Ilona and sons, twelve year old James and nine year old Edward, to the White Rock beach on sunny Sundays to enjoy a walk, some ice cream and family time.

On a typical Sunday last July, the Pretorius family was relaxing on the beach, the tide was in and James and Edward were skipping rocks on the water. As Pete sat on a log and looked out at the ocean he noticed a lady standing in knee-deep water about 30 metres from shore. She was waving frantically and motioning for Pete to help her. He thought maybe she had stepped on some glass but on closer inspection, he realized that she was motioning at something else. Further out in the water was what looked to be a swimmer. "I looked out and could see what I thought was a hand in the air,” Pete said. "And then what looked like a head popped out of the water but it was hard to tell as the tide was coming in with small ripple waves.”

Pete quickly took off his shirt, sunglasses and shoes and made his way out towards the apparent drowning victim. It took a while for Pete to get into water deep enough to start swimming and although he was a fairly good swimmer and a black belt in taekwondo, he could see there was some serious risk in this situation, both to himself and the drowning victim.

Pete reached the hypothermic victim, who was coughing up water and foaming at the mouth. Pete positioned the panicking man so he could tow him to shore. Once he had a good hold on him, Pete started scissor-kicking toward shore, but seeing the long distance to shore, he adjusted his hold so he could do a partial stroke with his free hand.

Pete recalled later that "The man was limp; it was like he had given up." It seemed like forever, but eventually he touched ground and the travel to shore became easier. Once on shore, the man was still unconscious but several chest pumps caused him to cough up water as he began to come around.
We are pleased to recognize the strength and quick action of Pete Pretorius today with a Silver Medal for Bravery.

Danielle Rolle & Jamal Rolle (photo)
A 19 year old man was walking with his dog and a friend along the North Alouette River in Maple Ridge last summer when the pit bull dog waded into the river for a drink. Wanting to continue the walk, the owner tugged on the leash to pull the dog along but lost his footing on slippery rocks and fell into the water. Unable to swim, the man now drifted into deep water after nearly pulling his friend into the water as he tried to help.

Nearby, 14 year old Jamal Rolle and his 24 year old sister Danielle, were about to begin a hike upstream so they could tube down the fast-flowing river one more time. At first, they thought the man and his dog were having a friendly tussle in the water until the man’s friend yelled to them, “Get us a boat!”

Instead, whether to save time or because he knew he could do it, Jamal jumped into the water, grabbed the drowning man and tucking him under his left arm, used his right arm to paddle them close to a rocky outcropping. Once there, Jamal cradled the now limp man’s body and placed him on the rocks in the middle of the river where his sister stood waiting to help.
The man’s face was white, his eyes were glazed and rolled back and his lips were blue. Danielle, who had just completed a level one first aid course, immediately began assessing the victim and started chest compressions. After several compressions, he coughed up water and began to regain consciousness. Danielle continued to monitor his condition while holding the man’s head in her lap and checking his pulse regularly.

Once firefighters arrived, they loaded the victim into a basket stretcher and carried him to a waiting ambulance that rushed him to hospital. Jamal and Danielle also went to the hospital to check on the man’s condition and were told he was very thankful to them for saving his life that day.
For combining bravery with training to prevent a drowning, we are proud to present Silver Medals to the brother and sister team of Jamal and Danielle Rolle.

Jayme Saunders (photo)
Sixteen year old Jayme Saunders was on a July camping trip with her boyfriend David Weismiller's family near Invermere when they decided to take a dirt bike ride up a logging road for a picnic. On the way, David lost control of the bike trying to negotiate a curve and they plunged off a bridge into glacier-fed Findlay Creek. The bike and bodies hit the creek bed hard and with less than six inches of water, there wasn't much to break the fall.

Now in the creek bed, Jayme started taking control. She had just taken Red Cross first aid training and recently completed her Bronze Medallion, but did not realize the next several hours would put that training to the ultimate test. Jayme knew she had serious leg injuries, but David had taken the brunt of the collision. He was very disoriented, became extremely agitated and seemed to have lost his vision as he repeated, “I can't see, I can't see!“

He was coughing up blood and Jayme was concerned about him being in the icy water, so she began to remove his wet clothing. She took a minute to administer first aid to her own leg, trying to control the bleeding, but despite her own injuries was focused on David’s well-being. He couldn't see and was getting more agitated. Jayme kept thinking "Oh God, I think we are going to die," but continued to persevere in keeping David conscious.

Jayme started tossing articles of clothing up onto the road as a signal and after about two hours, a truck stopped. The couple in the truck couldn't believe the site; the woman stayed with Jayme & David while the driver went to where his cell phone worked, about 40 minutes away. The first to arrive was David's step-father Shane, but it wasn’t until nearly four hours after the incident that emergency crews were able to reach the crash site.

David had suffered a broken shoulder blade, three broken ribs and a collapsed lung and was suffering stroke-like effects due to a pinched carotid artery restricting blood flow to his brain while Jayme had suffered a broken femur. They were transported to the Invermere Hospital, then David was airlifted to Calgary and Jayme was sent Cranbrook hospital the next morning.

For having the presence of mind and strength to overcome her own pain and ensure that David’s injuries weren’t fatal, Jayme Saunders is today presented with a Silver Medal for Bravery.

Josh Lockwood (photo)
Sergeant Josh Lockwood is a Field Supervisor with the North Okanagan Zone of the BC Conservation Officer Service and former member of the Vancouver Police Department. He began work with the Conservation Service in 1985 and now oversees the patrol of over 482 fishable lakes in that region including Okanagan Lake and Shuswap Lake. His role in ensuring compliance with provincial regulations is the official part of his job, but he is also involved in safety and education around boating and has committed to changing the culture on our waterways back to one of safety. He started a program known as “Help Kids Float” and conducted public outreach programs to educate youth on water safety including a very successful lifejacket donation program. On behalf of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, we are very proud to present Sergeant Josh Lockwood with the Marine Professional of the Year award

The Jericho Rescue Team (photo)
On average, assists more than two hundred boaters in distress each year on English Bay primarily in the vicinity of Spanish Bank and the Jericho Sailing Centre.

In the early evening of June 2, 2009, Jericho Rescue Team members Philip McIlvenna and Benj Rummen, with the assistance of two sailors in the water pulled a lifeless dinghy sailor onto "Jericho Rescue" a Zodiac Hurricane 590 specially equipped for small craft rescue. The team then called emergency services and alerted lifeguards at Jericho and Locarno Beach who met the boat as it reached shore and assisted in stabilizing the victim’s breathing. The victim had been pinned beneath his capsized dinghy and had inhaled a substantial amount of water into his lungs before being freed by his fellow sailors. He spent the next week in hospital and has since made a full recovery.

Several years earlier Benj Rummen had rescued the female crew of a dinghy who had become tangled in the rigging and pinned underwater when the boat capsized. She too had swallowed salt water and spent several days in the hospital.

These are just two of the examples of the contribution to drowning prevention made by this group and why we are today honouring the Jericho Sailing Centre Rescue Team.

Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons (photo)
Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons is a volunteer-driven national organization with 36,000 members belonging to 162 Squadrons spread from Coast to Coast to Coast. Their emphasis is on safety and accident prevention through education, raising public awareness of boating safety issues and promotion of acquisition and appropriate use of safety equipment.

The education is accomplished through 21 professionally prepared and delivered courses and seminars offered to both members and the public. During the 2010 training year they directly educated 19,000 boaters and/or members of the public.

Their public outreach work includes participation in the Canadian Safe Boating Awareness Week, which includes a wide range of activities also promoting boating safety, the need for education, safe and environmentally friendly boating practices and promotion of lifejacket/pfd wear.

Education, awareness and preparedness recently resulted in four members of CPS being awarded the Canadian Safe Boating Council Award for “Rescue of the Year” from the Canadian Safe Boating Council for a night-time rescue and saving the life of a crewman from a capsized sailing vessel in Lake St Clair, Ontario, in 50+ knot wind gusts and 1 to 2 metre high seas. Education does produce dividends and for that we are thankful for the work of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons.

British Columbia Search & Rescue Association (photo)
The British Columbia Search & Rescue Association is the representative organization for searches and rescues occurring on land or inland waters in BC. The Association has representatives from police, fire, ambulance and provincial government organizations as well as 2,500 active unpaid professional searchers in 80 communities around the province. They respond to an average 1,000 callouts for assistance in every corner of the province and those calls represent 50% of all such calls in Canada.

Each of the 80 teams train for water-related rescues, whether on BC’s lakes, in swift moving rivers, or on flat ice during the winter. Most teams have water craft in their inventories and there’s even one small hovercraft. Each year there are numerous water related calls that BC SARA teams respond to. One such call was the rescue that occurred on the Chehalis River near Agassiz last summer. You heard the story earlier when Warren Point received his award. The Kent Harrison SAR Team deployed a white water raft to assist in that rescue as well as members providing much-needed first aid and preparing the victim for air transport.
SAR teams are trained in all aspects of rescue including swift water rescue and are often called to deal with some dangerous and precarious water-related situations. BCSARA is proud of its role in supporting search and rescue teams in BC and we are very thankful they are always ready to respond. Our deep gratitude goes today to all search and rescue volunteers for their role in drowning prevention

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Pacific region (photo)
This volunteer-based organization relies on the commitment and knowledge of well-trained members who donate their time and often the services of their personal vessels to assist when a marine tragedy occurs in BC waters.

Recent examples include an incident in January where Station #5 out of Crescent Beach was tasked to assist a kitesurfer in distress. The crew arrived on scene within 20 minutes to find the surfer tangled in his lines. The crew brought the surfer and his kite on board. While returning to shore, the crew discovered another kitesurfer unable to return to shore without assistance. The CCGA crew quickly brought him and his equipment onboard. The two kitesurfers were severely fatigued but were not injured and were safely dropped off at the Crescent Beach Lifeguard Station.

This is just one example of the hundreds of near tragedies that Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary members prevent each year. These volunteers are located throughout the province and are always ready and willing to assist whenever and wherever they can. For that we are pleased to show our gratitude today to the men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Pacific region.

British Columbia Ferries (photo)
On occasion they are required to interrupt a sailing to attend to the greater good of saving lives such as happened last August in late afternoon when the Spirit of British Columbia was transiting Active Pass. It received a Mayday call from a 30 foot pleasure craft quickly taking on water with five people onboard. Ferry crew members deployed a rescue boat & crew to assist the distressed vessel in getting their bilge pump working and ensuring the safety of those on board. Ferry crew members stayed with the vessel ensuring all passengers remained safe until Canadian Coast Guard arrived on the scene. BC Ferries crews are one more group of workers we are pleased to recognize today for their drowning prevention activities.

Vancouver Police Department Marine Unit (photo)
The VPD Marine Unit is primarily a law enforcement unit on the water, however they also take a passionate approach to marine and water safety. They promote safe boating and prefer an educational approach to an enforcement strategy, however for those who choose not to learn, or refuse to comply, encouragement in the form of a Contraventions Act Ticket is always a possibility.

They also respond regularly to any marine emergency ranging from vessel and structural fires, vessels broken down, aground or sinking, and the rescue of drowning persons. A recent incident on a mid-February morning occurred when an intoxicated man in an apparent state of emotional distress had walked out into the frigid (6 degree) water at New Brighton Beach and was seen gasping and swallowing water. Marine Unit members arrived on scene aboard the Police Vessel R.G. McBeath and observed the man swimming away from other police officers and ambulance crews on the beach, refusing any aid they were there to offer.

The Marine Unit crew threw a life ring to the man, however he refused to accept it, instead he tried to throw it back towards the boat. He was apparently a strong swimmer, but the cold water was taking effect and causing him to rapidly lose strength. Quickly assessing the scene a member of the crew got into a dry suit and entered the water on a tethered line under the watchful cover of assisting officers. They continued to present the man with a flotation device while maintaining separation from him with the life ring. He continued to push the flotation device back, but as he tired he spent more and more time hanging on to it, helping him stay afloat. The Canadian Coast Guard soon arrived on scene to assist, and the two vessels and surface swimmer managed to herd the man back to the safety of the open beach, where he was delivered to the waiting ambulance crew for medical aid.

And for that compassion toward all users of Vancouver’s vast waterways, we are appreciative of the daily preventative and rescue efforts of the Marine Unit of the Vancouver Police Department.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (photo)
They are called to all manner of incidents and expected to be trained to deal with whatever they encounter. Although water rescue is not high on the training regime for Mounties, they are regularly called upon to assist in a water-related incident.

Earlier we heard of the Coquitlam River incident where Peter Dac followed the riverside path to keep track of a drowning man, but it was an RCMP member who, when summoned by Peter, quickly shed his weapon and other gear to wade waist deep into the water. He pulled the man to safety and ensured he received immediate treatment. Later the officer stated that he was just doing his job and wished to remain anonymous. He was just glad that everything turned out well and that quick action by many helped save a life.

Canadian Coast Guard (photo)
An agency that helps the government meet the public’s expectation of clean, safe, secure and healthy waters and coastlines, the Canadian Coast Guard is a highly credible organization recognized as a leader in maritime safety.

Their fleet of vessels range from search and rescue lifeboats to icebreakers and include hovercraft for fast response to less accessible areas. More frequently these days, their rescue work is assisted by technology such as signals from emergency beacons rather than the tradition distress call over VHF.

A recent example from last month is that of the 13 metre fishing vessel, Miss Karen, which took a wave broadside and started taking on water north of Tofino. The weather was windy with metre high rough seas in half kilometre visibility. All five persons onboard, 3 adults and 2 children (ages 4 and 6), donned immersion suits and abandoned into their liferaft which was already was half filled with water as the survivors climbed onboard.

The boat owner had purchased a new emergency beacon for the vessel one week prior, so when the boat capsized, the GPS-based beacon self-activated which alerted the search and rescue system and provided an exact latitude and longitude position significantly reducing the search area and time. The Coast Guard vessel Cape Ann arrived 30 minutes later to find the capsized vessel and all five occupants in good condition in the liferaft.

The combination of technology and highly trained, committed crew members help ensure our safety and for that we are very appreciative of the work of the Canadian Coast Guard.

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