At a ceremony at Edmonton Police Headquarters on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, the Royal Canadian Humane Association presents several citizens with awards to recognize exceptional acts of bravery and lifesaving while under duress.
Honourary Testimonial: Is awarded to those who show presence of mind during the rescue; however the attempt has minimal danger to the rescuer.
Bronze Medal: Is awarded to those involved in a noteworthy rescue. There is usually a fair amount of risk or danger associated with the rescue.
Silver Medal: Awarded to individuals who engage in a meritorious rescue, where significant danger is involved. Typically the rescuer is injured during the attempt.
Gold Medal: Presented for an extraordinary rescue or attempt to rescue, usually costing the rescuer's life or causing them great physical harm. The danger level involved is usually extreme.
The following is a list of the recipients and their citations:
On the afternoon of March 31, 2013, two sisters were playing on the icy shore of the North Saskatchewan River in Rundle Park in northeast Edmonton. One of the girls fell through the ice and the second girl tried to pull her to safety. Adam Shaw and his family were walking their dog Rocky, on the footbridge when they heard screams from below. They looked down and saw the girls in trouble. Adam asked his wife to call 911 and yelled at the girls to stay where they were. While his wife remained with their two small children, he and Rocky scrambled down the steep bank through tangles of bushes to the river’s edge. By this time the second girl had also fallen into the freezing river and was holding on to the edge of the ice. Believing the ice was fairly solid Adam carefully edged toward the 9-year-old girl and managed to pull her from the water. He told her to get to the shore and wait for help. Meanwhile her 10-year-old sister had floated downstream. Adam and Rocky could barely see her so they started running down the ice, trying to get close to her. Adam yelled out to her and asked if she could swim closer to the ice but was too cold and could not move her arms or legs. Shaw tried to throw Rocky’s leash to the freezing girl but then ice broke and both Adam and Rocky plunged into the bone-chilling water. As they tried to pull themselves back to shore the thin ice kept breaking. Finally, Rocky managed to get his front paws on the ice. Adam then pushed his dog’s back end onto the ice and using the leash he managed to pull himself up. Soaked and freezing he couldn’t see the girl but suddenly she popped up, downriver. They again took up the chase and when they were close enough, he pushed Rocky into the water and called to the girl to try to grab hold of the leash. She managed to get the leash and Rocky began swimming towards the ice. The ice crumbled but Adam was able to grab the dog and the girl’s arm and pull them both to safety. He tried carrying the soaked and shivering victim up the bank but it was too steep so they waited at the edge of the river for the emergency rescue team. The girls were taken to hospital and released. Adam and Rocky had certainly saved the girls’ lives.
For his heroic efforts in saving two girls in an extremely dangerous situation the Silver Medal for Bravery was awarded to Adam Shaw.
JORDAN WILSON (posthumously)
On July 14, 2013 Jordan Wilson and a co-worker were doing road maintenance work at the intersection of Highway 21 and Highway 9 near Beiseker, Alberta. They had parked their pick-up truck on the far shoulder of the highway and were working nearby. Without any warning, a northbound transport truck slammed into a car at the intersection. While still pushing the mangled car, the transport truck careened towards the parked pickup truck. At that time, Jordan looked up and immediately realized that a second collision was imminent and he and his co-worker, Shelby Wiens, were in its path, about to be hit. Their pickup truck was hit and now hurdled toward them. In a desperate attempt to save his co-worker’s life, Jordan pushed her out of the way. They were both struck by the onrushing vehicles. The truck driver was not seriously injured, the driver of the car was taken to hospital by EMS, Jordan’s co-worker was critically injured, airlifted to hospital and has undergone a number of surgeries – she survived; Jordan did not. RCMP crash investigators and eye witness statements are consistent in stating that “Jordan used the last moments of his life to save his co-worker, fully knowing that danger was coming directly at them.”
For his selfless and heroic action the Silver Medal for Bravery was posthumously awarded to Jordan Wilson. His younger brother Blake Wilson accepted.
BERNICE JINGLING (posthumously), the Honourable THOMAS LUKASZUK
On the morning of April 7, 2011, Bernice Jingling was walking her six-year-old great granddaughter Tiara to school in North Edmonton. As they were crossing the street at an intersection Bernice noted an SUV coming at them. She realized that the driver had not seen them, and the vehicle was not stopping. In a desperate effort to protect her great granddaughter, Bernice pushed her to the side. Both were struck by the SUV, however; while placing her own life in peril, Bernice had saved Tiara’s life by getting her out of the path of the major impact. The Honourable Thomas Lukaszuk was driving his children to school and witnessed the accident. He and another person immediately ran to assist Mrs. Jingling. They cleared the woman’s throat and attempted to stabilize her before the ambulance arrived. Emergency personnel responded quickly and took the pair to hospital where Mrs. Jingling succumbed to her injuries. Her great granddaughter remained in hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has since recovered.
Undoubtedly Bernice Jingling saved Tiara’s life and for her unselfish act of heroism she was posthumously awarded the Silver Medal for Bravery. Her great granddaughter Tiara accepted.
For his efforts and presence of mind, the Honourable Thomas Lukasuk will receive the Honorary Testimonial Certificate.
RON NOBERT, PRESTON MORTIER, ALEX NOBERT
Turner Valley, Alberta
On Nov. 5, 2012, an 81-year-old woman was alone inside her Turner Valley mobile home. When a fire broke out the wheelchair-bound woman found herself trapped in the burning building. Ron Nobert lived just down the street from the mobile home and when he heard neighbours yelling about the smoke and fire he ran to help. The front door was not accessible due to the flames and smokes so, he climbed over a pile of lumber and accessed the rear porch. He found the rear kitchen door unlocked and entered the residence despite the heat, smoke and flames. Ron found the badly burned, elderly woman on the floor and quickly dragged her through the flames out the kitchen door. He handed the victim to his son, Alex and a friend, Preston Mortier. They carried her to the other side of the wood pile to safety. Ron got out with only seconds to spare as the victim’s oxygen tanks, still inside the trailer, exploded sending up a massive fireball, incinerating everything inside. Ron’s coat was burned during the rescue and he could feel the intense heat of the fireball. The elderly woman who was suffering from severe burns and smoke inhalation was taken to Turner Valley Hospital then to Calgary. She spent two weeks in the hospital with her family visiting her, but sadly she did not survive.
For risking his life to save another the Silver Medal for Bravery was awarded to Ron Nobert. For their assistance in the rescue the Honorary Testimonial Certificate was awarded to Preston Mortier and Alex Nobert.
CONST. JESS BAGAN, CONST. RICH LEGGATT
On May 12, 2013, Constables Jess Bagan and Rich Leggatt were working in the west end of Edmonton when they noticed some smoke nearby. They decided to investigate following the smoke to its source, where they found one house almost fully engulfed in flames and a second house also burning. They immediately proceeded to kick in the door of the first house as neighbors were yelling that there were still people inside. The two constables could hear the house creaking, saw the power meter was sparking and they knew the gas lines were still operational placing them in a dangerous and volatile situation. The Fire Department was not in sight. After determining that the house was empty and despite the smoke and flames, Constables Bagan and Leggatt then breached the door to the second house but they were advised by onlookers that the residents had escaped, although a dog was still in the home. Dense smoke prevented entry. The roofs and second floors of both homes were now completely engulfed in flames. By that time the Fire Department had arrived and took charge. They managed to extinguish the blaze but noted that the two police officers had certainly gone above and beyond the call of duty to warn the occupants of the danger.
For their actions the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Const. Jess Bagan and Const. Rich Leggatt.
CONST. DUANE BATEMAN, CONST. ALEX KARAMPELAS, CONST. DAVID WEBBER
On the afternoon of July 11, 2013, an eastbound vehicle was travelling on the Anthony Henday Freeway when it crossed the centre median and continued travelling east, in the westbound lanes. As it approached 97 Street it drove off the road, through a fence, across a field, and landed in a pond some 400 metres away. It slowly sank out of sight – no one exited the vehicle. Constables Bateman, Karampelas, Webber and other EPS personnel arrived at the scene, and from witnesses, they determined the approximate location where the vehicle had sunk. Fire Department and emergency services personnel were also arriving however, the three members believed that time was quickly running out for those still inside the vehicle. They entered the deep, cold, and murky water, still wearing their heavy protective vests, boots, and uniforms. They blindly swam through the filthy water trying to locate the vehicle with their hands and feet. Const. Webber located it and the three officers immediately swam down into the dark depths. They made several attempts to pry open the doors which were sealed tightly due to the water pressure. Then fire personnel used a window punch to break the side windows enabling the doors to be opened. An unresponsive driver was found seated behind the steering wheel. Through the efforts of Constables Bateman, Karampelas, Webber and several fire fighters, they were able to free the driver and bring him towards the shore. By this time they were exhausted and other EPS members met them as they approached and assisted in removing the male victim from the water. He was still alive despite having been underwater for approximately 20 minutes. He was treated by emergency personnel, transported to hospital; however, he succumbed to his injuries ten days after the rescue. The quick actions of the three constables in locating the victim, and their initiative in removing the victim to safety, were heroic and certainly above the call of duty.
For their efforts, the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Const. Duane Bateman, Const. Alex Karampelas, and Const. David Webber.
CONST. MIKE FURMAN, CONST. TAYLOR McCRUDDEN
Just after midnight on May 5, 2013, Const. McCrudden attempted to stop a vehicle operating without headlights in downtown Edmonton. When Const. McCrudden activated the lights and siren of his police car the driver in the vehicle drove away at a high rate of speed, westbound on Jasper Avenue. For public safety reasons Const. McCrudden did not engage in pursuit, but the speeding vehicle continued west when the driver lost control and the car slammed into a tree. Acting Sgt. Furman was first to arrive at the accident scene and observed the lone driver unconscious behind the steering wheel. When he opened the driver’s door to provide medical aid, the vehicle caught fire in the engine compartment. It very quickly spread to the rest of the vehicle. Acting Sgt. Furman and Const. McCrudden, who had arrived at this time, desperately tried to extract the unconscious driver. They put themselves in significant danger as the car was now engulfed in flames. Finally they were able to pull the driver to safety and waited for the ambulance and fire fighters to arrive. Without their heroic actions the driver would have suffered severe burns or lost his life.
For going above and beyond the call of duty by risking their lives to save another, the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Const. Mike Furman and Const. Taylor McCrudden.
On the night of July 1, 2013, Leigh-Ann Carruthers was driving toward Mill Creek Bridge when she observed several bystanders watching a distraught and injured male standing on the outside railing of Mill Creek Bridge. Leigh-Ann stopped and approached the man whose arms were covered in blood and began talking to him. He asked her if he would suffer severe injuries if he jumped but Leigh-Ann kept talking to him to prevent him from doing so. Meanwhile, four members of Edmonton Police Service arrived and began to approach the male. He told them to stay back as he didn’t want the police near him. Leigh-Ann asked the male if he would like to call anyone and he asked if she would call a friend. One the officers offered her his cell phone and the officers took this opportunity to get closer. As Leigh-Ann dialled the number, the man looked down and suddenly let go of the railing. Leigh-Ann immediately grabbed his bleeding right arm, pulling it back towards the railing, while yelling at him to hold on. Two of the officers were now able to grab his arms and struggled with him as he was yelling at them to let go. The other officers grabbed onto his clothing and they were finally able to pull the slippery and struggling victim back over the railing onto the sidewalk. He was bleeding profusely from both wrists and his finger had been severely cut. Undoubtedly Leigh-Ann helped to save the man’s life, while exposing herself to blood contamination and putting herself at risk of being pulled over the railing before the officers were able to help.
For helping to save the life of a suicidal man the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Leigh-Ann Carruthers.
VICTOR WAUGH, SHAWNE KOKELJ
Yellowknife Bay, Northwest Territories
On May 11, 2013, Shawne Kokelj was bicycling with her children on an ice road near Yellowknife Bay, when the children alerted Shawne that someone was yelling for help. A man and his dog team had fallen through some thin ice on Great Slave Lake. He was exhausted and nearly hypothermic from trying to get onto a small area of stable ice, some distance away. Shawne called the Fire Department, found someone to look after her children, and ran to where the man and his dogs were stranded. She stayed at a safe distance and kept talking calmly to the soaking wet and scared man, who was very concerned about his dogs, some of which were tangled in their harnesses and dying. Victor Waugh noticed what was happening and came over on his snowmobile pulling a toboggan. Victor had experience with winter travel and ice conditions and was able to find a narrow path of semi-stable ice leading to the victim. At great personal risk he made his way to the hypothermic man until he was able to throw the victim a rope. With much difficulty the man managed to get it around his waist then Victor pulled him to more solid ice. He immediately placed the victim in the toboggan where Shawne wrapped him in a tarpaulin and put her hat on his head. Victor pulled him to shore and a waiting ambulance took him to hospital for treatment. Shawne and Victor then went back on the ice to assist emergency services to rescue his dog team. The man made a full recovery but two of the seven dogs died.
For his heroic and selfless efforts to save a man from freezing to death, the Bronze Medal for Bravery is awarded to Victor Waugh. For her presence of mind, the Honorary Testimonial Certificate was awarded to Shawne Kokelj.
On the afternoon of March 12, 2013, Kristina Mullen was driving in a busy intersection turning left onto 99 Street from 51 Avenue. There was a white truck in front of her taking up two lanes. It was driving so slowly that a very large truck roared around her, into the oncoming traffic, and pulled in ahead of the white truck. Kristina made her way around the slow moving vehicle thinking it might be out of gas. As she drove by she noticed the driver was slumped over in his seat. Realizing something was wrong she drove her car ahead of the truck, got out, and ran towards it trying to flag down other motorists passing on both sides. No one stopped. When she reached the truck she tried the door and very fortunately found it was unlocked. Reaching in, she steered the still moving vehicle away from her car and managed to stop it. Kristina then called to the man, tapped him, but he was not responding. He was struggling to breathe and his pulse was very faint. Kristina called 911, requested an ambulance and was told to get the victim on the ground on his back. An impossible request, as she was in the middle of two lanes of very busy traffic, with vehicles buzzing past her on both sides. Another woman stopped to help but the man had now stopped breathing. Kristina laid the man down on the seat and began CPR. The Fire Department arrived and took over from Kristina using a defibrillator to get the victim breathing. He was taken to hospital where he was in a coma for five days and then was taken off life support. Miraculously, the man, who had suffered a heart attack, regained consciousness and is alive.
Kristina put her life at risk to save the truck driver, and for her actions the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Kristina Mullen.
KERRY RUDNESKI, PAUL JOHNSON
Lac La Biche Lake, Alberta
On Aug. 29, 2012, Fish and Wildlife Officer Paul Johnson was patrolling near Lac La Biche Lake with another officer when they received a call to check on a domestic net in the lake. As they approached the area they stopped a man in a speeding truck who told them that there were men in the water at risk of drowning. The two officers and the truck driver proceeded to the area. With his binoculars Paul Johnson scanned the lake and spotted two men hanging onto a small capsized boat. There were very heavy winds that afternoon which created 5 foot high waves. Paul Johnson knew that Officer Rudneski was starting his shift, so he contacted him and asked that he bring a large boat to try to help the men struggling in the water. When Officer Rudneski arrived the two men launched the 17 foot Crestliner into the extreme conditions. With the high waves crashing around them they drove about 1.5 kilometres around a point and approached the exhausted men, still hanging onto their capsized boat. The two officers tried to get close to the victims however; they decided it was not safe. Not only did the waves make it difficult to keep the boat from hitting the victims there were also two gill nets full of fish still in the water which could get tangled in the propeller and disable their craft. Instead Officer Johnson threw a rescue throw bag to the men from a distance. After several attempts the exhausted and frightened men managed to grab the bags and they were pulled out of the choppy water into the rescue boat. Both were in shock and intoxicated. The officers drove to the nearest landing point where they handed the victims into police custody and they were taken by ambulance to the Lac La Biche Hospital. Officers Johnson and Rudneski returned to the capsized boat to load the two nets each carrying 500 to 600 pounds of fish. The conditions were so extreme that their boat was also swamped by the waves some 20 feet from shore.
For saving the lives of two people in very dangerous conditions, the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Paul Johnson and Kerry Rudneski.
Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories
On June 5, 2012, 15-year-old Kyle Inuktalik and several other people were hunting Eider Ducks on the sea ice near the town of Ulukhaktok. Kyle was sitting near the edge of an open lead when two boys shot some ducks which landed on the opposite side of the lead. The boys attempted to cross the open water on their snowmobile to fetch their ducks but the distance was too great. Their snowmobile sank to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean leaving the two boys in the freezing water. Kyle quickly stood up on the ice and yelled at them to swim in his direction. He managed to coach them towards him and when they were close enough, he stood at the edge of the open lead and carefully pulled the boys out of the water onto the ice. By then other hunters, who were close by, had arrived and transported one of the boys to town, while Kyle took the second boy to his parent’s cabin where he had him change into dry clothing and then took him to town. Undoubtedly, Kyle’s actions helped to save the boys’ lives.
For risking his life pulling two boys out of the Arctic Ocean, the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Kyle Inuktalik.
JOHN CHAPMAN, MARK CHAPMAN
Whiteswan Lake, British Columbia
On Aug. 3, 2013 John and Mark Chapman were boating on Whiteswan Lake in southeastern British Columbia when a car drove off a forest service road through the forest and plunged into the lake. The female driver and her 16-year-old daughter managed to get out of the car and swim to shore, however, the woman was frantically screaming that her 5-year-old son was still in the vehicle trapped by his seatbelt. John and Mark immediately jumped into the water and swam to the submerged vehicle which was about 2 metres below the surface. They made a number of unsuccessful attempts to free the boy. Then, a bystander provided a knife which they were able to use to cut the seatbelt and they brought the boy to the surface. John and Mark pulled the boy to shore where others assisted in administering CPR. The boy had been submerged for 10 to 15 minutes and was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Children’s Hospital in Calgary where he was reported to be doing well. The mother and daughter were fine. Undoubtedly, Mark and John’s quick actions saved the boy’s life.
For their quick response in saving a child from drowning in a submerged vehicle, the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to John Chapman and Mark Chapman.
Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
On Feb. 21, 2013, three men were working on water and plumbing lines in the basement of a house under construction in Fort Saskatchewan when a gas leak in the basement caused a powerful explosion. Walls were shifted off the foundation and a fireball severely burned all three workers. Caley Boddez immediately ran to the burning house and despite the flames and the possibility of more explosions, he made his way to the basement. He managed to locate one of the seriously injured victims, grabbed him, pulled him up a ladder and made his way outside. Caley burned his hands while rescuing the man who had burns to 95 per cent of his body. Sadly the victim succumbed to his injuries the next morning while the other two critically injured workers are still recovering from their injuries. For his brave and compassionate efforts in rescuing man after an explosion, the Bronze Medal for Bravery was awarded to Caley Boddez.
For more information, please contact Rudolf P. Berghuys, the President of the Royal Canadian Humane Association, at 780-471-2974.