Azzedine Soufiane, S.C. (posthumous)
Said Akjour, M.B.
Hakim Chambaz, M.B.
Aymen Derbali, M.B.
Mohamed Khabar, M.B.
On January 29, 2017, Azzedine Soufiane, Said Akjour, Hakim Chambaz, Aymen Derbali and Mohamed Khabar intervened during a shooting at the Québec Islamic Cultural Centre. When the attacker entered and opened fire, Mr. Derbali, who was near the entrance, rushed toward the man to destabilize him. Even though he was shot several times, he tried to get up repeatedly to stop the shooter before losing consciousness. During this time, Mr. Chambaz ran toward a little girl who was completely frozen in the middle of the room, grabbed her and hid with her behind a column to protect her during the shooting. While the shooter hid in the vestibule to reload his weapon, Mr. Soufiane bravely ran from the other end of the room toward him to try to stop him. Mr. Akjour and Mr. Khabar followed him to help him. Mr. Soufiane tried to disarm the attacker by grabbing his weapon, but sadly, he was shot and succumbed to his injury. Mr. Akjour and Mr. Khabar were themselves injured. The shooter left a few minutes later before being apprehended by police.
The Decoration awarded to the late Azzedine Soufiane will be presented to his daughters, Zineb and Hajar Soufiane.
Étienne Bélanger, M.B.
On August 26, 2018, 15-year-old Étienne Bélanger risked his life to help a friend who had been electrocuted in Candiac, Quebec. The friend was descending from a nearby rooftop into the area around a transformer station. Unfortunately, he came too close to the electrified field and received a 25 000-volt shock. The force of the current threw Étienne’s young friend 18 metres into the substation’s enclosure, rendering him unconscious. Étienne, still on the roof, dialed 911 and explained the situation to the operator, who instructed him to remain still. Moments later, Etienne heard his friend scream in pain as his clothes and hair suddenly caught fire from the residual electricity in his body. Disregarding both the operator’s instructions and the obvious risk of electrocution, Étienne wasted no time in retracing his friend’s steps to reach him inside the enclosure. He traversed the ground of the substation without incident and quickly put out the flames. An hour passed before emergency personnel were able to cut the power and clear the way for a full rescue. The victim survived.
Pierre Brunone, M.B.
On August 5, 2019, Pierre Brunone attempted to save multiple people involved in a traffic collision on Highway 440 near Laval, Quebec. Spotting smoke rising from the scene of an accident, Pierre stopped to help. He saw two people inside a burning SUV and rushed to retrieve his fire extinguisher. Another bystander joined him with a separate extinguisher, but it was not enough to put out the flames. Panicking, Pierre used a shovel in an attempt to free the man but was forced back by the intense heat. Sadly, nothing more could be done to save the victims. Pierre and the others at the scene then turned their attention towards a young girl trapped in another SUV. Together, the group managed to push the vehicle nearly 10 feet away from the fire, thereby saving the girl’s life.
Jordan Burrows, M.B.
Parkland County, Alberta
Mark Friesen, M.B.
Sherwood Park, Alberta
Travis Henrikson, M.B.
On April 6, 2019, Jordan Burrows, Mark Friesen and Travis Henrikson rescued a woman from her burning vehicle following a head-on collision in Parkland County, Alberta. First on the scene, Mr. Burrows safely removed the driver from the first vehicle with the help of bystanders. Realizing that a woman was trapped inside the smoldering second vehicle, he unsuccessfully attempted to quell the flames with a fire extinguisher. Mr. Friesen opened the back door of the vehicle and the three rescuers struggled to remove the victim, before cutting through her seat belt with a knife. Mr. Burrows grabbed the victim underneath the arms, Mr. Henrikson grabbed her torso and Mr. Friesen held her legs as they pulled her out through the window before the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames. They safely carried her to the highway median before emergency services arrived.
Benoit Chaput, M.B.
Jean-Guy Tremblay, M.B.
On August 12, 2018, Benoit Chaput and Jean-Guy Tremblay rescued a man from his burning vehicle following an accident in Saint-Valérien-de-Milton, Quebec. Awakened by the sound of a car crash, Mr. Tremblay hurried outside to see a burning vehicle flipped on its side with an unconscious man trapped inside. He quickly ran to a neighbouring house for help, where Mr. Chaput called 911 before they both hurried back to the scene to assist the victim. As the fire rapidly engulfed the front compartment of the vehicle, they both grabbed the victim by the legs and pulled him out of the wreckage. Dragging him safely to the shoulder of the road, they both returned to the smouldering vehicle to ensure that nobody else was trapped inside before emergency services arrived.
Yvan Coulombe, M.B.
On January 27, 2019 in the City of Québec, Yvan Coulombe came to the aid of a man caught inside a burning vehicle following a collision with a bus. Having witnessed the crash, Mr. Coulombe immediately notified emergency services and then ran to the aid of the driver, who was unconscious and trapped by debris inside the vehicle. With onlookers warning him of the clear danger posed by the heavy smoke and metre-high flames, Mr. Coulombe extracted the driver and dragged him to safety. He then risked his own life a second time by returning to the vehicle to ensure that no other victims were trapped inside. He then exited the wreckage, narrowly escaping a larger and more intense fire as it erupted from the burning debris.
Sergeant David Cowan, M.B.
Rothesay, New Brunswick
Constable Tyler White, M.B.
Saint John, New Brunswick
On January 22, 2017, Sergeant David Cowan and Constable Tyler White, of the Saint John Police Force, along with Michael Went, rescued Mr. Went’s family from a house fire in Saint John, New Brunswick. The officers were patrolling the street when they found the house being consumed by fire. As they attempted to break down the front door, Mr. Went suddenly opened it from the inside. They escorted him out and proceeded into the smoke-filled house where they found a woman holding a child and shouting that there was a baby in another room. They directed the woman outside and began searching in vain for the baby. Moments later, Mr. Went entered the house and quickly located the infant through the smoke and brought her to safety. The officers exited the home as it became fully engulfed in flames.
The Decoration awarded to Michael Went will be presented at a later date.
Benoit Demers, M.B.
On June 22, 2018, 12-year-old Benoit Demers was bailing hay with his family in Adstock, Quebec. His younger sister had tripped as she tried to dismount from the tractor, catching her shirt on the machine’s gear arm as she fell. The force of her fall knocked the gear into drive and the tractor lurched into motion. Benoit spotted his sister hanging above the ground, struggling to free her shirt from the gear arm. Realizing she was at risk of being pulled under the massive wheels, Benoit dove underneath the moving vehicle to push his sister out of harm’s way. He held her in place with one arm as he frantically tried to keep up with the forward momentum of the tractor. The noise of the engine drowned out their cries for help. Finally, another family member saw what was happening and rushed to shut down the machine. Both Benoit and his sister walked away from the accident unscathed.
Daryl Eckert, M.B.
On February 22, 2016, Andrew Daub, Darryl Eckert, Tim Harrison and Trevor Vanderhyden rescued two people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a defective boiler in Mitchell, Ontario. First on the scene, Mr. Eckert found one of the victims in a semi-conscious state. Mr. Harrison then arrived and helped Mr. Eckert carry the man out of the building. Responding to a radio call about the situation, Mr. Daub and Mr. Vanderhyden arrived at the gas-filled building and ran up to the second level, where they found the other victim foaming at the mouth. Strapping him to a wheeled office chair, Mr. Daub and Mr. Vanderhyden rolled the second victim to the top of the stairs and, with Mr. Harrison’s help, carried him to safety.
The Decorations awarded to Andrew Daub, Tim Harrison and Trevor Vanderhyden were presented previously.
Constable Jean-Philip Gagnon, M.B.
Constable Stéphane Veilleux, M.B.
On November 11, 2018, constables Jean-Philip Gagnon and Stéphane Veilleux of the Service de police de la Ville de Sherbrooke responded when a man threatened to blow up his home. When the officers entered the apartment, the man had barricaded himself in the bathroom, and flammable liquid was flowing under the door. The officers knocked on the door, asking the man to come out, but became alarmed when they heard him trying to light a lighter. With the risk of explosion imminent and the safety of the other building residents threatened, Constable Gagnon broke down the door and approached the man. Constable Veilleux restrained the man, after which Constable Gagnon finally arrested him.
Sergeant Derek King, M.B.
Surrey, British Columbia
On January 8, 2015, off-duty sergeant Derek King rescued two people from a burning house in Surrey, British Columbia. Observing smoke and flames coming from the rear of a residence, Sergeant King entered to find a disoriented woman just inside the door. Leading her out, he learned that there was a toddler still trapped inside. He re-entered the house in a low crawl beneath the heavy smoke, using his hands to guide him. Following the sounds of the child’s coughs and cries, he was able to locate the girl and carry her out of the residence.
Constable Guillaume Lapointe, M.B.
Spruce Grove, Alberta
On May 9, 2014, Constable Guillaume Lapointe pursued a suspect during an armed standoff in St. Paul, Alberta. After shooting a victim at a separate location, the assailant drove to the St. Paul RCMP detachment parking lot, where he fired multiple rounds at the building from inside his truck. Under threat of fire, Constable Lapointe quickly exited his police cruiser and took cover behind it before engaging the suspect with his weapon in an attempt to protect his fellow officers. After the exchange of fire, Constable Lapointe approached the truck to verify that the assailant had been neutralized, effectively defusing the dangerous situation.
Frédéric Lord, M.B.
On August 31, 2017, Frédéric Lord saved a man from drowning at Old Orchard Beach in Maine, United States of America. Realizing that he could no longer see his uncle in the water, he quickly swam to the last place he saw him. After swimming some 50 metres, he spotted his uncle in the distance, on his back, being overwhelmed by the waves. Once alongside the distressed victim, Mr. Lord grabbed him under the arm and swam on his back to the shore, keeping his uncle’s head above water so that he could breathe.
Adam Matson, M.B.
On July 7, 2017, in Morinville, Alberta, Adam Matson risked his life to protect three people in the retirement home where he was working. Very early in the morning, Mr. Matson was alerted when an individual armed with a baseball bat broke a window and entered the dining room, where the three residents were located. Mr. Matson lured the assailant out of the room and into the hallway so that the residents could move to safety. He then hid in order to phone for help. The police arrived and the assailant, caught between them and Mr. Matson, had to surrender.
Robert David James McDonald, M.B.
Duncan, British Columbia
On May 28, 2016, Robert McDonald rescued an elderly man from a burning guesthouse in Duncan, British Columbia. The fire began in the building’s chimney and rapidly spread towards the roof and bedrooms on the top floor. Mr. McDonald ran upstairs, banging on the two bedroom doors and alerting the guests to leave the premises. As the flames rapidly spread to the lower level of the inn, Mr. McDonald convinced an elderly man with mobility issues to leave his room and escorted him down the stairs. Despite the intensity of the fire, Mr. McDonald removed his own shoes for the man to wear and guided the victim towards the exit before the inn was completely engulfed in flames.
Amber Morrill, M.B.
On May 15, 2019, Amber Morrill rescued her baby from a house fire in Morinville, Alberta. Woken by an intense heat, Ms. Morrill opened her bedroom door to see the staircase completely engulfed in flames. She immediately ran down the hallway to grab her infant before hurrying back to her bedroom to call 911. As she crouched low to the ground to avoid the rising smoke, her bathroom window exploded and black smoke quickly filled the room. When her baby started struggling to breathe, she opened her bedroom window and screamed for help. A bystander advised her to jump, so she carefully held her baby to her chest and jumped from the second floor, landing on her back just as flames burst through her bedroom window. Bystanders assisted in dragging Ms. Morrill and her child to safety as emergency services arrived.
Kenneith Nanooch, M.B.
Fort Vermillion, Alberta
Samuel Nanooch, M.B.
Fort Vermillion, Alberta
On February 23, 2017, Kenneith Nanooch and Samuel Nanooch rescued two men from a burning cabin in Fort Vermilion, Alberta. A wood-burning stove was accidentally knocked over inside a cabin, causing flames to rapidly spread and completely engulf the structure. Spotting the burning cabin from his neighbouring residence, Kenneith immediately woke up his brother Samuel and they both hurried to the scene. As they entered the burning cabin, they noticed that a propane tank was dangerously close to exploding. Locating the two victims, Kenneith and Samuel grabbed hold of both men and quickly pulled them to safety as emergency services arrived.
Danick Paquet, M.B.
Near midnight on January 19, 2020, Danick Paquet noticed a burning house as he drove through Chandler, Quebec. Danick pulled over and approached the building to alert the occupants. A woman in the doorway frantically told him that her mother was still sleeping inside. Danick made his way to the mother’s room, noticing wheelchair ramps along the way. Suspecting that the mother was likely non-ambulatory, he asked about a wheelchair and was told that there was one in the basement. Danick assessed the fire and determined that he could retrieve the chair with enough time left to escape. As the flames grew, he made his way down to the basement alone and returned with the chair. He then lifted the mother into it and rushed out of the building. The entire structure was consumed by the fire shortly afterwards.
Andrew Pearson, M.B.
On January 30, 2016, Andrew Pearson saved a local boy and his father from drowning in Jalisco, Mexico. While at the beach with his family, Mr. Pearson noticed a boy being pulled under the water by the heavy tide. He swam out against the crashing surf to reach the drowning boy and brought him to shore with the help of bystanders. The boy’s father also tried to assist in the rescue, but he, too, was overcome by the waves. Despite his exhaustion, Mr. Pearson went out a second time to retrieve the panicked man and pull him safely to shore.
Edward Reese, M.B.
On February 9, 2017, correctional peace officer Edward Reese saved the life of a colleague during a vicious attack at the Calgary Correctional Centre. CPO Reese witnessed his colleague being punched, kicked and dragged into a cell by two inmates. He immediately ran into the cell, placing himself between the attackers and the victim. As he attempted to control the situation, the inmates beat CPO Reese with a pair of handcuffs, landing several blows to his face. Fending off his attackers, CPO Reese then grabbed the victim by the vest and backed out of the cell, securing the inmates inside.
Michael Rouzes, M.B.
Cape St. George, Newfoundland & Labrador
On August 25, 2014, Michael Rouzes attempted to rescue two victims from drowning in the rough waters off Cape St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador. Arriving on the beach, Mr. Rouzes spotted a teenaged girl and her father struggling in the water approximately nine metres from shore. He immediately swam out to the girl, first calming her down and then pulling her back to shore. The strong waves pounded against them, making it difficult to pull themselves out of the water and up over the rocks. On their third attempt, a wave pushed them out of the water and Mr. Rouzes helped the girl traverse the rocks to a safer location. He then tied a rope around himself and went back into the water to retrieve the girl’s father, located 6 metres from shore. Sadly, the father did not survive.
Patrick Roy, M.B.
On October 7, 2018, Patrick Roy saw his two friends accidentally capsize their canoe while on a hunting trip on Lake Alida, near Chibougamau, Quebec. Almost immediately after falling in, the two men struggled to keep each other afloat. Unfortunately, only one of them was wearing a life jacket. Patrick heard their cries for help and swam out nearly 50 metres to find one of them panicked, exhausted and barely able to hold the other man above the water. Patrick quickly took over, freeing his friend to make his way to shore. With his muscles worn out by the long, cold swim and the effort of bearing the weight of his friend, Patrick feared for his life. Yet he refused to quit and held on to his friend until he became unresponsive. Realizing that he would be in the same state soon if he did not let go, Patrick made the heartbreaking but necessary decision to leave his friend behind. Patrick and the other man eventually made it back to shore, but their friend did not survive.
Chris Scott, M.B.
St. Albert, Alberta
On April 16, 2018, off-duty firefighter Chris Scott saved a man from a burning vehicle in Edmonton, Alberta. After witnessing a three-vehicle collision, he parked his truck and, without hesitating, approached the scene and the vehicle. Mr. Scott tried several times to get inside the vehicle but was pushed back by the flames and smoke. He finally opened one of the back doors, as the man inside cried for help. He crawled onto the backseat, grabbed the man under the arms and pulled him between the front seats. He then pulled him out of the vehicle with the help of a bystander and got him out of harm’s way.