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Decorations for Bravery Announcement

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September 24, 2010

Governor General Announces the Awarding of 24 Decorations for Bravery

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today the awarding of two Stars of Courage and 22 Medals of 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 to recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or to protect the lives of others. 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 and their citations, as well as a fact sheet on the Decorations for Bravery, are attached.

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Media information
Marie-Pierre Bélanger
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-9166
marie-pierre.belanger@gg.ca
www.gg.ca


RECIPIENTS

STAR OF COURAGE

Miranda Suggitt, S.C.

Lindsay, Ont.

Michael Thomas Westwell, S.C., C.D.

Pukatawagan, Man.

MEDAL OF BRAVERY

Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Wynn Baird, M.B., C.D.

Aylesford Lake, N.S.

Constable Robert Bérubé, M.B.

Montréal, Que.

Scott Borlase, M.B.

Winnipeg, Man.

Joseph Henry Roland Bouliane, M.B.

Winnipeg, Man.

Constable Benoit Brissette, M.B.

Montréal, Que.

Sergeant Steve Desgagné, M.B.

Montréal, Que.

Richard Frauley, M.B.

Saint John, N.B.

Isabelle Gagnon, M.B.

Saint-Hubert, Que.

Master Corporal Julien Gauthier, M.B.

Greenwood, N.S.

Major William Robertson Green, M.B., C.D.

Moose Jaw, Sask.

Blair William Allan Hockin, M.B.

Portage La Prairie, Man.

Sergeant André Joseph Hotton, M.B., C.D.

Greenwood, N.S.

Tim Kautaq, M.B.

Hall Beach, NU

RCMP Constable Alfred Douglas Lavallee, M.B.

Winnipeg, Man.

Pascale Pelletier, M.B.

Mercier, Que.

Sergeant Joseph Kenneth Penman, M.B.

Winnipeg, Man.

Stephen Power, M.B.

Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Master Warrant Officer Hamish Seggie, M.B., C.D.

Winnipeg, Man.

Warrant Officer Shaun Spence, M.B., C.D.

Winnipeg, Man.

Tami Elizabeth Strickland, M.B.

Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Abebe Yohannes, M.B.

Brandon, Man.

Herman Zarbel, M.B.

Winnipeg, Man.


CITATIONS

STAR OF COURAGE

Miranda Suggitt, S.C., Lindsay, Ontario
Star of Courage

On November 22, 2005, Miranda Suggitt, then 11 years old, risked her life to prevent her mother from being shot. During the evening, Miranda’s father became intoxicated and violent, threatening her mother with a rifle. The rifle went off, missing the woman who quickly ran outside. Miranda’s father followed his wife and pointed the weapon at her. Without any regard for her own life, Miranda stepped between the two and begged her father not to shoot. He yelled at her to move, but she stood her ground until others helped to take the rifle away and hold him until the police arrived. Through her actions, Miranda showed great courage and prevented a terrible tragedy.

Michael Thomas Westwell, S.C., C.D., Pukatawagan, Manitoba
Star of Courage

On March 4, 2008, missionary Michael Westwell courageously fought to protect his wife, during a home invasion in Malawi, Africa. In the early hours of the morning, Mr. Westwell was awakened by the noise of several men forcing their way into the house. Mr. Westwell charged at the men to prevent them from gaining access to the bedroom, wrestling one man carrying a gun to the ground before being overwhelmed. As the assailants beat and cut him with the gun and machetes, Mr. Westwell kept screaming in an attempt to alert his neighbours. After several minutes, the men left, but one returned and again beat Mr. Westwell to the floor before running away. Although suffering from a severe head wound, multiple cuts and two broken arms, Mr. Westwell told his wife to stay hidden until a friend arrived to provide assistance.

MEDAL OF BRAVERY

Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Wynn Baird, M.B., C.D., Aylesford Lake, Nova Scotia
Medal of Bravery

On December 30, 2008, Lieutenant-Colonel Doug Baird rescued a man who had fallen through the ice while skating on Aylesford Lake, in Nova Scotia. The victim had ventured out onto thin ice and had fallen into the frigid water. Upon hearing of the situation, Lieutenant-Colonel Baird wrenched a large branch from a tree and skated several hundred metres to the victim’s location. He then crawled approximately 40 metres to extend the branch out to him. The ice was thin enough to see the water beneath it, and it was breaking up between them. Instructing the man to grab the branch, Lieutenant-Colonel Baird inched his way slowly backwards, pulling the victim to safety.

Constable Robert Bérubé, M.B., Montréal, Quebec
Constable Benoit Brissette, M.B., Montréal, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On December 18, 2008, City of Montréal police constables Robert Bérubé and Benoit Brissette rescued a number of residents from a burning building. The constables had been patrolling the area when they heard an explosion and saw the stone facade of a three-storey building collapse onto the street. The first floor was completely engulfed and the flames were spreading quickly to the apartments above. Without hesitation, the constables ran in as the thick, dark smoke filled the hallway, making it difficult to see and breathe. After evacuating several occupants from the first and second floor apartments, the constables donned gas masks and continued to evacuate all the tenants on the top floor. All residents were eventually brought to safety.

Scott Borlase, M.B., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Medal of Bravery

On January 31, 2009, 14-year-old Scott Borlase was instrumental in keeping his sister safe during a snowstorm on Lake Winnipeg, in Manitoba. Scott, his 11-year-old sister, and their father had started their snowmobile outing on a clear morning, but by early afternoon the weather had changed. They lost sight of the marked trail due to the severe winds and heavy snowfall. At one point, Scott’s father got off the snowmobile and collapsed to the ground. Unable to find a pulse, Scott made the decision to go for help with his sister. In the blinding storm, Scott drove in a straight line, hoping to eventually reach the shoreline. Once at the shore, Scott was able to use his cell phone to call 911 and provide directions to their location. He brought his sister into a bush area away from the biting wind, and used a solar blanket to keep them warm until help finally arrived several hours later. Another search party located his father who, sadly, did not survive.

Joseph Henry Roland Bouliane, M.B., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Major William Robertson Green, M.B., C.D., Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Blair William Allan Hockin, M.B., Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
RCMP Constable Alfred Douglas Lavallee, M.B., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sergeant Joseph Kenneth Penman, M.B., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Master Warrant Officer Hamish Seggie, M.B., C.D., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Warrant Officer Shaun Spence, M.B., C.D., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Abebe Yohannes, M.B., Brandon, Manitoba
Herman Zarbel, M.B., Winnipeg, Manitoba
Medal of Bravery

On October 12, 2007, Major William Green, Warrant Officer Shaun Spence, Sergeant Joseph Penman, Roland Bouliane and Abebe Yohannes rescued two people who were trapped inside burning vehicles, in Headingly, Manitoba. The men tried frantically to put out the fire inside one vehicle, but the flames spread quickly and the dark smoke made it difficult to see inside. Major Green broke the rear window, pulled a little girl from the back seat and brought her to safety. Constable Alfred Lavallee and the other rescuers again tried desperately to reach the two other victims inside, but were driven back by the heat and flames. Meanwhile, Blair Hockin, Herman Zarbel and Master Warrant Officer Hamish Seggie ripped out parts of the dash on the second vehicle to pull out the driver who was trapped beneath the debris. They removed the victim, moments before the vehicle became engulfed.

Sergeant Steve Desgagné, M.B., Montréal, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On August 16, 2008, Sergeant Steve Desgagné, an off-duty member of the Canadian Forces, prevented a man from committing an armed robbery and possibly harming a store clerk, at a convenience store in Montréal. The man had approached the clerk, held up a knife, and told him that this was a holdup. When Sergeant Desgagné noticed the robbery in progress, he put his hand in his pocket and pretended that he had a gun. Approaching the individual, Sergeant Desgagné ordered him to put down his knife. The robber dropped his weapon and started to flee. Sergeant Desgagné ran after the man, not knowing if he carried another weapon. After a brief struggle, the robber was subdued and held until the police arrived.

Richard Frauley, M.B., Saint John, New Brunswick
Medal of Bravery

On May 30, 2008, Richard Frauley rescued two people from a burning vehicle, in Lepreau, New Brunswick. Mr. Frauley witnessed a vehicle enter the median and roll over several times. He stopped his car and ran to the vehicle, which had caught on fire. Mr. Frauley pulled frantically at the damaged front passenger door and pried it open. The flames were spreading under the vehicle and getting more intense. Mr. Frauley grabbed the passenger under her arms and dragged her a safe distance away, while the injured driver managed to pull himself out through the sunroof. Mr. Frauley then forced open the rear passenger door, removed the baby from her car seat, and brought her to her mother. By then, the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames. Mr. Frauley provided first aid to the victims until the police arrived.

Isabelle Gagnon, M.B., Saint-Hubert, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On July 10, 2009, Isabelle Gagnon risked her life to rescue her husband near Saint-Francois-du-Lac, Quebec. Ms. Gagnon, her husband, and her six-year-old son were playing in the water when her husband suddenly called out for help. She swam out to him and tried in vain numerous times to grab the much stronger and bigger victim, but he was too frantic. In his panic, the victim grabbed onto the young boy, who was wearing a personal flotation device. Conscious of the danger to the boy’s life, Ms. Gagnon pulled her husband away and pushed her son towards the shore. Exhausted, she again tried to help her husband, who unfortunately did not survive.

Master Corporal Julien Gauthier, M.B., Greenwood, Nova Scotia
Sergeant André Joseph Hotton, M.B.*, C.D., Greenwood, Nova Scotia
Medal of Bravery

On November 19, 2008, Military Search and Rescue technicians Sergeant André Hotton and Master Corporal Julien Gauthier rescued three people from a sinking barge, off the coast of Nova Scotia. Responding to a distress call stating that the barge was in trouble in heavy seas, a military helicopter was sent to the site to evacuate the people on board. After several failed rescue attempts, Sergeant Hotton was lowered a distance away from the vessel where he signalled for one victim to swim out to him so he could be hoisted up to the aircraft. Although advised by the air base that the rescue operation should cease because of low fuel and approaching darkness, the pilot and crew opted to continue with the rescue. Sergeant Hotton was again lowered and was hoisted up with one more victim. Master Corporal Gauthier was then lowered down and completed the rescue of the last victim. The entire rescue operation took approximately one hour to complete, and the barge capsized shortly afterwards.

* This is the second award of a Medal of Bravery to Sergeant Hotton.

Tim Kautaq, M.B., Hall Beach, Nunavut
Medal of Bravery

On February 26, 2009, Tim Kautaq rescued several people from a burning house, in Hall Beach, Nunavut. Mr. Kautaq was walking by the house when he heard one of the victims yelling for help. The main floor of the two-storey house was completely engulfed in flames when he entered the residence. Unable to breathe, Mr. Kautaq was forced out of the house, but re-entered when he heard a child crying inside. Although the smoke made it difficult to see and breathe, the rescuer grabbed the badly burnt boy and brought him outside. From the doorway, Mr. Kautaq called out to three more victims who were unable to find their way out and guided them towards him. Mr. Kautaq then ran inside the house, one final time, to pull the last child to safety.

Pascale Pelletier, M.B., Mercier, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On August 30, 2008, Pascale Pelletier rescued a man from a burning house, in Mercier, Quebec. The victim had been trying to put out a kitchen fire and rescue his pets, but soon became disoriented in the smoke-filled house. His neighbour, Pascale Pelletier, who was outside attempting to douse the flames with water from a garden hose, made a decision to go inside to rescue the victim. She wet a sweater, put it around her face and ran towards the burning kitchen. She had great difficulty breathing as she went up the stairs through the dark and thick smoke. She eventually located the severely burned victim and pulled him to safety.

Stephen Power, M.B., Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Tami Elizabeth Strickland, M.B., Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Medal of Bravery

On November 14, 2008, Stephen Power and Tami Strickland rescued a woman with disabilities from a smoke-filled apartment, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. A small fire inside the apartment caused the sprinkler system to be activated. Incapacitated by the smoke, the victim became unconscious as the water level was quickly rising in the room. From the hallway, Ms. Strickland heard the water running and decided to pry the door open, only to find the residence filled with thick black smoke. She ran to get Mr. Power to help her, and together they went inside the apartment. Unable to see because of the smoke, they had to feel their way around to find the victim. Although they had difficulty breathing, they finally located her on the bathroom floor and brought her out to safety.

 


 

FACT SHEET ON DECORATIONS FOR BRAVERY


BACKGROUND


The Decorations for Bravery 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. 

The three levels of Decorations for Bravery 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.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.

The Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.


ELIGIBILITY AND NOMINATION

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 Decorations for Bravery and on the recipients of these awards, please visit www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=73