- Fort Nelson, British Columbia
Decorations for Bravery
Star of Courage
- Awarded on: March 25, 1998
- Invested on: September 18, 1998
Frank Samuel Hedingham, S.C. (deceased) Lantzville, B.C.
Raymond Charles Kitchen, S.C. (posthumous) Fort Nelson, B.C.
Kelly McConnell, S.C., Paris, Texas, U.S.A.
Star of Courage
On August 14, 1997, at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park, British Columbia, a bear attacked a group of Canadian and American tourists, killing two people and severely wounding two others. When an unprovoked bear attacked his mother, 13-year-old Kelly McConnell confronted the animal, kicking it in the jaw then repeatedly hitting it with a stick. The angry bear released the woman and turned on Kelly, clawing and biting him. Alerted by the screams, Mr. Kitchen and others rushed to the scene and attempted to scare the bear by making loud noises. When neither the noise nor stabbing at the animal with sticks diverted its attention, Mr. Kitchen jumped on its back and tried to wrestle it off Kelly, but the bear turned on him and inflicted fatal injuries. Meanwhile, Mr. Hedingham had also rushed to the scene and began pounding on the animal's head with a tree branch, causing it to retreat. While Mr. Hedingham and others attempted to stop the bleeding from Kelly's wounds, the beast returned and tried again to grab the boy and his mother, by then deceased. Mr. Hedingham gave the animal a strong kick on its snout, finally driving it away. As the bear fled, it attacked one more victim before it was killed by a man who had arrived with a shotgun.