Rescue Award of Merit

Rescue Award of Merit

The Lifesaving Society's Rescue Award of Merit may be awarded to Lifesaving Society award holders for aquatic or non-aquatic rescues. Non-award holders may be eligible, but only for water-related rescues. Lifeguards and instructors who perform rescues in the course of their employment are not normally eligible.

The criteria for deciding whether to recognize an individual include:

  • ability to recognize the emergency
  • willingness to intervene
  • evidence of good judgment

Neither the outcome (successful or not) nor the degree of risk involved are criteria in the decision. Timeliness is an issue. Normally, recognition is only given within 24 months of the rescue.

Send a written nomination (PDF version / Word version) outlining the facts to the Society's office. Include information concerning when, where and under what circumstances the rescue occurred; what the rescuer (or others) did; the correct name, address and telephone number of the nominee(s).

Once approved, the Rescue Award of Merit certificate and a citation are prepared. Normally, we look for a public presentation opportunity like the Society's Annual Meeting, a school assembly, town or city council meeting.

Rescue Award of Merit recipients embody the Lifesaving Society's motto - Whomsoever you see in distress, recognize in him a fellow man / Quemqunque miserum videris hominem scias

Read about our Rescue Award of Merit heroes below.

Evan Spindler - London

Evan Spindler lives with his family in a home on the west side of the Thames River. He was at home on the afternoon of March 12, 2013, when he noticed a wheelchair-bound man who had become stuck when he rolled to the edge of the river to feed the geese and ducks.

Although though the victim was familiar with this riverbank - he visited it daily - he was not expecting the water to be so deep and his wheelchair slid and got stuck. He was lap-deep in freezing water, trying to stay warm, and if his wheelchair were to flip, he'd be in deadly trouble.

Evan, a Bronze Cross candidate at the time, noticed the man struggling. He told a family friend to call 911 and ran from his house to help. Evan crossed the Blackfriars Bridge, ran down a flooded path and waded into the water. He helped the victim out of the water and onto dry land where EMS had arrived. The police took the unharmed victim home. By the next day, the water had receded and the wheelchair-bound man was back at his favourite place feeding the birds: "It's nice that people care," he said later, "the geese sure didn't."

For bravely rushing to the aid of someone in need, the Lifesaving Society is honoured to present its Rescue Award of Merit to Evan Spindler.


Evan Spindler

The Lifesaving Society presented it's Rescue Award of Merit to Evan Spindler on March 28, 2014 in Windsor, Ontario.

Sylwia Rozner - mississauga

Sylwia Rozner and her boyfriend were in Cuba in October, 2013, walking through the lobby of their resort hotel when they heard a woman yelling "my baby is dying!"

The woman was panicked and confused. She handed her 18-month-old son to a hotel employee who began shaking him. That's when Sylwia, a Lifesaving Society Standard First Aid holder, stepped in. Sylwia took the child away - the hotel employee actually asked her if she knew what she was doing - and assessed that the child wasn't breathing and had a high fever.

Sylwia Rozner

The Lifesaving Society presented it's Rescue Award of Merit to Sylwia Rozner on March 28, 2014 in Windsor, Ontario.


First, Sylwia performed back blows and compressions. On the second cycle the child spit something up and began breathing. Sylwia then took the child to another room, filled the tub with lukewarm water and prepared an ice compress for his forehead and neck.

With no medical staff on-site, Sylwia and a busboy took the child by golf cart to the resort next door where a nurse was present. But the nurse assumed it was allergies and wanted to give an injection. Again, Sylwia intervened, having already established that the child was given Tylenol and Advil for his fever. She stopped the nurse. An emergency crew arrived almost an hour later to take the child to hospital where he spent five days recovering from pneumonia.

For wisely intervening and saving a child in a life-threatening emergency, the Lifesaving Society is honoured to present its Rescue Award of Merit to Sylwia Rozner.

Emma Hughes, Megan Lavoie and Christopher Porter - welland

National Lifeguards Emma Hughes, Meghan Lavoie and Christopher Porter were participating in an in-service training session at the St. George outdoor pool in Welland on June 8, 2013. It was the beginning of the season, and that awkward time of year when the water temperature and air temperature are a bit too cold for comfort.

During a break indoors, they noticed that one of the guards didn't look well; her skin was purplish and when Emma asked if she was OK, she responded lethargically, unsure of her own name or where she was. They knew she was in trouble.

Having worked together before, the three lifeguards knew instinctively how to work as a team. Chris called 911 while Emma and Meghan found blankets. Meghan helped the victim remove her wet clothes. They used the blankets and their own body heat to try and warm her up, and they encouraged her to stay conscious, doing everything possible to keep her awake and alert.

EMS arrived and took the victim to hospital where she was diagnosed and treated for hypothermia. The doctor later confirmed that the rescuers' actions were crucial to the victim having no lasting damage, and to her being released the same day.

For their ability to recognize and act in a life-threatening situation, the Lifesaving Society is honoured to present its Rescue Award of Merit to Emma Hughes, Meghan Lavoie and Christopher Porter.


Emma Hughes

The Lifesaving Society presented it's Rescue Award of Merit to Emma Hughes on March 28, 2014 in Windsor, Ontario.

Geoffrey Midgely - Brantford

On the morning of January 17, 2013, eighteen-year-old Geoffrey Midgley went to the gym to workout. While doing leg strengthening, he noticed in the mirror that a crowd of people were gathered across the room. Curious, he walked over and saw an unconscious man on the ground.

Someone was doing compressions, but poorly. Others were already on the phone with 911 so Geoffrey, a National Lifeguard, offered to help and took over. The gym had no first aid equipment, or AED, and none of the staff were trained in CPR. What luck, Geoffrey thought - my first emergency rescue and there's not a single piece of equipment around. Nonetheless, Geoffrey started compressions and just kept pushing. In the five to ten minutes it took for EMS to arrive he did well over 200 compressions. Geoffrey was shaking when the paramedics took over CPR. They also applied a defibrillator and by the time the victim was removed to the ambulance, he was breathing again, thanks in no small part to Geoffrey's quick and diligent actions.

Later, Geoffrey learned that the victim had suffered a heart attack and underwent bypass surgery before recovering. His wife later called and thanked him.

For selflessly assuming responsibility in a life-threatening emergency, the Lifesaving Society is honoured to present its Rescue Award of Merit to Geoffrey Midgley.

Geoffrey Midgely

The Lifesaving Society presented it's Rescue Award of Merit to Geoffery Midgely on March 28, 2014 in Windsor, Ontario.

Thomas Slek - Brampton

Thomas Slek was on a plane home from Poland on September 13, 2013. Behind him, a man was having obvious difficulty breathing. A few hours later, Thomas heard the man's son yelling "dad, are you OK?" The man was locked in the washroom and not responding.

The flight attendants managed to remove the door and get him out, eventually getting the victim's limp body into the aisle and onto the floor. As soon as Thomas, a Lifesaving Instructor, realized the situation was serious, he pulled out the rescue kit in his backpack and went over. He announced that he is a lifeguard, and joined another passenger and an attendant in doing compressions. He also sent someone to get the AED, which Thomas applied, but it advised "no shock."  In fact the AED advised "no shock" until the fifth cycle, and then it advised no further shocks.

Thomas and the two others didn't give up, continuing CPR efforts for one-and-a-half hours in the severely limited space. The plane eventually made an emergency landing in Newfoundland, where an emergency crew boarded and took over. The paramedics faced the same situation - they did CPR but the AED did not advise a shock.

Thomas stayed on board to speak with officials. The son and daughter-in-law of the victim, along with members of the crew, thanked Thomas and the other rescuers for their valiant efforts.

For having the courage to intervene and taking a leadership role, the Lifesaving Society is honoured to present its Rescue Award of Merit to Thomas Slek.

Thomas Slek

The Lifesaving Society presented it's Rescue Award of Merit to Thomas Slek on March 28, 2014 in Windsor, Ontario.

Megan D'Orazio and Shauna Ryce - Hamilton

Megan D'Orazio and Shauna Ryce were at a club in Hamilton on the night of August 2, 2013. They were there to see a friend's band. Having worked a lifeguard shift earlier that day, and knowing they had another the next day, both were drinking water. At around midnight they noticed a commotion near the bar and went over to investigate. Amid the crowd they discovered a downed, unconscious man, and a kind woman performing compressions - on the victim's stomach.

Megan and Shauna, both National Lifeguards, announced that they were certified to perform CPR and took over the rescue. They assessed the victim's vitals - he had no pulse - and started two-person CPR. Megan did compressions while Shauna opened his airway and did breaths. After a few cycles, the victim started breathing and jolted up awake with eyes glossed over. The rescuers reassessed his condition and treated him for shock. But the victim was scared, disoriented and seemingly unaware of what had just happened. EMS arrived and took him outside, but he refused to go to hospital and sauntered off into the night, unaware that his life was just saved.

For their willingness to intervene and their proficiency in performing CPR, the Lifesaving Society is honoured to present its Rescue Award of Merit to Megan D'Orazio and Shauna Ryce.


Megan Dorazio

The Lifesaving Society presented it's Rescue Award of Merit to Megan D'Orazio on March 28, 2014 in Windsor, Ontario.

Breanna Pede - Sarnia

Eleven-year-old Breanna Pede pulled a friend to safety from the deep end of an outdoor pool on July 24, 2011, the first of her two rescues that week. The promising lifesaver was at home four days later with her friend Megan, swimming in the family's above-ground pool. Breanna turned to talk to her older sister, Becky, who was in the hot tub with friends. When Breanna turned back around, Megan was gone - she had suffered a seizure in the pool.

Breanna looked under the water with her goggles and saw a motionless Megan at the bottom of the pool. Breanna is a good swimmer, and even though she wore a cast up to her knee at the time - due to a broken foot - she quickly swam to Megan and carried her bridal style toward the pool steps. Once she had Megan above water, however, the diminutive Breanna could not lift her out of the pool. She yelled to Becky for help and she and her friends helped get Megan out. Megan was breathing but her eyes were closed.

Breanna ran inside to alert her father and to get a towel to put under Megan's head, breaking her cast in the process. They put Megan in recovery position and called Megan's mother, who lived close by. Megan began to recover on the way to the hospital but remained there for two days.


Breanna Pede

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Breanna Pede on March 22, 2013.

Felicia Marceau - Hanmer

Seventeen-year-old Felicia Marceau finished a lifeguarding shift at Capreol Beach near Sudbury on June 23, 2012, and was with her parents en route to Norman Beach, looking for a launch pad for the family boat. When they arrived, a couple notified them of a capsized fishing boat, some 800 metres out - an older man and his dog were tipped overboard.

The couple had already called 911, so Felicia, a Lifesaving Instructor, took immediate action. She swam out to the boat where she found the victim clinging to its side. The victim was nervous but reasonably calm. He wore no lifejacket and was, admittedly, afraid of the water and a weak swimmer. He seemed more concerned about the safety of his dog, which Felicia assured him was already on shore. She told him that she was a lifeguard and reassured him that she could help. Felicia hooked the man under his arm with one hand and grabbed the boat with her other hand. She carried him and the slowly filling boat to the opposite shore since it was closer. Once ashore, the man hugged Felicia and declared her his hero. Local authorities agreed, and declared that he was lucky she was there and able to perform the rescue.


Felicia Marceau

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Felicia Marceau on March 22, 2013.

Siobhan Best, Michael Lima - Brampton

Siobhan Best and Michael Lima, both employees of the City of Brampton, happened to be in Chingucousy Park on April 17, 2012 when a member of the tennis club came running and screaming "call 911!" His tennis partner had just collapsed on the court.

Michael Lima & Siobhan Best


Michael, who holds his AED accreditation, ran to get the defibrillator unit while Siobhan, an EFA and AED holder, ran into the tennis bubble. Siobhan found the victim on the floor. He was non-responsive. His skin was grey and cold. He had no pulse. Michael arrived with the AED half a minute later and placed the pads on the victim's chest. But just then, the victim gasped, and his friend, who mistakenly thought the victim was breathing again, told the rescuers to back off. Siobhan and Michael knew better. Michael began compressions and involved the victim's friend by having him do breaths. Siobhan took over compressions when Michael needed a break, continuing so for almost 10 minutes until EMS arrived.

Firefighters were first on the scene. They took over CPR until the victim was able to breathe with assistance. The victim was rushed to hospital where he received triple-bypass surgery and survived.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Michael Lima and Siobhan Best on March 22, 2013.

Jordon Rowe - Ripley

On the last day of the 2011/2012 school year, several friends, including Jordon Rowe, gathered at a local Kincardine pier before parting ways for the summer. They were taking turns jumping off the pier and enjoying some fun in the water when one boy noticed that another might be in trouble: "I think he's calling for help," Jordon heard him say.

The water was deep and the victim, a weak swimmer, had a cramp after jumping in the water. He was panicking. Fourteen-year-old Jordon, a Bronze Cross holder, reacted immediately. He jumped in the water and began telling the boy to calm down, all the while trying to avoid the struggling victim. But the victim managed to get close to Jordon and, in his fear, tried to climb him in an effort to save himself. Jordon went down and under him to escape and then resurfaced, again trying to calm the victim down until he finally submitted.

Meanwhile, the various adult bystanders on shore stood and watched. Jordon pulled the victim to shore and helped him out of the water. The appreciative victim thanked Jordon for saving him.


Jordon Rowe

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jordon Rowe on March 22, 2013.

Derek Krauss - Markham

Derek Krauss was driving home with his seven-year-old daughter on April 7, 2012, when he spotted a man kneeling down beside a brush fire that seemed out of control, in a large backyard field about 100 yards from the road. Derek turned the car around, explaining to his daughter that when someone is in trouble, you have to help.

When Derek pulled over, the man was no longer in sight. He ensured that his daughter was safe and called his wife to ask her to come to the scene. He then took his phone and approached the man who had, at this point, collapsed. Derek assessed that the victim was non-responsive, called 911 and began CPR, stopping only to move the victim away from the fire, which was getting too close. Derek did compressions for almost 20 minutes until EMS arrived. The man was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The family of the victim later called Derek to express their gratitude, and explained that he had a previous heart condition that led to the collapse.


Derek Krauss

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Derek Krauss on March 22, 2013.

Derek McInroy, Troy McInroy - Belleville

Derek and Troy McInroy were enjoying time on the beach with their family in the Dominican Republic on March 20, 2012. The brothers were frolicking on their boards in the water, where the waves were big because of the fierce winds. That's when they noticed an elderly couple swimming several metres away, struggling to keep above the high waves as they were pulled out to sea by the strong current.

Derek, 15, and Troy, 13, paddled toward the couple, who they could now see were definitely in trouble. They stayed on their boards and tried to help them, but the couple was too tired at this point to even hang onto the boards, so the boys concentrated on keeping them afloat amid the wind and waves. Meanwhile, on the beach, the boys' mother Helene heard Derek's voice calling and saw his arms waving. While she knew her boys were strong swimmers - both take swimming lessons - she was nonetheless scared at seeing them in the surf calling for help.


Derek & troy McInroy

It took approximately 15 minutes for the resort's rescue staff to come out and assist in the rescue. The couple was pulled to shore unharmed other than having swallowed a lot of water, thanks to the efforts of the Derek and Troy. In the evening, the couple returned to thank the brothers for risking their lives to save them.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Derek and Troy McInroy on March 22, 2013.

Stefan Goetz-Parent, Mark Hou, Steve Moreland, Christina Tacconelli, Emma Valent - Vaughan

Mark Hou et al

Mark Hou and Stefan Goetz-Parent, both National Lifeguards, were in the entrance of the Dufferin Clark Community Centre on December 22, 2011 waiting to greet members of the aquatic staff who were arriving for the Christmas party. While they waited, a man came running, asking if anyone knew CPR - a member of the seniors club, who were also having a party, had collapsed.


Mark ran to the room where the victim was located and Stefan ran for the AED. When the AED alarm sounded, Christina Tacconelli and Emma Valent, also lifeguards, were in an office nearby and followed the crowd to the scene. Office Administrator Steve Moreland joined the rescue effort, too. On scene, Mark loosened the victim's clothing and assessed his vitals - he was not breathing. Stefan, Steve and Christina prepped the AED, which indicated a shock required. Emma helped manage the crowd, including the victim's frightened wife and mother. After delivering a shock, the AED indicated to begin CPR - the victim's pulse had returned. For several minutes, Mark and Steve took turns doing compressions and Stefan did breaths. Christina managed the crowd and Emma left to meet EMS. The victim's pulse grew stronger and he began breathing. EMS took the victim to hospital where he made a complete recovery, returning weeks later to thank the rescuers who saved his life.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Stefan Goetz-Parent, Mark Hou, Steve Moreland, Christina Tacconelli, Emma Valent on March 22, 2013.

Mark Thomas - Toronto

Mark Thomas, a volunteer coach for his high school rugby team, was on the field during a game in April 2010 when one of the opposing team's players was tackled and remained face down in the dirt after the play was over. Unbeknownst to those around, the victim had a prior condition that led to the incident: the pressure of the ball pressing into his chest when he was tackled sent him into cardiac arrest. He lay critically injured and unconscious.

Mark, a National Lifeguard, quickly alerted his first-aid man and the two ran to the downed player. Suspecting a possible spinal injury, Mark looked for fluid in the victim's ears and for abnormal bruising around the neck. Finding no obvious signs of injury, the two carefully turned the victim over and began two-person CPR for approximately eight minutes.


Mark Thomas

When paramedics arrived they told the rescuers to continue CPR while they set up the AED. The 16-year-old victim was revived on the way to hospital, which was likely a result of the immediate and appropriate rescue techniques applied by Mark and his associate. Mark knew exactly what to do and didn't think twice about how to help.

Kathy Fisher - guelph

Kathy Fisher was on break during a training course for her employer on October 14, 2011 when she came across a bystander assisting an injured elderly woman outside the farmer's market at Jackson Square in Hamilton, Ontario. The victim wasn't breathing and had suffered a large cut on her head.

Kathy Fisher

Kathy, an NLS Examiner and Lifesaving Society Area Chair, identified herself as a first-aid responder. She took out her pocket mask and together with the bystander, began CPR. It quickly became apparent that the bystander didn't know CPR. Kathy instructed a security guard who claimed to have lifesaving skills to take over compressions. Together they delivered approximately 15 cycles of two-rescuer CPR. Meanwhile, Kathy, with blood all over her, also directed another bystander on what to tell EMS and controlled the growing crowd.

Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter and took over the scene. Unfortunately the victim had suffered a heart attack and did not survive. Kathy, who became a lifeguard in 1989, is no stranger to the risks and realities of lifesaving interventions and proudly exemplifies the Society's motto: "whomsoever you see in distress, recognize in him a fellow man."

Corey Ziraldo and Brittany Thomson - Niagara Falls

Corey Ziraldo was captaining his regularly scheduled jet boat tour on July 18, 2011 when a woman was swept off the shore and into the deadly current of the Niagara River. Her head was visible, bobbing in the water and drifting rapidly.

Corey Ziraldo

Corey, a fourteen-year tour veteran, and Brittany Thomson, a Lifesaving Instructor and first-year guide, immediately decided to take emergency procedures and attempt a rescue. With 32 passengers onboard, there was a great deal at stake. Corey maneuvered his boat toward the victim but her head kept being pulled underwater and Corey was worried she would come up under the boat. The current was too strong to utilize a lifesaving implement. On the fourth attempt the victim was sucked under once again, but on the fifth attempt the river gave her up. Brittany managed to get the unconscious woman onto the boat using a pike-pole and hook. Brittany tore ligaments in her foot in the process.

Once the victim was onboard Brittany began two-person CPR with one of the passengers and Corey put the boat into full throttle towards shore. Brittany performed perfectly landmarked compressions and the victim's pulse returned. Two passengers took over CPR while Brittany performed the required docking preparations. At the Lewiston dock they transferred the victim to emergency crews. Corey calmed his passengers, whose cooperation was outstanding. The victim made a full recovery and later thanked her rescuers.

Elijah Rumleski

Ten-year-old Elijah Rumleski was fishing with his sister Elisha and his Uncle Rick on June 10, 2011, along the banks of the Frederick House River near Connaught, Ontario. What was meant to be a leisurely day on the river turned frightening when Uncle Rick, who was baiting hooks at the time, slipped, stumbled and fell into the river hitting his head hard on a rock. The impact left him unconscious, face down in the water.

Both children went in after their uncle. The water wasn't deep but it was frigid, forcing Elisha to retreat to shore. Elijah also struggled but managed to turn his uncle over and get his head above water.  Then, using all of his strength, he pulled him back to shore where Elisha promptly covered him with her sweater to keep him warm.

A couple of bystanders who were nearby saw what was happening and called EMS. By the time emergency crews arrived, Rick had regained consciousness. Uncle Rick spent two days in hospital recovering before returning home.


Elijah Rumleski

Kaleb Aberle

Kaleb Aberle was on a canoe trip with his Scout troop in June 2010, paddling the Saugeen River in an area with a fast current and rapids. The group consisted of multiple canoes and everyone on the trip wore lifejackets. Suddenly one boat hit a rock and capsized, sending its three passengers - two Scouts and the father of one of them - into the water. While the father and one boy tried to right the vessel and gather the gear, the man's son was carried down river by the fast-moving current. The victim had also hit his knee on a rock, and he was a poor swimmer, making it even more difficult for him to recover.

While the trip leaders were across the river mobilizing a rescue, Kaleb decided to use his canoeing skills and experience to rescue the boy. He and his canoeing partner paddled quickly ahead with Kaleb at the stern. Kaleb deftly maneuvered the canoe, turning sharply to a ninety-degree angle and ramming into the shore. There, Kaleb had his partner at the bow hold them steady. When the victim approached, Kaleb used a lifejacket to reach out to him, pulled him in and took him safely to shore. He made sure he was OK, left him with a bystander and went to assist the father and other boy to right their canoe and gather their gear.


Kaleb Aberle

Erin trench, Andrew Mintz, Sara Kissik and Katie Langstaff - Mississauga

Erin Trench, a First Aid Examiner, was working the service desk at the Mississauga Valley Community Centre on the evening of April 4, 2011 when she received a call from the fitness centre where a man had collapsed on the squash court.



Erin immediately called Katie Langstaff, a National Lifeguard Examiner, who was on the pool deck. Katie grabbed her kit and headed for the gym where she found the victim on his back, VSA. Erin also sent Sara Kissick and Andrew Mintz to the scene, both experienced Examiners. Just as Katie went to do her first compression, Sara and Andrew arrived. Deferring to their experience, Katie handed off CPR to Sara and Andrew and ran to get the AED. When she passed Erin, Katie said "we need you"!

Meanwhile Sara and Andrew had begun CPR - Sara did compressions and Andrew did rescue breaths. Katie and Erin returned with the AED. The rescuers shocked the victim three times and continued CPR. Moments before EMS arrived, the victim's circulation returned and colour rose into his face. Erin managed the crowd while consoling the victim's frightened wife. Sara continued to assist emergency crews until the victim was taken to hospital. He had suffered a cardiac arrest and remained in hospital for almost two weeks. Later, he came back to thank his rescuers. One thing is certain: this tight-knit group of skilled lifesavers saved the man's life.

Eric post and Alex Post - Guelph

On August 7, 2011, 17-year-old Eric Post and his 15-year-old brother Alex were in Sweden on a bus with 50 other Canadian scouts on their way to the airport after participating in the World Scout Jamboree. Most were asleep - that is, until their bus was cut off by a transport truck, which it slammed into before being pushed to the side of the road.

Eric, who held his Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid at the time, awoke abruptly, wondering if he was in a dream. He grabbed the first kit that he always carried with him and began treating a nose-bleed victim before realizing that several people were injured. Eric called for Alex, a Bronze Medallion holder, to assist with triage before moving to the front of the bus where the driver had impacted his head on the steering wheel. Eric instructed someone to hold the driver's neck steady and worked his way toward the back of the bus. Over the next hour he and Alex went from row to row, administering first aid and enlisting the uninjured to assist the injured. Alex even encouraged everyone to sing scout songs as a way to keep calm.

When medics arrived they relied on Eric to direct them to the most severely injured. A handful of scouts were taken to hospital while the rest boarded another bus and went immediately to the airport to catch their flight home to Canada. The shaken and exhausted group slept, thankful that no one was seriously hurt.

Eric and Alex Post

Michael young - welland

Michael Young was relaxing on the couch in his River Road home on February 18, 2011, when he awoke to the sound of faint noises reverberating through the fireplace. He went outside to investigate and heard the distinct cries for help from a woman on the other side of the Welland River. Her 55-year-old boyfriend had fallen through the ice while trying to rescue her dog. The dog, meanwhile, had already saved itself.

Michael is the type of man who relished the idea of having an "Indiana Jones" moment, and with this valiant spirit he ran to his neighbour's house to borrow rope, left his daughter in their care and told them to call 911. He jumped in his truck and drove to the other side of the river, closer to the victim who had now been in the cold water for more than 10 minutes. Michael threw the rope out but the nearly frozen victim was unable to hold on - so much for the movie version. Michael lay down and slid himself out onto the ice, inching closer and closer to the victim until he was within arm's reach and the man was able to grasp the rope. Michael pulled him up and out of the water. He carefully dragged the victim back to shore where he lifted him over his shoulder and delivered him to the emergency crews that had just arrived.

The victim's core temperature was dangerously low, but thanks to Michael's quick response he fully recovered and later took Michael and his daughter out for dinner to say thank you.

Michael Young


Daniel Birkenbergs - Mississauga

Early on the morning of March 15, 2010, Daniel Birkenbergs was driving along Trafalgar Road in Mississauga on his way to teach a Swimming and Lifesaving Instructor course, when he came upon a car accident - a cargo van had rear-ended a small car, and a little girl laid motionless and bleeding at the scene.

The four-year-old victim had been riding in a car seat that was secured in the middle of the back seat. Upon impact, the car seat was forced forward between the front seats, allowing her distressed mother to remove her from the car. Daniel, a Lifesaving Society Examiner, pulled his car over immediately and grabbed a first-aid kit from the trunk. The victim was breathless and pulseless. By coincidence, Daniel wasn't driving his own car that day, and the first aid kit in the borrowed vehicle had a broken pocket mask and the gloves were so old they disintegrated. Still, he asked a bystander to help him perform two-person CPR. Daniel improvised by using several pieces of gauze as a barrier, eventually replacing the blood-soaked gauze with a triangular bandage. The breaths did not go in at first, but he was eventually able to ventilate. The two men continued their efforts for approximately 15 minutes until EMS arrived.


The victim regained her heart rhythm before EMS collared her, boarded her and transported her to hospital. Daniel visited the girl in hospital where, after several weeks, she made a full recovery.

Daniel Birkenbergs

Matthew Zawada - Aurora

Matthew Zawada, his girlfriend Jessica, and his brother Ryan, decided to play beach volleyball while on a family vacation in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in April 2010. During the course of play, another player dove for the ball, inadvertently crashing into 12-year-old Ryan's leg. With a giant clap, the weight of the player's body instantly broke Ryan's tibia and fibula. Ryan screamed and dropped.

Matt, a Lifesaving Instructor, immediately went to his brother. Ryan's leg lay sideways, bone protruding. He told Jessica to go get help and his parents. Matt comforted his brother, covered him with a towel and monitored his vitals. Their father arrived and Matt had him assist with realigning and immobilizing the leg. Jessica finally found someone who directed them to the resort's clinic. In the meantime, there was no ice, no splint, no first aid kit, and no help. An ambulance showed up on the beach; Matt helped the medics splint the leg. The ambulance, however, would not leave the resort before Matt's father filled out the proper paperwork and cleared payment.


Matthew Zawada

Meanwhile, Matt treated his mother for shock before returning to his brother in the ambulance. He found the medics were attempting to put an IV needle in Ryan's arm - it took them five tries. After more than half an hour, the ambulance left for hospital. There was no way the family was going to allow local doctors to operate. They had doctors apply a cast and took the next flight home. Ryan was operated on in Newmarket and came out with metal plates and nine pins in his leg.

Cristyna Deas - Oshawa

Cristyna Deas was in the car with her dad on October 30th, 2010. They were on their way to Home Depot in Oshawa when they noticed a crowd of people hovered around a truck and a woman performing CPR on a man. Cristyna's dad looked at her and asked "Can you help?" "Yes" she said.

Cristyna Deas


Cristyna, a Lifesaving Instructor, parked the car and offered to help. She confirmed that someone had called 911 and learned that no AEDs were available from any of the surrounding big-box stores. The wife of the victim was giving breaths and a young girl was doing compressions. Cristyna knew she wasn't pushing hard enough so she told them she was certified and took over from the young girl. The victim's wife went into shock and stopped. Another woman stepped forward to do rescue breaths. Cristyna could see the new rescuer was having difficulty so she recruited another bystander to take over compressions so she could properly reposition the victim's head. Cristyna took that moment to do a secondary assessment but found no vitals. She returned to compressions until paramedics arrived several minutes later. It took four shocks from the AED to bring the victim back.

The women exchanged contact information and two nights later, Cristyna received an email from the victim's wife. She said her husband was at home recovering from a mysterious heart problem that required him to have a pacemaker implanted.

Veronica and Celeste Cormier - Rockland

Mike Cormier and his two daughters, 13-year-old Veronica and nine-year-old Celeste, took time out from the heat on the afternoon of August 14, 2010 to swim in the family's in-ground pool. Mike, however, is not a strong swimmer. Sensibly, he held onto a flotation device and stayed in the shallow end while his daughters darted from end to end. Feeling comfortable, Mike let go of the float, but accidentally drifted into the deep end. He reached for the pool edge - and missed. He reached for the float - and missed. He screamed for help - but the girls were underwater.

When Celeste got out of the pool, she saw him splashing around and jumped back in to alert her sister. When Veronica approached her father, he involuntarily grabbed onto his daughter clinging for his life but she kicked him off. He stopped moving and sunk - eyes open and unconscious. Veronica dove down and mustered the strength to drag her dad to shallow water where she handed him off to Celeste and went to call 911. Fifty-two pound Celeste hung on to her dad yelling "dad, dad, grab the ladder!" until he regained consciousness and his hand shot out for the ladder.


Minutes later, emergency crews arrived. Mom, Joanne, was at work when she received the shocking call. Mike was released from hospital a few hours later, glad to be alive. He is no longer allowed in the pool without a lifejacket and a buddy.

Veronica and Celeste Cormier

Erika Koistinen - Blezard Valley

Erika Koistinen left a party shortly after midnight in the early hours of June 21, 2009. She and a friend were on their way to the store, driving along a northern highway near Sudbury, just south of her Blezard Valley home. Their car was almost struck by an oncoming vehicle, which ended up hitting the guard rail and coming to a stop.

Erika, a National Lifeguard, got out and cautiously approached the vehicle, unsure of the driver's state. But the driver started to pull away. Erika followed yelling at the driver to stop - but he didn't. She called 911 to report the erratic driver and got back in the car. They drove a little farther before coming upon a ghastly scene - this time the drunk driver had done real damage, hitting three teenagers who were walking along the highway. The teens were sent flying into a field. Erika ran to the first victim and rolled her over; she had blood in her mouth and didn't appear to have any vitals. She went to the second victim and began CPR. When EMS arrived, the paramedic joined her; he did breaths, she did compressions. They worked furiously on the victim but the damage was too great. The third victim was found shortly thereafter and also had suffered fatal injuries.


Erika Koistinen

Andy Coll, Danny Kallinteris, James Ebdon, Teresa Ceranowicz

Andy Coll happened to be in Oshawa on July 17, 2010 walking with his girlfriend in Lakeview Park during the Durham International Festival. He and others noticed someone flailing in the lake about 100 metres out. Panic and shock ran through the unmoving crowd; Andy, however, removed his socks and shoes and went in to the cold Lake Ontario water after the victim. He swam out past the rock shelf and felt a strong undertow. He couldn't see the victim, but eventually found the boy floating just under the water surface. Andy tried to keep the boy's head up with one arm while paddling with the other.

Meanwhile, Danny Kallinteris and pay-duty police officer constables James Ebdon and Teresa Ceranowicz approached the scene and entered the water. Danny reached Andy first and helped him hold the boy afloat. They handed him off to James, who managed to put the boy over his shoulder - Danny caught a glimpse of the boy's grim face; his eyes were open but he wasn't conscious. James began swimming back to shore but the fierce current was too much. "Push me forward!" he yelled, and Teresa, Danny and Andy did just that. Once on land, they placed the unconscious boy down on a blanket where a waiting paramedic took over. The boy made a full recovery thanks to what each of the rescuers describe as a total team effort.


Coll et al

Luc Dussault, Rachel Hembruff, Katelyn Barton - Ottawa

Luc Dussault, a Lifesaving Instructor, was waiting to teach a lesson at the Ottawa Athletic Club in July 2010, when he heard a cry for help coming from the shallow, non-guarded indoor pool. The person calling was the victim's friend and exercise partner - the victim was a man, not moving and face down in the water.

Dussault and Hembruff


Luc jumped in the water and with help from the friend, pulled the victim out. Luc assessed the victim: his eyes were open and moving but he didn't seem conscious. He grabbed a pocket mask and began CPR. Rachel Hembruff, another Lifesaving Instructor, appeared at the scene. She was bringing a group of kids in for lessons when she saw Luc doing CPR. She sent the kids back into the change room, called 911 and sent for the Club's AED. She and Luc performed two-person CPR until Katelyn Barton, an employee of the Club, arrived to assist. Katelyn had already cued the staff for arrival of the ambulance and began alternating compressions with Rachel while Luc focused on breaths; the victim's dentures were loose in his mouth, and his face was so rigid, it required all his strength to get a proper seal. The D-fib arrived minutes later and advised and delivered two shocks. They continued CPR until EMS arrived. EMS shocked the victim again, restoring his regular heart rhythm. He survived the heart attack, had a pacemaker installed, and plans to resume exercising.

Christina Angeloni - Waterloo

On September 23, 2009, Christina Angeloni was in the car with her mother on their way home after Christina's first day of work at the pool. They noticed a car at the side of the road and a man on the ground. "Should we pull over?" her mom asked. Christina said yes. An off-duty firefighter had put the man in semi-prone position. The victim's wife had called 911 but remained in the car, scared.

Christina, a National Lifeguard, assessed the victim and determined there was no breathing and no pulse. She turned him on his back and began compressions while her mom helped by checking the victim's pulse and monitored breathing. Christina completed three cycles before firefighters arrived and took over. When the paramedics arrived, she gave them the details as they administered an AED and stabilized the victim before taking him to hospital.

Sadly, the victim succumbed to the heart attack later in hospital. But the victim's wife was deeply appreciative of Christina's actions; in a letter, the woman expressed how thankful she was for Christina's efforts that day.


Christina Angeloni

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Christina Angeloni on March 26, 2010.

Jonathon Hallett, Melissa Dunbar, Nathan Wanuch - Niagara Falls

Jon Hallett & Melissa Dunbar

Craig Hallett joined his son and others for a pick-up basketball game at Brock University on January 25, 2010, but soon collapsed on the court face first. His son, Jonathon, a National Lifeguard, responded and found him wheezing and unconscious. But he soon stopped breathing altogether.

Jonathon flipped his dad over onto his back and began compressions while his girlfriend, Melissa Dunbar, also a lifeguard, performed breaths. A few minutes later, Nathan Wanuch, an off-duty lifeguard, appeared on the scene with an AED, which he had grabbed as soon as he noticed there was a problem. The AED advised and administered a shock. Craig still was not breathing so they kept up CPR for several more minutes until he began breathing - faintly - on his own. When he was conscious enough to speak, Craig asked what had happened and eagerly inquired when they would be starting the second half! The rescuers checked Craig for further injury and monitored his breathing until paramedics arrived. Nathan and Melissa stayed behind to answer questions while Jonathon accompanied his dad to hospital, where he made a full recovery.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jonathon Hallett, Melissa Dunbar and Nathan Wanuch on March 26, 2010.

Stephanie Morgan - Brampton

Stephanie Morgan was on vacation in North Carolina with her family; it was early in July of 2009. They had set up on a quiet part of the beach and felt lucky to be close to the water. But the reason the area of beach was so quiet was that it fronted a section of water with a fast and dangerous rip current. Stephanie's dad, Graham, found this out the hard way when he went for a swim; he couldn't swim back to shore and had to get Stephanie to pass him a body board, which brought him in.

Later, Stephanie heard her dad calling again: "get your boogie board!" Someone else was caught in the current bobbing up and down in a panic. Stephanie, a Lifesaving Instructor and NLS guard, grabbed her board and ran into the water. She managed to pass her board to the struggling victim and instructed him to swim sideways, knowing perfectly well that you never swim directly to shore in a rip current. The victim followed Stephanie's instructions, swam with the current for five to 10 metres where it finally freed him from its grasp. Stephanie and Graham swam up to him and assisted him to shore.

The experience was a first for Stephanie, who found herself calm in the face of danger, although she'd definitely had enough of the beach for one day!

Stephanie Morgan

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Stephanie Morgan on March 26, 2010.

Alan Christie - Ottawa

In August 2008 Alan Christie rescued his brother after a dangerous tubing accident on a Muskoka lake. A year later, in August 2009, Alan found himself in the middle of another crisis. He and his friends were in Algonquin Park driving to his family cottage. About 20 km from the west end of park, a group of motorcyclists overtook them dangerously on the left. One of the bikes overcorrected while steering and flipped, throwing the rider onto the highway shoulder while the other riders, unaware, continued on.

Alan Christie


The female rider tried to stand up but fell right back down. Alan, a Society First Aid Instructor, pulled over to help. He assessed her injuries and sent his friend to get the first aid kit. Suspecting a spinal, he immobilized the woman, treated her for shock and worked on what appeared to be a broken leg, although the severe road rash seemed to cause her the most pain and she was more worried about the damage to her bike.

The woman's husband, also a rider, had by this time noticed her absence and doubled back. A park ranger arrived 20 minutes later with a cervical collar and EMS arrived after 45 minutes. Alan helped the paramedics board the victim, who stayed fully conscious throughout. Ironically, the victim was only 45 minutes from home after a week-long ride.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Alan Christie on March 26, 2010.

Megan McCaffrey - Toronto

Megan McCaffrey was walking to school on April 17, 2009 when she noticed a woman lying on the ground with a few people around her yelling, not knowing what to do. Megan, a National Lifeguard, dropped her bags and began assessing the elderly woman. The victim was not breathing and had no pulse, so Megan started CPR.

Megan McCaffrey

Someone called EMS, which arrived three to four minutes later, but in the meantime, the woman began breathing on her own as a result of Megan's CPR. EMS took over and continued working to clear the woman's airway, which was partially blocked as a result of her vomiting during CPR. Megan spent an hour afterward with police relaying details of the incident. It was raining and she was totally soaked, so a police officer drove her to school. On the way, a call came in to let Megan know the victim was in stable condition.

Having experienced incidents on the pool deck before, Megan always wondered how she would react to an incident outside the workplace. She surprised even herself with how calm she was throughout; her instincts led her and her pulse rate, she says, barely rose.

Megan McCaffrey received the Canadian Humane Association's Canada Bravery Award from the Lifesaving Society's Patron, The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, in October 2009. The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Megan McCaffrey on March 26, 2010.

Matt Major, Brad Major, Kyle Schmeler - Sundridge

The public wharf in Sundridge is a popular place in summer, and Sunday June 21, 2009 was just such a day. One would-be water reveller was Stephen Boyes, but an unfortunate misjudgment while diving in from the wharf caused him to enter the water in too vertical a position and strike his head on the bottom, instantly breaking his neck.

Friends Brad Major, Matt Major and Kyle Schmeler immediately realized something was wrong when Stephen did not surface. Brad quickly jumped in and found Stephen's body beneath the surface. He was barely conscious. Seeing Brad with the body, Matt and Kyle jumped in to assist. Kyle suspected a neck injury and focused on immobilizing the victim as the three men carefully lifted him to the wharf. They sent a bystander to call 911 and treated Stephen for shock until EMS arrived. While severely injured from the dive, Stephen Boyes was alive. Had it not been for the rapid response of these three men, he likely would have drowned.

Kyle Schmeler & Matt Major

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Matt Major, Brad Major and Kyle Schmeler on March 26, 2010.

Julie Leeming - Bracebridge

In February of 2009, Julie Leeming borrowed her dad's snowmobile so she and a friend could ride it around on the frozen lake outside her Bracebridge home. They quickly realized their joy riding might be too dangerous. Julie's father, David, came out to help put the machine away while Julie returned the house to open the garage. In the course of turning the snowmobile around, however, David flipped it.

Julie Leeming

Julie, a National Lifeguard, looked out and saw her dad lying on the ice about 15 ft. away from the overturned snowmobile. She ran out to help him and had her friend call 911. David was gasping, bleeding and disoriented. Julie assessed his vitals, which were weak, and considered the possibility of a spinal injury. David tried to get up, but Julie kept him still and calm, asking him questions to keep him alert. Scarily, in his state, he didn't recognize her. Neighbours brought coats for her to use to cover him. It was 45 minutes before EMS reached him, at which point he was taken to hospital and eventually airlifted to a Toronto hospital. Julie gave a full report and accompanied her dad.

In hospital, doctors prepared the family for the worst case scenario, but David, in spite of multiple severe injuries including brain bleeding, overcame his wounds to make a full recovery.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Julie Leeming on March 26, 2010.

Tara Vanderlinden - Ottawa

Tara Vanderlinden

Tara Vanderlinden was on a plane to the Netherlands to begin a vacation on April 28, 2009. Half way into the flight, an announcement requested any medical personnel to report to the rear galley. Tara, a Lifesaving Society Examiner, grabbed her backpack, which contained her own first aid kit, and went to the rear of the plane to investigate.

She identified herself as a trained rescuer and moved to assist a woman lying unconscious in the aisle. As Tara directed people to clear space, the woman had a seizure. Tara supported her head and ensured her airway was clear. The woman's breathing was shallow, so Tara put her in the recovery position and applied an oxygen mask. She instructed an attendant to find out if the victim was flying with anyone and if her carry-on luggage contained medical information, which it did - a glucose monitor. When Tara tested her, the levels were low enough to cause severe damage.

The captain informed her they could not turn back, so Tara asked that a doctor be ready at the airport. In the meantime, Tara knew she had to bring the woman's glucose levels up so she improvised by spreading honey inside the woman's lip. She repeated this and monitored the victim's levels for almost four hours. The victim was in and out of consciousness for the duration. When they landed, paramedics were waiting. Tara provided a report and, while waiting for her luggage, was applauded by the other passengers. The airline later phoned to say the woman was all right.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Tara Vanderlinden on March 26, 2010.

William Green - Stouffville

William Green and his family were enjoying another day of camping at Kearney Lake in Algonquin Park in July 2009, when Will heard sounds of distress coming from the water. Will, who had completed his Bronze Cross just two weeks prior, ran to investigate with his dad Bill (a former firefighter) and discovered a young male out in the lake - flailing. The victim had walked out on a sandbar that ended precipitously, while the others in his group were in a canoe with no lifejackets, and still more of them screamed from shore. Then, a second young man rushed into the water from the opposite bank to try and help.

Will and his dad grabbed lifejackets and went to their canoe. The experienced campers already had reserve rope attached to the bow as they paddled out. Will yelled to the would-be rescuer not to touch the drowning victim because he would pull him under - and that's exactly what happened. Now both were in trouble. Keeping their distance, Will threw a lifejacket to the first victim who grabbed it; then he threw the rope to the second victim, who grabbed it. Father and son braced the canoe as they pulled them to the bow and then carefully to shore where awaiting friends approached to assist. Will and his dad kept an eye on the initial victim and suggested he seek medical attention. The brother of one victim thanked them for what they did, and later, the two victims came over and hugged and thanked them, too.

William Green

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to William Green on March 26, 2010.

Morgan MacKenzie - Courtright

When Morgan MacKenzie was four years old, she was plucked from a swimming pool and revived. Little did she know that as an adult, she would be called upon to be the rescuer on numerous occasions starting at 17 years of age, when Morgan performed her first rescue in an attempted resuscitation of a downed man at an arena in front of 3,000 people.

Morgan MacKenzie

A couple of years later in November 2006, Morgan - a Bronze Cross Examiner - was called into action yet again. She was teaching at the pool when the complex's receptionist came running saying a man was down on the ice rink. Morgan instructed another guard to take over her class. Still soaking wet and in her bathing suit, Morgan grabbed her trauma pack, handed the AED to the receptionist and headed for the rink where a man was down, still breathing but unconscious. Then his breathing stopped. She instructed two players to carry him off the ice and told maintenance staff to clear people away. Morgan began CPR with help from an off-duty police officer and prepped the AED, which instructed and delivered three shocks in all. In between, the two continued CPR until the fire department arrived and took over and took the victim to hospital. While the man did not survive, a firefighter later told Morgan that everything that could have been done had been done.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Morgan MacKenzie on March 26, 2010.

Les Gilson, Mayla Parrent, Daniel Vermunt - St. Catharines

Daniel Vermunt was outside the rowing centre at Brock University's Walker Complex on November 13, 2009 waiting for the rugby team bus when he heard someone shout "someone is down." Dan, who holds the Society's Standard First Aid and AED certifications, quickly located the victim - an 18-year-old varsity rower who was not breathing and had no pulse.

EMS had been notified, so Dan instructed a bystander to get the AED and began unfastening the victim from the rowing machine. Luckily, rugby team coach Les Gilson (also a Standard First Aid and AED holder) was now on scene. A strong man, Les moved the equipment out of the way and with Dan, began two-person CPR. With AED now in hand, they attached it to the victim and allowed it to assess and deliver a shock. The AED then suggested continuing CPR.

Parrent, Gilson, Vermunt

At this point, peace officer Mayla Parrent, another Society Standard First Aid and AED holder, arrived on the scene and jumped in to help with compressions. The three performed CPR for another 10 to 15 minutes before the man began shallow breathing and EMS arrived and took over. Mayla accompanied the victim to hospital where he recovered. A doctor later told her they had saved the man's life.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Les Gilson, Mayla Parrent and Daniel Vermunt on March 30, 2010.

Thomas Bitove, Greg Cole - Toronto

Thomas Bitove and Detective Sergeant Greg Cole were two of more than 100 in attendance at a fundraising dinner in downtown Toronto on October 6, 2008. Another guest, Deputy Chief Keith Forde, had just finished his welcome speech when Greg - seated at the same table - noticed the Deputy Chief leaning to one side, head hanging, and in obvious distress.

Greg, a one-time Mississauga lifeguard, got up to assist the Deputy Chief. He loosened the man's collar and tie, thinking he might be choking. But Greg quickly realized the man had no pulse, so he lay him down and began compressions.

As this was occurring, Tom, who was seated nearby, noticed what was going on. He went over to help and found Greg doing compressions. Tom asked to assist. He tilted the Deputy Chief's head and began ventilations. On the second or third breath, the Deputy Chief took the first breath of his own.

The two men continued CPR for about 10 minutes when EMS arrived, took over, and administered multiple shocks with a defibrillator. The combination of CPR and shocks eventually revived the Deputy Chief, whose heart had stopped due to low blood pressure. At the hospital, a doctor told Greg that he and Tom had indeed saved the man's life.

Tom Bitove & Greg Cole

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Thomas Bitove and Greg Cole on March 27, 2009.

Wanda Ellis - Pickering

Wanda Ellis was at her nephew's outdoor wedding enjoying a post-ceremony dinner on August 16, 2008 when the groom's father began choking.

Wanda, a Society Examiner to Distinction, was called over to the already unconscious man still in his chair, where someone else was performing incorrect abdominal thrusts. She yelled for someone to call 911, pushed the well-meaning bystander out of the way and put the victim down on the grass to begin ventilations and compressions.

Wanda Ellis


The victim was indeed suffering from a full obstruction; initial sweeps turned up nothing and air was not entering his lungs, so Wanda pushed hard and pushed fast. She was determined. After multiple cycles of compressions she heard a shallow burp; some of the food obstruction had dislodged, so Wanda turned the man semi-prone and attempted to clean out the remainder.

Moments later, she heard the victim breathe. The horrible shades of blue, purple and grey that overwhelmed the man's face were quickly flushed away by pink colours that rose up through his neck and face, inch by inch. Wanda spoke to him, checked his pulse and covered him with a jacket. She told the crowd that he was breathing on his own. The victim woke up shortly before EMS arrived and declared he was not going to hospital - "he's talking and responsive," Wanda told the crowd.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Wanda Ellis on March 27, 2009.

Troy Hussey - Hamilton

During an hour of free time at Scout Camp on March 29, 2008, thirteen-year-old Troy Hussey and his fellow Scouts had only two conditions to adhere to: stay with your partner and stay away from the water. While exploring, Troy and his partner came across other Scouts who had found an ice-bridge leading to an island across a rushing river. A few of the boys ran ahead and out onto the thin ice.

Troy, who had earned his Bronze Medallion only a week earlier, yelled for the boys to get off the ice but they didn't listen. One boy, in particular, ran to the middle of the ice-bridge and began jumping up and down, proclaiming the sturdiness of the ice until sure enough, he fell through. The victim was flailing, unable to get out of the water.

Troy could not find an aid to help him pull the boy out, so he crawled out onto the ice - army style - grabbed the victim's arm and slowly crawled backwards off the slow-cracking ice. Once on firm ground, Troy blew the S.O.S. signal on his whistle, checked the victim for injury and helped him back to camp where he found him some dry clothes and treated him for shock. The Scout leader that responded to the S.O.S. left Troy to monitor the victim's ABCs and start a fire while he responded to another emergency.


Troy Hussey

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Troy Hussey on March 27, 2009.

Jim Kennedy, Doug Milne, Chris Radford - Toronto

Chris Radford & Greg Milne

Chris Radford and Doug Milne were at the cottage watching TV after a day of fishing on July 7, 2008 when they heard their neighbour, Jim Kennedy, calling out. When they went outside, they realized Jim was responding to calls for help that were coming from somewhere out on the lake, in the pitch black of night.

Jim was preparing to launch his large cabin cruiser when Chris and Doug stopped him in favour of taking Doug's smaller boat. While Jim ran to call 911, Chris and Doug rode a kilometre in the dark and fog. They stopped the boat, turned off the engine and shone their front-mounted light in the direction of the voice until they located a man, floundering in the water and holding on to his capsized aluminum boat.

Doug steered the boat close to the victim so Chris, an NLS Instructor, could grab him. But the large victim slipped his grip and went under. Chris grabbed him again, this time with Doug holding him for support, and dragged the man into their boat. He was wrapped in weeds, intoxicated with his pants undone. He wore no lifejacket. They did a verbal and visual check, brought him to Jim's dock and waited for EMS. The victim had been in the water for at least 45 minutes, but other than being cold, tired and drunk, he was all right. The victim's wife came by the next day to thank the rescuers.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jim Kennedy, Doug Milne and Chris Radford on March 27, 2009.

Susan Iemma, David Storie - Markham

National lifeguard David Storie was sitting in his office at the Markham Centennial Civic Centre on March 26, 2008 when he received a call from Pool Supervisor Susan Iemma asking him to grab the trauma pack - a hockey player had collapsed on the ice pad.

Susan, an NLS Examiner, was notified by the front-office staff that one of the hockey players had come to fetch the AED. When Susan arrived on the scene, the players had already called 911 but incorrectly placed the AED pads on the victim. Susan took over as Dave arrived with the trauma pack. The 48-year-old victim, who had survived bypass surgery two years prior, was semiconscious, convulsing and struggling to breathe. Susan repositioned the AED pads and waited for the machine to analyze, while Dave controlled the crowd and readied himself with the breathing mask and oxygen. The AED advised a shock on the now non-breathing victim, which Susan administered. She then began compressions and after 30, along with two breaths from Dave, the victim's eyes shot wide open and he began to breathe. Susan and Dave administered oxygen as victim slowly regained consciousness. EMS arrived five minutes later. Dave and Susan provided a detailed incident report to paramedics while the victim was brought to hospital where he eventually recovered.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to David Storie and Susan Iemma on March 27, 2009.

Susan Iemma & David Storie

Lori-Anne Jameson - Enterprise

Lori-Anne Jameson was enjoying a canoe ride on Lake Ontario with her three- and five-year-old nieces, and their mother in May, 2008. In a matter of minutes, the pleasant weather turned and the current picked up, tipping all four passengers into the cold water 50 to 75 metres from shore.

Lori-Anne Jameson


Lori-Anne, a Lifesaving Instructor, calmed her nieces down. All were wearing lifejackets. While she considered her training, which suggests staying with the canoe, her instinct in the circumstances told her to get to shore. Lori-Anne sent the mother ahead while she carried the two girls - both non-swimmers - to shore. To keep them relaxed, Lori-Anne had the girls sing songs. Between songs, they yelled for help. The four of them made their way to a steep rock cliff. Lori-Anne climbed the six-foot cliff, ran to the road and flagged down two men in a car. Back in the water, Lori-Anne passed her nieces up to the two men who gave up their coats to keep the girls warm. All four were suffering from minor hypothermia when emergency crews arrived, but none were hospitalized.

Lori-Anne needed a couple of days to recover from the incident, having pulled most of the muscles in her body while towing her nieces against the current. The nieces, now in swimming lessons, still love the water and have a good story to tell at school.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Lori-Anne Jameson on March 27, 2009.

Rebecca Laing - Stratford

Rebecca Laing was on a day-long cave-tubing excursion in Belize on September 24, 2008, which was part of a cruise trip she was on with her boyfriend. Other tour groups had cancelled their day-trips due to the above average rains, but Rebecca's guides appeared indifferent about the weather and unconcerned about group safety.

Rebecca Laing

Once in the tubes and on the water, the group quickly realized the danger they were in: the guide encouraged them to wear their lifejackets improperly around the waist and wear their headlamps around their necks. Rebecca and the others could hardly see as they rushed through the dark caves in the high waters with little direction, bumping their heads as they were swept along. Several calls for help were heard as terror mounted.

Rebecca, a nine-year lifeguard, made it to shore only to find a downed woman, non-breathing, with only a faint pulse. In spite of having just survived the terrifying experience in the caves, Rebecca took over the scene; she immediately began compressions, instructed a bystander to administer breaths and sent someone to find a phone. After 30 minutes of compressions, an AED finally arrived but the woman had no pulse and the AED was ineffective. An ambulance took over more than an hour later.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Rebecca Laing on March 27, 2009.

Lisa Limarzi - Mississauga

Lisa Limarzi was in her car on her way to meet a friend for lunch on June 16, 2008 when noticed a stopped car with a dent and cracked windshield. She then spotted a woman lying on the street along with a small child who was screaming and bleeding - a car had hit them as they were crossing the street, sending them flying in different directions.

The distraught driver of the car was trying to speak to the injured, though conscious mother. Lisa, an NLS Examiner, assessed the scene, grabbed her first-aid kit and went over to the bleeding child. Blood was everywhere, and even though she had no gloves, Lisa tried to restrain the child with the help of another bystander. But the boy - who was autistic - was terrified. He had a four-inch-long, two-inch-wide cut on his forehead that could not be bandaged because pressure on the wound was too painful.

When firefighters arrived they told Lisa to keep calming the child; it still took three of them to restrain the frightened boy and get him on a spineboard. Paramedics gave Lisa a hand-wash to clean off the all the blood. Lisa still went to lunch with her friend but later grew concerned about the possibility of disease transfer. She eventually visited the mother in hospital to clear her concerns, and ended up speaking with the woman about the incident and her boy for nearly two hours.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Lisa Limarzi on March 27, 2009.

Lisa Limarzi

Zack Poitras - Sudbury

Zachary Poitras

Fifteen-year-old Zack Poitras was with his dad and sister at the Laurentian Lake Conservation Area on September 13, 2008 when they heard screams. They followed the voices to the south bay of Ramsey Lake where they saw three men in the water and an overturned canoe - none of the men were wearing lifejackets.

Zack, who holds the Society's Swim Patrol certification, jumped into the water without second thought and swam out to the canoe, which was approximately 300 metres from shore. The three men were hysterical, saying they were drowning. "You are not drowning, just try to stay calm," Zack replied. While trying to keep the men calm, and the canoe afloat, one of the panicked men broke for shore. He started to go under, but Zack caught him, pulled him up and dragged him in to shore where his dad helped him pull the man out. From shore, all three family members kept talking to the two remaining victims who were still in the water, trying to keep them calm. Emergency crews arrived shortly thereafter and a water rescue unit picked up the two remaining victims and brought them to shore, where they were brought to hospital.

Zack's dad was proud of his son, remarking that he'd made all the right decisions and saved the victims' lives. Indeed he had.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Zack Poitras on March 27, 2009.

Anthony Ponzo - Newmarket

On a warm July evening in 2008, 15-year-old Anthony Ponzo was enjoying time with several friends in his full-size backyard pool. A few of the boys were competing in a friendly contest of endurance to see how many laps they could swim underwater. While attempting a second lap, one boy sunk to the bottom. Looking on from the shallow end, the others assumed the victim was joking around, until Anthony realized that no one could hold their breath for so long.

The victim was indeed unconscious in the deep end of pool, floating, with his arms out to the side. Anthony, a soon-to-be NLS holder at the time, dove down and brought his friend to the surface. Two other boys helped get the victim out of the pool while another friend called 911, and one of the girls ran to alert the parents inside. The victim's face was blue, he had no pulse and he wasn't breathing. Anthony started CPR immediately, acting on adrenaline and repeating the skills he'd practiced so many times before. He continued CPR until his friend coughed and resumed breathing. EMS arrived and took the victim to hospital where he made a complete recovery.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Anthony Ponzo on March 27, 2009.

Anthony Ponzo

Sarah Roe and the Leuty Lifeguard Team - Toronto

Sarah Roe was visiting her friends and former colleagues at the Leuty Lifeguard Station on the last day of the season, September 1, 2008, helping guards Jeremy Martensyn and Tyler Simpson bring in the swim buoys on a crowded Toronto beach. That's when Sarah caught sight of lifeguard Madeline Giesel standing in her rowboat signalling for help. A family of 11 people - all non-swimmers - had gone out too deep in an attempt to learn to swim. All of them were now struggling for their lives.

Sarah Roe et al

Jeremy and Madeline jumped in the water to help. Madeline handed her rescue can to one victim while supporting two others. Jeremy held three women up by standing on the lake bottom and jumping up and down until Tyler brought the boat close enough to throw out lifejackets. On shore, lifeguards Juliann Desjardins, Josh Chapman and Kate Galamiyeva joined the rescue efforts. Juliann called EMS and went to support Madeline, who was trying to manage six victims. Josh went to help Jeremy who was still in water over his head managing another three. Kate left her guard chair, rowed out and assisted a victim to shore. Sarah borrowed a rescue aid and pulled three women to shore, which left Jeremy to grab the remaining victim, who he assisted until Tyler reached them with another lifejacket. In the end, Sarah and the lifeguards brought all 11 victims safely to shore.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Sarah Roe and the Leuty Lifeguards on March 27, 2009.

Christian Morasse, Zachary Timinski - Gatineau

National Lifeguards Christian Morasse and Zachary Timinski were riding their bicycles along the Ottawa River on their way home from work on July 4, 2008. Unexpectedly, and for no apparent reason, Zac wiped out. As Zac realigned his handlebars, the two boys heard screams for help coming from the nearby Deschenes Rapids.

Zachary Timinski & Christian Morasse

They went to the water and spotted a girl and a guy on paddleboards being swept downriver. The guy gave up his board and managed to grab onto a rocky edge close to shore, where because of the strong current, it took both Zac and Chris to pull him out. But the girl kept going, further into the increasingly dangerous rapids and with a splash, disappeared around a bend - out of sight and earshot. Zac, Chris and the first victim followed the river until they found her clinging to a rock with her head just above water. Her eyes were glazed over with fear and shock. Zac thought "now or never" and reached out to her, but was only able to grab her fingers. Finally, with help from Chris and the first victim, they managed to pull her out.

A bystander had already called EMS, which arrived shortly thereafter. Ironically, the victims were lifeguards from another Ottawa beach. Zac, still bleeding from his oddly fortuitous crash, got on his bike and he and Chris continued home.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Christian Morasse and Zachary Timinski on March 27, 2009.

Kevin Gendy - Mississauga

Thirteen-year-old Kevin Gendy was with his classmates at an unsupervised hotel pool in Quebec City, on a school trip on May 3, 2007. The kids were playing with a football when Kevin's friend, John, while running on the deck, slipped and caught his knee on the corner of exposed broken tile that sliced through his knee.

Kevin Gendy

Two teachers were on hand. The first, aware of Kevin's first aid training - a Bronze Cross holder to be exact - called for Kevin to help. Kevin responded along with the second teacher. They noticed a deep cut through the patellar tendon and used a towel to tie up the wound and elevated the foot. Using the first aid acronym W.A.R.T.S., they treated John for shock, covered him with blankets and with the aid of classmates, comforted and distracted him by making him laugh.

EMS arrived and put John's leg in a splint - he had, in fact, torn his tendon in half. Kevin and one teacher went with John to the hospital where he underwent successful surgery; they stayed with him until 1:30 a.m. until the second teacher took over for the night. Kevin later experienced some back pain and had an unexplained rash on his arm as a result of stress and shock. Many of the other students were also visibly upset and experienced shock symptoms of their own, but everyone recovered. John and his parents, as well as the teachers, were all thankful for Kevin's efforts.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Kevin Gendy on March 28, 2008.

Fatima Khan - Mississauga

Fatima Khan had just finished her grocery shopping on July 25, 2007 when she heard a crash and the sound of glass cracking. A woman had fallen as a result of a seizure, and she had fallen hard enough to crack the store's double-paned glass windows.

The victim was on the floor when Fatima found her. Fatima, who at the time held the Society's Standard First Aid certification, didn't touch the victim; instead, she instructed her cousin to call 911 while she made the woman more comfortable by using her head scarf to support and pad the woman's head.

The woman's first seizure had occurred when she fell; the second violent seizure happened moments later. Fatima checked the victim's head for bleeding and checked her ABCs. She then took the phone to give information to EMS. When the seizures were over, Fatima put the victim in semi-prone position, monitored her vitals and checked for further injury. Fatima asked the woman her name, where she was and if she had injured her head. The woman now seemed lucid and aware.

Fatima Khan

An ambulance arrived 10 minutes after the second seizure. The EMS crew praised Fatima for her excellent assessment.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Fatima Khan on March 28, 2008.

Nicole Legros - Niagara on the Lake

Nicole Legros

One August evening in 2007, Marianne Legros was outside with her two kids - 12-year-old Nicole and seven-year-old Kyle - while they enjoyed a swim in the family pool. Marianne, an epileptic, usually stayed clear of the water but feeling good that evening, decided to sit on the pool steps: the sound of her kids playing is the last thing she remembers. Marianne had suffered a violent seizure and fell forward into the water.

Nicole, who at the time had completed the Society's Star Patrol award, reacted immediately. The less-than-80-pound girl swam as quickly as she could to her mother and managed to pull her head from under the water and prop her up above the surface. Coincidentally, Nicole was enrolled in private swimming lessons and had worked on water-rescue techniques, including spinal rollovers, only a week prior.

Meanwhile, young Kyle was scared and screaming. The level-headed Nicole told her brother that everything would be all right and that mommy would be OK. She called for her dad who was working in the yard; her dad ran to the pool and lifted Marianne from the water. Marianne completely recovered. Only later did Nicole realize she'd probably saved her mom's life. She plans on completing her Bronze Medallion this year.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Nicole Legros on March 28, 2008.

Lisa Acciaroli, Magdalena Dery, Marc Faulkner, Jeff Ladner, Susan Maurice, Brad Melville, Julie Mitchell, Isabel Palferno, Jodi Robillos, Tracey Wyatt - Mississauga

Sometimes a rescue is marked by the efficiency of several people, as was the case at the River Grove Community Centre on November 22, 2007. A 59-year-old patron was running on a treadmill when he suffered a heart attack, which set off a sequence of events that included the efforts of 10 people, all of whom hold at least one Lifesaving Society accreditation.

Julie Mitchell et al

Fitness supervisor Julie Mitchell heard a loud crash. She found the victim on his back, VSA, beside the scale, which he had knocked over. Suspecting a heart attack, she immediately told Brad Melville to call 911 and to call for the defibrillator.

Jodi Robillos received the call for the d-fib; she grabbed it and handed it to Jeff Ladner and Lisa Acciaroli, who ran upstairs and began applying the pads to the victim's chest. As they were doing so, lifeguards Magda Dery and Marc Faulkner arrived after being summoned from the pool area and took over CPR. The AED analyzed and prompted "shock advised." Magda yelled "all clear" and pressed the button. The man's body jumped, and he gasped. The AED then prompted them to "start CPR," which they did.

Lifeguard Tracey Wyatt arrived from the pool area and joined in the CPR efforts, monitoring vitals. She had been sent up by aquatic supervisor Sue Maurice, who secured the pool area and rushed upstairs to join the team and began recording the details for the accident report. The victim had not started breathing after the shock, but when Marc gave the man a breath, he gasped; after a second breath he began breathing on his own. The rescuers assured the victim he was in good hands and encouraged him to breathe.

EMS arrived along with staff member Isabel Palferno, who ran downstairs to the computer and began searching the list of patrons who had signed in to find out the man's name and emergency contact information. The victim was taken to hospital and his wife and daughter were contacted.

Thanks to this group effort, the victim fully recovered. His wife and daughter came to the community centre the following day to personally thank the rescuers.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Lisa Acciaroli, Magdalena Dery, Marc Faulkner, Jeff Ladner, Susan Maurice, Brad Melville, Julie Mitchell, Isabel Palferno, Jodi Robillos and Tracey Wyatt on March 28, 2008.

Jonathan Pooley - Mississauga

Only a day after beginning his National Lifeguard Service training, Jonathan Pooley found himself reviewing his first-aid training in a real-life situation. He was with his parents at the airport when he saw two women sit down; one of the women was rubbing her chest until she lost consciousness and fell into the second lady's lap - she'd just had a heart attack.

Jonathan Pooley

Jonathan's father, Mark, called 911 while Jonathan went to help. The victim's friend did not speak English, so Jonathan shouted around for someone who might be able to translate. Upon finding a translator, he conveyed to her that he was trained in CPR and asked to assist. The friend agreed and Jonathan lay the woman down and did a preliminary check. She wasn't breathing or conscious so he began CPR. Jonathan continued CPR for 10 minutes. An airport nurse arrived but Jonathan kept up compressions and rescue breathing. During this time, the victim began breathing on her own more than once, but would quickly stop breathing seconds later. Shortly thereafter, someone brought an AED to the scene but was unable to get the unit working.

The fire department arrived, told Jonathan to continue what he was doing, and got the AED working. An ambulance crew then arrived and took over, eventually restoring the victim's breathing before taking her away to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jonathan Pooley on March 28, 2008.

Linda Rampen - Toronto

Linda Rampen was at Jack Darling Park in September 2007 enjoying a day of recreational surf-ski paddling. The wind conditions on Lake Ontario were difficult and erratic, with strong shifting gusts; one moment it was sunny and the next, dark clouds covered the skies.

A couple of forty-something businessmen were windsurfing that day, too. A former windsurfing instructor and current NLS and first aid Examiner, Linda had spoken with the two men before they set out. At around 6:15 p.m., one of the men's windsurfers went down. From afar it appeared the universal joint had broken. Even though the man was trained in self-rescue, the wind was too strong and he was failing in his struggle to paddle back to shore.

Linda and the stranded surfer's friend watched from shore for several minutes as the downed surfer paddled in vain. Sensing the friend was becoming worried, Linda decided it was time to bring the man in. She paddled out; his windsurfer was indeed broken. Using a 15 ft. throw-line that she keeps attached to her life jacket, Linda told the man to hang on as she battled the strong offshore winds and towed him in. The men were relieved and thankful. As Canada's most proficient Masters surf skier, Linda was tired but took the incident in stride.


Linda Rampen

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Linda Rampen on March 28, 2008.

James Van Dyke - Dunnville

James Van Dyke noticed a banged up SUV with broken windows at the side of the road as he drove with his girlfriend along Highway 400 on October 8, 2007. James, a National Lifeguard, pulled over and went back to the vehicle. The woman driver did not appear injured but the passenger, who had been thrown from the truck, was lying motionless on the ground; he was conscious but in bad condition.

James Van Dyke

James introduced himself and found EMS had already been notified. Two women, one who identified herself as a nurse and the second as an NLS guard, were also on scene. The three rescuers decided immobilizing the neck was more important than the minor bleeding. But the victim stopped talking; his breathing became shallow, his pulse weakened and eventually, his heart stopped beating. The rescuers performed CPR for two minutes, with James doing compressions, until a faint heartbeat was detected and the victim started breathing and regained consciousness. EMS arrived 10 minutes later and took over.

James was given some antiseptic wipes to clean the blood from his hands and prepared an incident report. The next day James received a call from an OPP officer who told him the victim was an intravenous drug user. After an exasperating three weeks of prompting, the victim finally agreed to a voluntary blood test, which provided his rescuers with a clean bill of health.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to James Van Dyke on March 28, 2008.

Andrew Wakefield - Unionville

Andrew Wakefield was driving home on Friday afternoon, January 4, 2008 when he witnessed a car speed through a red light and slam into the driver's side of a second vehicle as it was turning - a direct T-bone collision.

Andrew Wakefield

Andrew, an NLS and First Aid Examiner, pulled over and, after a quick scene assessment, hurried to the car closest to him where he found the driver and passenger in the offending vehicle both uninjured. Andrew then went to the second car. He identified himself to the injured driver who was in shock and hyperventilating. He told a bystander to call 911 and got in the car from the passenger side because the driver's door was stuck. The back of the woman's neck was bruised and swollen below her skull. Andrew showed her pursed-lip breathing, which allowed her to calm down enough to speak. After further assessment, he told the woman not to move and immobilized her in her seat using a modified vice-grip technique from the front, with the head-rest behind her for support as if she was on the ground.

Andrew then had to take over the EMS call, but the moment he turned his attention away, the victim started hyperventilating again. Andrew refocused her breathing and kept her immobilized for a difficult 15 minutes. A fire crew arrived first and told Andrew to continue with immobilization. EMS then arrived, immobilized her neck, removed her from the car through the window and took her away in an ambulance.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Andrew Wakefield on March 28, 2008.

Brad Creamer - Tecumseh

Seventeen-year-old Brad Creamer was playing pick-up hockey with some older guys during the early morning hours of Saturday October 21, 2006. On the bench between shifts, a friend of one of the regulars said, "I think I've had it for today." Brad, a National Lifeguard, asked if he was all right - "Yes," he replied.

The 41-year-old man went to the dressing room as the game continued. Twenty minutes later, a fellow player went to see how the man was feeling and found him in the room, on the floor in his street clothes, motionless, eyes open. The player called for help.

Brad and a volunteer firefighter responded. The victim had no pulse. They sent someone to call 911. Brad instructed the firefighter to begin rescue breathing and had another bystander begin compressions while he ran to get the AED unit. The D-fib unit prompted to give two shocks. After these, the AED suggested no further shocks but continued compressions. The emergency crew arrived and took over the rescue effort. They set up an EKG and worked on the victim for another half-hour, but were unable to resuscitate him.
Brad, who has a good understanding of the realities involved with lifesaving, was understandably sad with the outcome, but knew he had done what he could under the circumstances.

Brad Creamer

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Brad Creamer on March 30, 2007.

Patrick Dagher - Markham

Patrick Dagher was eating his lunch at school on February 6, 2007, when a schoolmate, Alexandre Suddard, approached him motioning for help - he was choking.

Patrick Dagher


Alexandre had eaten a piece of steak that was now lodged in his throat. He tried to remedy his problem by eating a grape and drinking water to push down the wedged morsel. It didn't work, so he went to the sink to spit it up but the food was completely stuck. He then approached Patrick, who holds the Society's Standard First Aid certification. Initially, the incident didn't seem dire because Alexandre was coughing, but once Patrick realized it was serious, he stood up, wrapped his arms around Alexandre's waist and performed three abdominal thrusts. On the third try, the food in Alexandre's windpipe came up.

The other students, now relieved, stood up and clapped. The teachers also praised him for his efforts. Alexandre was rushed to hospital where he recovered. Later, he gave Patrick a hug and thanked him for saving his life.

After the incident, a confident Patrick (who plans on becoming a doctor or paramedic), did what all heroes do - he went to the office and filled out an accident report.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Patrick Dagher on March 30, 2007.


Carling Ellis (Wasaga Beach), Mandy Keast (Collingwood)

Carling Ellis and Mandy Keast were on a break from their lifeguard duties at Centennial Pool in Collingwood on August 9, 2006, when a skate-park attendant alerted them that a boy had seriously injured his arm while climbing a fence.

Carling and Mandy advised the on-duty guards, directed one to call 911, and met the boy, Matthew, and his mother Roxanne as they were making their way to the pool for help. Matthew had a deep, long laceration on his forearm, a result of attempting to climb a nearby fence - falling - and catching his arm atop the chain-link. Along with blood, the tendons, muscles and arteries were all visible.

Once they were back at the pool, Mandy sat Matthew down while Carling fetched the first aid kit. The two lifeguards calmly took steps to control the bleeding and dress the wound; their composed demeanor and kindness eased Matthew's apprehension. Paramedics arrived after approximately five minutes to take Matthew to the hospital. The guards also consoled Roxanne, who was in shock but wanted to follow the ambulance to the hospital with her two other sons already in the car. At the lifeguards' insistence, Roxanne stayed behind until she regained her composure.

Carling Ellis & Mandy Keast

Mandy and Carling deftly managed the injury and the emotional turbulence of the incident. Matthew narrowly escaped doing severe damage to his arm and left the hospital with 16 stitches. Roxanne was so impressed by the efforts of the two guards, she wrote to the Lifesaving Society to express her deepest appreciation.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Mandy Keast and Carling Ellis on March 30, 2007.

Leif Erickson - Brockville

With a favourable weather forecast, Leif Erickson and two other kayakers left Point Traverse for an overnight trip to Main Duck Island on August 20, 2005. Midway through the journey, a storm blew in that turned the waters of Lake Ontario from calm, to turbulent - to dangerous.

Leif Erickson


One of the kayakers, Morris Buckner, had trouble negotiating the rough waters and eventually capsized. Leif turned around to help Morris, who was swimming and trying to get back into his kayak. After several failed attempts to get Morris back into his kayak, Leif tried towing Morris, capsizing his own kayak several times in the process. Morris was so tired he grew nauseous, and vomited, at which point Leif sent the third kayaker on to the island to get help. Leif stayed behind with Morris.

The storm was unrelenting and Leif, too, began struggling with fatigue while doing everything possible to keep his friend alive. Leif helped Morris hang on to his kayak, continued talking to him and encouraged him to persevere.

After an astonishing 6 hours on the lake and in the water, a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter found the exhausted men clinging to life. A weakened Morris was lifted from the water using a basket while Leif was lifted by the yolk. Both men spent time recovering on warming beds at Kingston General Hospital before being released.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Leif Erickson on March 30, 2007.

Matt Fawns - Toronto

On April 13, 2006, Matt Fawns was on the diving board at the school pool during gym class talking with a couple of friends. As he was about to dive in, he noticed a dark figure at the bottom of the pool.

Earlier, one of Matt's classmates was in the pool, hanging on to the edge while walking towards the deep end. Unwitnessed, he apparently lost his grip in the area where the pool deepens and slipped under.

Matt, who holds the Society's Bronze Medallion certification, swam down to find the figure was in fact this classmate. Matt put the boy against his shoulder, pulled him to the surface and called for help. Another student helped him lift the body out of the water.

The gym teacher and on-duty instructor-lifeguard, who were watching from outside the pool office near the middle of the pool, reacted quickly, performed CPR and eventually revived the victim.

Matt was applauded for his efforts by the staff and students, but was shaken up by the experience. The next time he was in gym class, Matt was encouraged to jump right back in to the water, which of course, he did.


Matt Fawns

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Matt Fawns on March 30, 2007.

Laura Goldberg - Thornhill

Laura Goldberg, a lifeguard and lifesaving instructor, happened upon four emergency situations over the past year. On February 12, 2006, she was boarding a bus when she heard someone yell for help and noticed a woman having convulsions. Laura suspected a seizure, but the woman was coherent, so Laura supported her head, checked her vitals and asked about her medical history. After repeated questioning, Laura learned the woman was on multiple medications. Another bystander called 911 and helped Laura with secondary first aid. When EMS arrived, Laura passed along the information about the woman's various medical conditions.

On May 2, 2006, while Laura was working her part time job at a grocery store, a woman outside the store tripped on the sidewalk and landed on her face. She was cut above the eye and on her cheek, and her nose and mouth were bleeding. Laura grabbed ice to apply to the woman's neck and lightly applied gauze to her painful facial injuries. The victim's daughter called 911 while Laura wrote down information, which she passed along to the paramedics who arrived shortly thereafter.


Laura Goldberg

Laura also assisted at the scene of a serious car crash and another situation where a woman was suffering from hypoglycemia. Laura is starting to believe that life might be suggesting she become a paramedic - and she's seriously thinking about it.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Laura Goldberg on March 30, 2007.

Clayton Jenkins - Barrie

Clayton Jenkins

Eleven-year-old Clayton Jenkins and his fourteen-year-old cousin, Andy, were enjoying a swim in Lake Cecebe at their great-aunt's cottage in mid-July, 2006. They swam out to a floating dock, then turned around and started swimming back to shore. That's when Andy started panicking - and drowning.

Andy, who admittedly isn't a great swimmer to begin with, also suffers from a heart ailment, which caught up with him in the form of fatigue. As he lost strength, he started sinking. In an attempt to survive, he let himself sink to the bottom and pushed up quickly to get a short breath at the surface. But this self-rescue technique wasn't going to work for long. Clayton immediately swam back to his larger cousin, grabbed him, and tried unsuccessfully to pull him to shore. Instead, Clayton joined Andy in sinking and surfacing; pushing him up each time they were at the bottom and yelling "help" when they were at the surface. This went on for about four minutes - Andy started blacking out.

Finally, people from a neighbouring cottage arrived with a rescue tube. With Clayton pushing, the bystanders pulled Andy to shore. Once on the dock, with blue skin and eyes wide open, a cottager slapped Andy's back and he vomited up water and regained consciousness. Andy was taken to hospital where and was released a couple of hours later with a bad headache. A frightened Clayton called his cousin and was relieved to hear he was all right.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Clayton Jenkins on March 30, 2007.

Sam Lau (Thornhill) Daniel Lena, Steven Morana (Richmond Hill)

Lifeguards Sam Lau, Daniel Lena and Steven Morana were practicing their lifesaving competition skills at Wasaga Beach on July 19, 2006. Daniel and Steven were on their paddleboards several hundred feet from the beach when they heard a cry for help. A young boy had fallen out of his inflatable raft and couldn't climb back in. With the winds blowing away from shore, no one on the beach could hear him as he drifted into deeper waters. Luckily, Daniel and Steven caught up with him, calmed him down and helped him back to shore, where even then, his parents were nowhere in sight.

Later the same day, the three guards were jogging. As they returned to their belongings on the beach, they heard someone shouting "Help, help, CPR!" They rushed over to the crowd where they found a bystander performing compressions on a boy in his late teens; the boy was unconscious and had just been pulled from the water. Sam and Daniel took over compressions while Steven controlled the crowd. The victim was vomiting and the rescuers could smell alcohol on his breath. Despite their best efforts, they were unsuccessful in reviving him. Paramedics arrived approximately 10 minutes later and assumed responsibility.
The three guards were consummate professionals in dealing with the loss, understanding full well that lifesaving rescues do not always end happily. They said a prayer and moved on, feeling thankful they had already saved a life that day.

Sam Lau & Daniel Lena

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Sam Lau, Daniel Lena and Steve Morana on March 30, 2007.

Taryn Orava - Aurora

Taryn Orava and a friend pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant on November 24, 2006, and heard the restaurant manager yelling, "Call 911!" Taryn called 911. Then she noticed the older woman underneath the passenger door of a pick-up truck - stuck between the curb and the truck, which had one wheel on the curb. The woman was crossing the street on her electric scooter when the truck hit her, crushed her scooter, and dragged her onto the curb.

Taryn approached and said "I'm a lifeguard." The woman yelled "Help me!" Taryn suspected a spinal injury and stabilized the woman's head and neck. She loosened the woman's jacket and checked ABCs. Others lifted the truck off her. The truck was leaking gas near the scooter's battery until a bystander doused the area with an extinguisher. While the woman had a strong pulse, and there appeared to be no bleeding, she did appear to have a broken wrist and possibly, a broken hip. Taryn found out the woman also suffered from diabetes, bone marrow cancer and congestive heart failure; when Taryn asked where it hurt most, the woman replied ruefully, "Ask me where it doesn't hurt!"

Taryn Orava

Police and fire crews arrived and took over the immobilization. The woman was taken away and ultimately survived her non-life-threatening injuries. Ten minutes after the event, a calm Taryn was at the Brock University pool in time for her usual lifeguard shift.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Taryn Orava on March 30, 2007.

Mathew Vizbulis - St. Catharines

Twenty-eight-year-old Mathew Vizbulis was rock climbing in Niagara Glen, a tourist area on the bank of the Niagara River, on the afternoon of July 29, 2006, when he heard screaming. At first, he mistook the voice as kids playing, but when he went to investigate the distressing sound, he discovered a woman on the edge of the river pointing to the water where her husband and two sons were floating, apparently unconscious - trapped in an eddy.

Mathew, an experienced swimmer and white-water kayaker, ran to the water and stopped: suddenly, he began assessing the risks of jumping into the class-five rapid where water rushed by at 40 kilometres per hour. He looked back at the distraught woman, calculated there was a strong chance he'd become another casualty, took off his shirt and jumped in the river - he couldn't let the children drown.

The power of the current prevented Mathew from swimming in any specific direction, so at about six metres from shore, he stopped to let the bodies float to him. The first to hit him was the father. Mathew struggled to manoeuvre the large man and began yelling as loud as possible in his ear to establish if he was alive - the man's eyes opened. Mathew towed him to shore where, luckily, another couple was on the scene to pull the victim up and over the slippery rocks, and to encourage Mathew to keep going.

With renewed confidence, Mathew swam back out and pulled the teenager to shore; he swam out again and pulled in the third victim, an 11-year-old boy. Incredibly, all three victims were alive, a fact made more astonishing by the knowledge that they were within seconds of drowning and only a few metres from being sucked downriver.

Mathew Vizbulis

Bystanders helped Mathew out of the water and he sat down, exhausted. The whole rescue had taken about 10 minutes. The mother, speaking in thick-accented English, thanked Mathew for rescuing her family. She told Mathew her youngest son had slipped off the rocks into the water and the father and brother fell in trying to catch him - none could swim. The father, now on his feet, was also thankful. The 17-year-old was throwing up and the 11-year-old was barely conscious, wrapped in his mother's sari. An emotional Mathew rested, trying in vain to subdue the adrenaline and crying on and off as he realized he'd just saved an entire family.

Paramedics arrived about 20 minutes later and arranged for a jet boat to take the youngest son to hospital where he was released later that day.

Mathew spent the afternoon in a surreal fog, telling his story to friends at a coffee shop and trying to calm down. Later that night, he relaxed with a few rescue beers.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Mathew Vizbulis on March 30, 2007.

Beverly Bureau - Welland

Beverly Bureau

Beverly Bureau pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot to pick her daughter up from work on May 16, 2005, only to notice an elderly man collapse and hit his head on the pavement while his wife looked on in distress.


Beverly, who holds the Society's Standard First Aid certification, got out of her car and approached the man. There was no apparent danger so she went ahead and checked his level of consciousness: he was conscious, but confused, and had a goose-egg-size bump on the back of his head. Beverly calmed him down, monitored his vitals, and took a moment to advise Wal-Mart staff to contact EMS.

The man told her he had recently had knee surgery, which explained the fall. Beverly determined the knee had not been seriously re-injured, so she treated the head wound with first aid supplies she received from the Wal-Mart staff, and helped the man into a wheelchair, also provided by the store.

The man insisted he could drive home, but appeared disoriented when Beverly asked him questions, and his wife did not drive. Beverly, along with one of her daughters and her son (both of whom worked at Wal-Mart at the time), helped the man into their car and drove him home where his adult children took him to the hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Beverly Bureau on March 24, 2006.

Christine Wagg - Ottawa

Christine Wagg and her daughter were driving to the pool on the morning of September 25, 2005, when they came across a serious car accident at a busy intersection; a northbound minivan had collided with a car turning left from the southbound lane.

The impact was severe, and the woman who drove the minivan was lying on the ground while three children moaned and sobbed inside. Christine, a Lifesaving Society First Aid Instructor, assessed the woman's vitals and asked a bystander to stay and keep her calm.
Christine approached the two boys in the back seat of the van. They appeared to be all right, so again, Christine assigned a bystander to talk with them and to not let them move. Christine turned her attention to the girl in the front seat; she was having trouble breathing as a result of the impact of the air bag. Christine calmed her down, and that's when she noticed the haunting stare of the injured man who drove the second car - ashen and in severe shock.

Christine left the young girl in the hands of yet another bystander and approached the crushed car. The man did not sustain life-threatening injuries, but the woman in the passenger seat was trapped. Christine reached in and took her pulse: she was barely alive, her lips were blue and black, and thick blood was coming from her head. There was nothing more she could do until emergency crews arrived minutes later and took over. Firemen had to cut the roof off the damaged car using the Jaws of Life.


Christine Wagg

Christine stood aside exhausted after managing the entire accident scene. Her daughter Brooke, a young lifesaver, gave her mom her sweater and comforted her.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Christine Wagg on March 24, 2006.

Paula Seggewiss, David Inglis and Mark Haney - London

Three teachers at H.B. Beal Secondary School were called into emergency action on December 15, 2005, after a student collapsed in the classroom.

Paula Seggewiss & David Inglis

Mark Haney was the first teacher called to the scene. He approached the downed student and heard gurgling. Suspecting a seizure, Mark made sure the boy's airway was clear and positioned him to allow drainage. He sent another teacher to call 911, cleared the students out of the classroom and initiated a Code Blue.

David Inglis, a First Aid and NLS Examiner, was the first responder to the Code Blue. By this time, the student's condition had deteriorated: he was unconscious with vital signs absent. Paula Seggewiss, a Bronze Cross Examiner and Lifesaving Instructor, arrived with a face mask. She and David began two-person CPR with David doing compressions and Paula doing air to mask breathing. Mark remained on the scene and controlled the crowd, provided backup, and coordinated with the principal and authorities.

The ambulance crew arrived and asked Paula and David to continue CPR while they prepped the defibrillator. The student's normal sinus rhythm returned almost immediately but he did not regain consciousness - the rescuers later discovered he had a heart condition and was temporarily off his medication. In hospital, the boy recovered quickly over the next couple of days and returned to school shortly thereafter.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Mark Haney, Paula Seggewiss and David Inglis on March 24, 2006.

David Kerr - Orleans

The sight and sound of lightning hitting the ground almost directly in front of him was not the scariest moment for 16-year-old David Kerr, on July 13, 2005. Finding out that someone close by had been struck by lightning, was.

David, just one exam away from receiving his NLS certification at the time, was with friends at a shopping centre waiting for a ride when he heard a woman screaming for help: "My husband was hit by lightning," she yelled. David followed her around the corner and found the man lying on his back.

In that moment, David didn't think he would have to help, but realizing no one else knew what to do, he immediately jumped in. He checked ABCs and found the man had no vital signs. There were no obvious signs of entry and exit points from the lightning, which David relayed to a bystander who was on the phone with EMS. David began compressions until another bystander showed up and helped with CPR until EMS arrived.

David Kerr

Paramedics later praised the rescue effort and confirmed it contributed to saving the man's life. Reports said the man had burn marks on his stomach indicating he was hit directly by the bolt. He currently resides in a long-term care facility.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to David Kerr on March 24, 2006.

Kyle Martin - Burlington

Kyle Martin's mother, Mary-Lynn, and his sisters were enjoying some downtime by the pool while on vacation in Oakland Park Florida on August 3, 2005.

Kyle Martin


A few people were swimming in the unguarded pool, including a two-year-old girl wearing water wings. While no one was looking, she took off her water wings and slipped underwater. Her uncle noticed she was gone shortly thereafter, saw her body in the pool, and pulled her out - stricken with fear, he had no idea what to do with his unconscious niece.

Mary-Lynn quickly called up to Kyle, a Bronze Cross holder, who was in the condominium. Kyle ran out to the pool and put the girl on her side to clear her airway. Sure enough, she started vomiting. Then, Kyle rolled her on her back, checked her vital signs and began CPR until the girl regained consciousness. They wrapped her in towels but she immediately went into shock.

The little girl's mother had called 911, but someone needed to meet the paramedics at the condo's main entrance and lead them to the pool. Kyle and his sister Samantha ran a half-mile in their bare feet on extremely hot pavement to meet the emergency team. The ambulance took the girl to the hospital where she recovered. The paramedics also tended to Kyle's and Samantha's cut and burned feet.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Kyle Martin on March 24, 2006.

Rebecca Baxter - Bradford

International student Rebecca Baxter had more than driving on the "wrong" side of the road to contend with when she attended a party in Australia, in February 2005.

The party was in a humid, cramped third-floor Sydney apartment and the temperature was about 35 Celsius. Several of the students at the party had arrived in Australia only a couple of days earlier, yet that day, some of the them, including a young man named Aaron, had played basketball outdoors, worked out, eaten little, and were now drinking.

Soon after, Aaron went pale and stumbled over onto the couch. The stunned group gathered around and awkwardly downplayed his condition. Rebecca, a Bronze Cross Examiner and Lifesaving Instructor, rushed to the man's aid while another Canadian, Bill, moved the crowd out of the way and called an ambulance. Rebecca did her primary assessment and began asking Aaron questions. He was in and out of consciousness, had minor swelling and was scratching himself incessantly. She found out he was allergic to cashews and had eaten some mixed nuts. Aaron was also boiling hot. Rebecca suspected he might have heatstroke so she gave him water, helped him remove a layer of clothing, and cooled him down with damp towels.

Rebecca Baxter

Rebecca monitored Aaron's vitals and made sure his airway stayed open until the emergency crew arrived. She gave them the information she'd recorded including pulse rate and times, symptoms and incident history. The crew gave Aaron an allergy shot immediately and put him on IV. Aaron was taken to hospital on a stretcher and later recovered.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Rebecca Baxter on March 24, 2006.

Peter Mumford - Richmond Hill

On December 5, 2005, a fitness consultant stepped out of his office at the Bayview Hill Community Centre to find a man slouched over an exercise machine and struggling to breathe. He checked the man's ABCs and found no vital signs, and immediately called 911, paged the facility operator for assistance and began CPR. The facility operator called the pool office and reached Peter Mumford, Lifesaving Society NLS Chair and Examiner, who grabbed his first aid kit and headed for the fitness room.

When Peter arrived on the scene he cleared the bewildered patrons from the room and began two-rescuer CPR. When the fire department arrived, they asked Peter to continue with compressions while they prepped the defibrillator. By this time the man had been without a pulse for 18 minutes. The fire crew gave the man a single shock before the EMS crew arrived and took over. The EMS team gave the man two more shocks, and remarkably, the 70-year-old man left the building with a pulse and completely recovered.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Peter Mumford on March 24, 2006.

Bill Hudson - Ancaster

A distraught woman plunged from a footbridge into the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta on July 30, 2005. A passing boater, Eric Hagglund, noticed the woman floating towards the weir and paddled toward her. He asked his wife to call 911 and jumped in. After a few scary moments in which the victim panicked and struggled, Eric pulled her to a shallow area and found a foothold. Twenty five minutes had passed.

Boaters Yves Trudell, his five-year-old son Matthieu, and his father-in-law Bill Hudson, spotted the two people in the water from a distance and steered their Zodiac towards Eric and the woman. At the same time, a man from shore was swimming towards the victim. Yves jumped into the water holding his bow line to keep the boat in place, and Bill and the man from shore helped the woman into the boat. Bill, a retired firefighter, checked the woman's vital signs and found she was breathing and with a pulse. But she was unconscious and her breathing was shallow.

Yves walked the Zodiac into deeper water where they met the fire department rescue boat. The woman was promptly taken to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to William Hudson in April 2006.

Catherine Smith and Kyle Kirkup - Orleans

Catherine Smith and Kyle Kirkup were working at the Orleans Recreation Complex pool on October 25, 2005, when they received a phone call from the front desk - a 50-year-old "spin" instructor had lost consciousness and stopped breathing while leading a class.

Catherine, a Bronze Cross Examiner and Lifesaving Instructor, ran to the scene. When she arrived, some of the class participants were already performing CPR. Catherine sent someone to get the automated external defibrillator (AED) and took over the rescue effort. Kyle, a Lifesaving and National Lifeguard Instructor, shut the pool down and went to join the rescue effort.

By this point, Catherine had turned off the victim's heart-rate monitor and prepped the AED. After one shock, the AED prompted Catherine to continue with CPR. She and Kyle did so. After about one minute, they used the AED to analyze the man again and it suggested checking for a pulse - they did - and indeed, the man had a pulse.

By the time the fire crew arrived, the man had regained consciousness but was confused and in shock. The fire crew took over care of the victim and maintained his open airway before paramedics arrived and took the man to hospital where he quickly recovered. The paramedics later reported that the quick actions of Catherine and Kyle undoubtedly saved the man's life.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Catherine Smith and Kyle Kirkup in April 2006.

Chris Howatt - Caledonia

Chris Howatt, an Examiner to the Distinction level and aspiring paramedic, did not expect to find himself in his first rescue situation while out with a friend on February 26, 2005.
It was Saturday night; Chris and his friend Mandie were at a bar watching a band. Chris noticed that Mandie looked pale and asked if she was all right. She said she was fine. Mandie went to washroom to freshen up and came back. Moments later, she collapsed.
Amid the crowd, Chris didn't notice Mandie go down until he felt something against his leg. He looked down and saw Mandie - on the floor and unconscious. Chris quickly pulled her out of the crowd and to the front entrance where he assessed her vitals and found she was not breathing. He had someone call 911 and began CPR.

After about a minute, Mandie started breathing again, though her breath was shallow. Chris continued to assist her with ventilations until EMS arrived. Mandie did not regain consciousness at the scene; in fact, she had suffered a severe asthma attack and was without her medication. Chris went with the ambulance team to the hospital where Mandie recovered and was released the next day.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Chris Howatt in April 2006.

Eileen Kelly - Whitby

Eileen Kelly was at work eating lunch in the cafeteria with her colleague Ray in August 2005. Suddenly, she heard Ray gurgling. Eileen, who holds the Society's Emergency First Aid award, remembered her instructor mentioning that she might hear gurgling if someone was choking.

Eileen asked Ray if he was choking and he nodded. She asked if she could help and again, he nodded. Eileen lifted him up from behind, kicked his chair aside, put her foot between his feet, made a flat fist just above his bellybutton and thrust upwards and inwards - nothing happened.

Ray was turning blue and Eileen was scared. Her mind raced with what to do next, and she remembered her instructor's voice saying that you might even have to thrust enough to lift the victim right of the floor. On her second thrust, that's exactly what happened, and the piece of steak lodged in Ray's throat went flying. Ray threw up, and the sound was a relief to Eileen, who knew it meant Ray was breathing again.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Eileen Kelly in April 2006.

Todd Stiles - Orleans

Todd Stiles and his wife were walking through their neighborhood on February 5, 2005, when a panic-stricken young boy approached them yelling that his cousin had fallen through the ice on a nearby pond and needed help. Todd directed his wife to call 911 and ran down to the pond where he found Kevin Farahani in the pond hanging on to the edge of the ice. Todd told Kevin to stay calm and to kick his feet to keep them moving. Then, remembering the ice safety lessons he'd learned as a boy, Todd began making a rope using his jacket, pants and belt.

Another bystander approached and offered his clothing to allow Todd to make the rope longer. In just his underwear and T-shirt, Todd crawled out onto the ice to get closer to Kevin while the bystander held Todd's ankle. Todd threw the rope, and after a few tries, Kevin caught the rope and the bystander helped them both to shore.

By the time emergency crews arrived, Todd and Kevin were wrapped in blankets and warming up in a nearby model home. Like a true hero, Todd is more pleased about the opportunity to do something to promote water safety than receiving accolades.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Todd Stiles in April 2006.

Click here to read rescue stories from previous years.

Rescue Award of Merit - Archive
1999 - 2005

Amanda Wehner

At 4:30 on Sunday morning, October 10, 1999 a woman's scream echoed through the Wehner house in Kingston, Ontario. The commotion that followed pulled 15-year-old Amanda from a deep sleep. She scrambled from her bedroom and down to the basement where her visiting grandparents were staying. There on the pull-out couch lay her 68-year-old grandfather, Konrad Wehner, eyes open, skin grey, body still. He had collapsed on his way back from the bathroom. That's when his wife cried out.

Amanda checked for breathing. Nothing. She hunted for a pulse. Nothing. Amanda, who had taken her Lifesaving Society Bronze Cross Award the previous summer, knew she had to do CPR - she was the only one in the house who knew the routine.

Just before Rudy Wehner ran upstairs to call 911, he watched his daughter on top of his father, performing cycles of compressions and breathing. He noticed how she had calmly took charge. By the time the ambulance and fire department arrived less than 10 minutes later, Amanda felt her grandfather's pulse in his wrist, his breath on her face.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Amanda Wehner in 1999.

Beth Griffiths

On Tuesday, August 11, 1998, at approximately 4:30 p.m., 16-year-old Beth Griffiths was at Ipperwash Beach with some friends when two beachgoers, Lynn Lucas and Barb Montgomery found themselves unable to return to shore in the rough waters of Lake Huron. An undertow was dragging them away from shore and they could not get back.

Both women were becoming exhausted in their struggle to overcome the waves and current and their cries for help could not be heard on shore. Barb was holding onto Lynn in an effort to assist her, but got to the point where she could no longer keep herself and Lynn afloat. Barb released Lynn and made a final, successful, attempt to swim to shore. As Barb neared shore, another friend heard her cries and alerted the rest of the bystanders. Lynn was not visible from the beach.

Beth, who holds the Lifesaving Society's instructor and national lifeguard certifications, responded quickly. With her friends guiding her, Beth swam out to the area in which Lynn was last seen and located Lynn who was barely conscious. Beth towed Lynn to shore, removed her from the water with help from her friends, and placed Lynn in a semi-prone position. Bystanders called 911, and Beth provided follow-up care until emergency personnel arrived. Lynn was kept overnight in the hospital but experienced no complications.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Beth Griffiths in January 1999.

Cathy Nametka

On Thursday, November 18, 1999 at approximately 11:20 am, Cathy Nametka was travelling to work along Highway 401 from her home in Cambridge, Ontario when she noticed a car pulled over onto the side of the highway. A man was hunched over the trunk.

Cathy, who holds the Lifesaving Society's Aquatic Emergency Care, National Lifeguard and Instructor certifications, sensed the man was experiencing a medical problem. She eased her car onto shoulder.

Cathy promptly took control of the situation when the man, experiencing breathing difficulty, was unable to respond to her. She asked if he had medication; the man thumped on the trunk pointing at it. Cathy swiftly went to work popping the trunk, but before she could get to the medication the victim collapsed to the ground.

Cathy immediately started CPR. A few minutes later a passerby pulled over and Cathy directed him to call 911. At his point the victim vomited. He was breathing, but in and out of consciousness.

When the Fire Department arrived, Cathy explained what had happened and the measures she had taken. She left the victim in the care of the emergency crew fearing she would be late for her lifeguard shift for the City of Hamilton.

Subsequently, the daughter of the victim contacted Cathy to thank her and to say that her father was well.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Cathy Nametka in March 2000.

Justin Trent

On Saturday, March 21, 1998, Justin Trent of Kenora, Ontario - on a trip to Costa Rica with his high-school group - heard a man call for help. The group was on a beach that had been red-flagged because of dangerous rip currents. The tide was coming in.

The victim was in the ocean about 100 - 150 m offshore and, as they watched, the man went underwater at least twice when he waved his arm for help.

One of Justin's teachers went to get help from nearby surfer while Justin, who holds the Lifesaving Society's National Lifeguard certification, entered the water. Justin swam out to support the exhausted victim. At one point they were both carried further offshore by the powerful rip. Justin carried the man back to safety. Once onshore Justin placed the victim in a semi-prone position to drain fluids.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Justin Trent in 1998.

Jennifer Cooke, Howard Desmoulin, Jonathan Fisher, Stuart Fisher, Brian Gionet, Clarence Otiquam and Tom Starr

On the evening of July 27, 1999, area resident Roger Lauzon was swimming with his three children in Lake Superior near the mouth of the Pic River near Marathon. They had ventured onto a sand bar about 100 feet from shore in water with considerable wave action and river current. When one of his children began experiencing trouble with an undertow, Mr. Lauzon was able to get his son back to safety, but he found himself being dragged into deeper waters by the current.

Responding to calls for help, Jennifer Cooke summoned others on the beach to aid the victim. Howard Desmoulin then recruited Clarence Otiquam and Brian Gionet. Stuart Fisher, Jonathan Fisher, Tom Starr and Howard Desmoulin took drift logs out to aid the exhausted Mr. Lauzon in staying afloat. Stuart Fisher was eventually able to reach Mr. Lauzon and instructed him to hold onto the log. In the meantime, Clarence Otiquam and Brian Gionet had secured a 17 ft. Zodiac at a dock some 1.5 km upstream and within minutes were able to reach the victim and Mr. Fisher clinging to the log in 1-2 m waves and bring them safely to shore. Marathon Ambulance responded on shore and transported the victim to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jennifer Cooke, Howard Desmoulin, Jonathan Fisher, Stuart Fisher, Brian Gionet, Clarence Otiquam and Tom Starr in 1999..

Kathy and Mike Ricciotti and Kathy Gracie

On Sunday, December 27, 1998, about 9:00 a.m., Kathy Ricciotti looked out the kitchen window to see a flock of ducks which had been disturbed at the Huntsville town dockside, which was obscured by large drifts of snow. Kathy spotted what she thought were two arms up in the air and going down in the water. Kathy called to her husband Mike who immediately called 911.

Mike then gathered a rope, lifejacket, and a hockey stick (to use as a reaching aid) and drove to the dock where he discovered Wayne Ratcliffe, who had stepped onto a snow drift on the ice beside the dock and dropped through newly formed ice about 2½ feet below the dock into the frigid Muskoka River. He was alert and conscious, but submerged up to his chest in the freezing water holding onto the edge of the ice and a steel chain - which had just been tied to the edge of the dock by Kathy Gracie who had responded to the victim's calls for help.

Kathy had retrieved the chain from the victim's car, tied it to the dock and run for assistance just before Mike arrived. From dockside Mike reached down and tied his rope around the victim's arm to secure him at the surface, and reassured Mr. Ratcliffe that additional help was on the way.

A few minutes later, OPP Sergeant Lewis arrived and together they managed to pull Mr. Ratcliffe, a large man wearing heavy - and now waterlogged - winter clothing, onto the dock. Ambulance and fire units arrived and assumed responsibility for follow-up care.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Mike Ricciotti, Kathy Ricciotti, and Kathy Gracie in 1999.

Naomi Henderson

On Thursday, February 10 at about 3:30 pm, Naomi Henderson was just finishing up work in Emery Collegiate pool, when she heard an announcement over the public address system calling for a staff member whom Naomi knew to be first aid certified. Alerted to a possible emergency situation, Naomi immediately ran for the school office. On route, she learned from a group of students about a shooting victim who had been taken into the office. Naomi pushed her way through the crowd gathered in the hallway to discover a teenaged victim lying on a couch in the office, suffering gunshot wounds, conscious and in great pain.

Naomi, who holds the Lifesaving Society's National Lifeguard, Distinction and Instructor certifications, took charge. She directed the office staff to get her gloves, gauze and other first aid supplies. Her victim survey revealed four bullet wounds - one very close to the victim's spine. She monitored breathing, applied pressure on the wounds and treated the now semi-conscious victim for shock. Naomi also dealt capably with an increasingly distressed bystander who was a friend of the victim. When Fire Department personnel arrived they supported Naomi's emergency care with additional supplies until responsibility for the victim was subsequently assumed by an ambulance crew about 20 minutes after Naomi had intervened.

Naomi is a lifeguard for the Board of Education and City of Toronto.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Naomi Henderson in 2000.

Shanna Reid, Judith Shim, and Perry Smith

On April 4, 2000, at approximately 5:30 am local time, Perry Smith discovered a woman slumped over the sink in the toilet of a Canada 3000 aircraft. With the help of a flight attendant and fellow passenger, Dr. Mackenzie, he laid the semi-conscious victim in the aisle and began treatment for a suspected heart attack.

On board were Canadian lifesavers returning from Australia. Among them Lifesaving Society program director Perry Smith, Judith Shim, and Shanna Reid - all of whom had been officiating at the World Lifesaving Championships.

Perry Smith and Judith Shim performed CPR and assisted Dr. Mackenzie with ultimately unsuccessful resuscitation efforts on the 78-year-old victim care. Shanna Reid, with infant child in hand, assisted the rescuers with medical supplies and support.

Approximately 45 minutes after the victim was discovered, the plane landed in Honolulu. Airport medical personnel boarded the plane with a defibrillator while CPR efforts continued. Perry Smith continued compressions while the victim loaded into an ambulance.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Shanna Reid, Judith Shim, and Perry Smith in March 2001.

Tyler Latta & Burt Lundie

About 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 23, 1999, park safety patrollers Tyler Latta and Burt Lundie were on training for the upcoming summer when they came across a group of three men who had capsized their canoe in London, Ontario's Thames River. Two of the men were wearing lifejackets; the third was not and clung to a rock in the middle of the river. One of the men attempted to assist the man stranded on the rock, but was pulled under by the panicked victim.

Tyler and Burt removed the rescue rope from their bikes, and tied it on to Tyler, who entered the water. Tyler was successful in throwing the rope to the victims and pulling them to shore.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Tyler and Burt in 1999.

Brad Toms, Brett Prairie, and Damien Personnaz

On July 25, 1999, Brad Toms, Brett Prairie, and Damien Personnaz, a French exchange student, set off to explore the caves in the Crowe River area at Callaghan's Rapids Conservation Area near Marmora. Their expedition was interrupted by screams and yells.

Following the sounds along the river, they came upon a distraught family of an elderly, heavy set male submerged in the water underneath an old railway bridge just above a set of rapids. Family members were trying unsuccessfully to surface the victim.

Brett, Brad, and Damien swam to the victim, recovered him to the surface and carried him to shore. With difficulty they managed to manoeuvre the unconscious man over shoreline rocks to safety where they determined the victim was pulseless and non-breathing.

Brad began CPR, while Brett sprinted back to the car and alerted emergency services from the first house he found. Brett guided emergency personnel to the scene, where they discovered Brad, who had learned CPR at high school, had successfully resuscitated the victim.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Brad Toms and Brett Prairie in March 2001.

Shawn Wannop

On Tuesday, October 24, 2000, Shawn Wannop was about to order lunch at a restaurant on Dundas near Church Street in Toronto when he heard a woman at a nearby table moan and saw her bend forward. She and her male companion got up to leave and it was apparent she was in pain. Outside she screamed and collapsed to the pavement.

Shawn, who is a National Lifeguard, CPR, and Aquatic Emergency Care Instructor went to her assistance and discovered the woman giving birth on the street. The infant's head was already visible.

Shawn called 911 on his cell phone. Another bystander assisted with the delivery and handed the baby to Shawn who wrapped the new born in clean towels provided by the restaurant staff. When the infant vomited Shawn cleared the airway and monitored vital signs. The emergency services dispatcher, learning of Shawn's qualifications, talked him through the examination of the baby and mother. Shawn tied off the umbilical cord with a shoelace and laid the baby on the mother's abdomen.

Emergency personnel arrived and took mother and newborn son to St. Michael's Hospital. When Shawn called sometime later, he learned both mother and child were doing well.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Shawn Wannop in March 2001.

Nick van den Ende

On a bright, sunny Friday afternoon at about 5:00 p.m. on August 11, 2000, Nick van den Ende was returning home from work as a lifeguard/instructor. Waiting to make a left turn, Nick watched helplessly as two cars collided in the intersection of Erin Mills and Battleford Road in Mississauga. A car with four teenagers had crashed into another car driven by an elderly couple.

Nick, who holds the Society's AEC Instructor, National Lifeguard and AED certifications, made his turn, pulled over to the curb, and popped the trunk of his car to retrieve the first aid equipment bag he uses on Bronze Cross and AEC courses. When he saw a group of people attending to the teenagers' car, Nick turned his attention on the elderly couple who were being escorted to another car by bystanders.

While one of the bystanders, contacted EMS, Nick conducted primary assessment of the male and female victim. The man's faced was badly bruised and he had glass embedded in his arm. Using his first aid equipment, Nick began victim care for his bleeding and shock, and tended both badly shaken victims until emergency services arrived.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Nick van den Ende in March 2001.

Kevin Hicks

On Monday, November 27, 2000, Kevin Hicks was driving home from work at Milliken Mills Community Centre in Markham. That evening, he had just completed his Lifesaving Society Automated External Defibrillation certification course.

En route to Greenwood, he spotted a car in the ditch. Kevin pulled over, approached the vehicle to find a woman unconscious in the driver's seat. The car appeared to have rolled over several times before coming to a standstill in the ditch.

Kevin assessed the victim's vital signs and determined she was breathing and had a pulse. But he was unable to elicit any response from the woman. He returned to his car and called 911.

He returned to the woman and monitored vital signs. Eventually she regained consciousness and insisted on getting out of the car. Emergency services arrived and assumed responsibility and transported the victim to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Kevin Hicks in March 2001.

Janet Stoeckl

About 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2000, Janet Stoeckl was on-duty as pool manager at York Mills Collegiate in North York when a board of education maintenance worker informed her that someone in the badminton class had collapsed in the gym.

Janet headed for the gym where she found a man attempting resuscitation on the unconscious 65-year-old victim. Janet, who holds the Lifesaving Society's Instructor, Aquatic Emergency Care and National Lifeguard certifications, assumed control. Her assessment confirmed the victim was pulseless and non-breathing. She checked for medic alerts and tried to obtain a medical history from bystanders. She made sure emergency services were called and started chest compressions while directing the bystander in 2-person CPR.

The victim regained breathing and pulse several times only to relapse. Each time Janet would reassess and bring the victim back. She maintained CPR until ambulance crews took over and assessed a faint pulse. Witnesses and emergency services crews credit Janet with saving the victim's live.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Janet Stoeckl in March 2001.

Kirsten Emrich and Brennan Goman

On a sunny afternoon on August 13, 2000, Kirsten Emrich and Brennan Goman were swimming at Rockwood Conservation Area near Guelph when people on the beach began screaming and pointing at a woman with two young children who had fallen off an inflatable raft in deep water.

Kirsten and Brennan swam to the scene about 25m from shore. Kirsten, who holds the Lifesaving Society's Instructor and National Lifeguard certifications, contacted the young boy and carried him to shore. Another bystander rescued his sister.

Brennan found the woman face-down on the bottom in about 9 feet of water. He pulled her to the surface and, en route to shore, was assisted by Kirsten and another bystander.

Kirsten detected a weak pulse and very shallow breathing in the unconscious woman. Kirsten placed the victim in a semi-prone position and continued to assess vital signs until emergency services arrived, while Brennan managed the crowd. The victim was placed on oxygen, taken to hospital, and subsequently released.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Kirsten Emrich and Brennan Goman in March 2001.

Andrew Marson

On the 2000 August long weekend, Andrew Marson and several friends were boating on Lake Scugog near Port Perry under sunny skies. As the boat turned, one of the people behind the boat hit the wake and fell off her tube. The driver sharpened his turn and accelerated toward her not realizing she was directly in the boat's path.

When the victim called that she was injured, Andrew, who holds the Society's Instructor and National Lifeguard certifications, instructed the driver to get closer. Andrew entered the water and swam to the conscious victim. He noticed considerable blood in the water as he towed her to the boat. Once out of the water, it was apparent that she had suffered a significant propellor injury to her left ankle and foot.

Andrew directed his friends to provide towels to stop the bleeding, and told the driver to head quickly to shore. Andrew reassured the victim on the return trip monitoring vital signs and, assessing for other injuries, saw she'd also been cut in the groin. At shore, the victim was removed from the boat and transported to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Andrew Marson in March 2001.

Andrew Simpson

On Sunday, June 17, 2001 at about 3:15 p.m., Andrew Simpson was enjoying a picnic table snack with a friend near the unguarded beach at Silent Lake Provincial Park just south of Bancroft. They heard yelling but paid little attention: the language was not English and it seemed a man was simply yelling at his kids. When the yelling took on overtones of panic, Andrew spotted a young teenaged boy struggling in the chilly water with a small girl nearby.

Andrew, who holds the Society's National Lifeguard certification, stripped off his shirt while running to the water. He swam to the teenager, passing the father who had gone into the water fully clothed, reassuring the boy as he supported him and his 5-year-old sister until the father arrived and took the girl back to shore. Andrew carried the male victim toward shore, when he was intercepted by a beachgoer named Ryan (a former NLS award holder) carrying a ringbuoy. Andrew had just supported the boy with the ringbuoy, when he saw a woman, who turned out to be the children's mother, also in trouble. Andrew reversed direction, picked up the mother and towed both victims to shore.

The father and daughter had arrived safely. The mother was fine and the boy was exhausted, but otherwise appeared to be okay. Andrew thanked Ryan, was thanked profusely in Spanish by the father of the victims, and went off to finish his snack.

When Andrew realized the boy was unable to stand, he returned to the scene where Ryan had the victim in recovery position. Andrew and Ryan called an ambulance, monitored vital signs and treated for shock. After about 20 minutes, the ambulance arrived and transported the boy to Bancroft hospital where he was treated and released.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Andrew Simpson in March, 2002.

Dawn Noble

On Sunday, March 11, 2001 around 2:45 a.m., Dawn Noble was driving home from Niagara Falls on a country road with her roommates when she suddenly swerved on to avoid hitting a raccoon. The back end of her car slid on the loose gravel, slammed into a small retaining wall at the end of a driveway, spun 360 degrees throwing her across a ditch where the car hit another retaining wall and flipped to come to rest upside down.

Dawn, who holds the Society's National Lifeguard and Instructor certifications, turned to check her roommates. Cindy appeared to be merely shaken by the incident but Jade, restrained by her seat belt, was unconscious and upside down. Dawn, herself hanging upside down, performed an ABC check to discover her friend was breathing.

Dawn escaped the car and called 911 to report the mishap. By this time, Jade had regained consciousness and wanted to get out of the car. Dawn and Cindy assisted her in doing so, placed her on the ground, covered her with her jacket and reassessed vitals.

At this point 2 ambulances, 2 fire trucks and 5 police cars were on scene. Ambulance personnel took all 3 women to hospital. Jade was discharged with no injuries; Cindy with a bruise from her seat belt; Dawn with whiplash and bruising on her legs, chest, shoulder and hips.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Dawn Noble in March 2002.

Erin Vickers

Late in the day on Wednesday, November 22, 2000, Erin Vickers was driving along a country road just outside of Brantford to pick up her mother. Up ahead, Erin spotted a truck in the ditch on one side of the road and a car in the ditch on other. There were no people around and no other cars.

Erin, who holds the Society's National Lifeguard certification, pulled over to discovered a woman trapped in the pick-up truck clearly in pain and screaming for help. Erin called 911 on her cell phone and tried unsuccessfully to open the door. She turned her attention to the car on the other side of the road, which was in much worse shape than the truck. The passenger side was completely smashed in and Erin could see a young boy, semi-conscious and hunched over with blood coming out his ears and head and a puddle of blood in his lap. The driver, his 18-year-old sister, was in shock with a huge gash on her forehead and blood all over her face and hair. Both were trapped in the car.

By this time two or three other motorists had stopped. Erin directed them to get something to stop the bleeding on the boy's head while she comforted his sister who held Erin's hand so tight she thought the victim might break her fingers.

Ambulance personnel arrived and treated the victim in the truck for a broken leg, but were unable to remove the boy in the car until the fire department arrived with the Jaws of Life. The victim subsequently died in hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Erin Vickers in March 2002.

Jane Booker

In late November 1998, Jane Booker was listening to the Sunday morning sermon at St. Andrew Chalmers Presbyterian Church in Uxbridge when she took note of an elderly member of the congregation. Jane knew that the 79-year-old woman had recently had brain surgery and was on medication. As Jane watched, the women suddenly collapsed onto the pew with a loud crash. The sermon stopped and there was dead silence.

Jane, who holds the Society's National Lifeguard, Instructor and AED certifications, rushed to the victim's aid. The woman who had been sitting beside the victim was a nurse who determined the victim was pulseless. Jane assumed command. She directed that emergency services be contacted immediately, while she and the nurse moved the victim to the aisle and began 2-person CPR.

Within a minute, Jane found a pulse. The victim was breathing, semi-conscious and disoriented. EMS arrived and transported the victim to local hospital. Jane followed in her own car, knowing one of the victim's daughters worked at the hospital.

The victim made a full recovery and her three daughters later came to the pool where Jane worked to thank her with a bouquet of flowers and a package of "LifeSavers".

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jane Booker in March 2002.

Jeff Plumridge and Robert Dakin

On Thursday morning, March 23, 2000, Jeff Plumridge and Robert Dakin were in class at Fort Frances High School, when a classmate - Krista Leek - suddenly fell from her seat onto the floor. Her head pitched back hitting a desk and she threw herself onto her back in convulsions. Jeff, with fellow student Rob Dakin (and NLS-certified) and their teacher, cleared the desks.

Rob rushed to call emergency services while Jeff - who holds the Society's Instructor and National Lifeguard certifications - took command of treatment. Krista's seizure soon appeared to end but she was turning blue. Her mouth was clenched shut and, unable to open it, Jeff began mouth-to-nose artificial respiration. After about one minute, the victim started breathing by herself but remained unconscious.

Soon after, Rob returned with another teacher. They cleared the classroom of students and used jackets to keep the victim warm. Krista suddenly sat up, completely unaware of her surroundings and then, just as suddenly collapsed into unconsciousness again, very white.

Jeff and Rob recovered her and monitored vital signs while Krista remained unconscious. After the fire department arrived and assumed responsibility, Krista eventually came to with a bad headache and three large bumps on her head.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jeff Plumridge and Robert Dakin in 2002.

Randy Thornton

On Sunday, July 15, 2001, Randy Thornton and his family were spending a day on Lake Huron and had pulled into Goderich Harbour to eat. While placing an order, Randy heard someone shout that there was a man lying face-down in the water.

Randy's wife - a former lifeguard - threw him a lifejacket from their boat, and Randy, a former guard with Miro Aquatrol, ran to end of the pier and through the crowd gathered there. He spied an elderly man floating face down. Randy yelled for someone to call emergency services, threw the lifejacket to the unresponsive victim and entered the water. When he rolled the victim over Randy thought he was dead.

Randy checked vitals: the man was blue and pulseless. Randy struggled to keep the 260 lb. victim's head above water until he could maneuver to the swim platform of a pleasure craft that came to assist. By this point, Randy, a severe asthmatic, was gasping for breath and shivering in the cold water of Lake Huron. It was impossible to lift the man into the boat and the woman in the boat could not do CPR. Running out of options, Randy administered a sharp blow between the shoulder blades. To his astonishment, the victim coughed and gurgled. Randy repeated the blow at which the victim vomited, regained consciousness and started to moan. The victim was assisted into a Coast Guard boat and subsequently transported to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Randy Thornton in March 2002.

Robin Pugh

On a cold Saturday, July 28, 2001, 11-year-old Robin Pugh was sitting on the yacht club dock with her friend, 13-year-old Matthew Loffree, watching the Ontario Mirror Dingy Association Regatta on Frenchman's Bay. They were waiting for one of the races to finish when they heard someone yelling. At first they thought that some kids were playing, but Robin soon recognized it as a cry for help.

Robin, a member of the Pickering Junior Lifeguard Club, looked through a small crack in the docks and was just barely able to spot the face and hands of 7-year-old Katie Steele - fully-clothed, partially submerged - hanging onto the docks by her fingertips and quickly slipping into the cold, murky water of Frenchman's Bay. Robin and Matthew acted quickly, trying to pull the girl to safety, but Katie's soaking wet clothing made her too heavy for them to lift.

Katie was ever so slowly losing her grip. About to run for help, Robin realized some loose boards on the bottom of the docks could be used to prop Katie up and she quickly moved them into place. Katie was then lifted to safety and, cold and scared, taken to her parents.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Robin Pugh in March 2002.

Cheryl Chadwick, Philip Oree, Christine Steinwall, Erin Wheeler

In August 1998, Bluffer's Park in Scarborough was crowded with beach goers seeking relief from the hot, muggy Sunday weather. Strong winds and the stormy conditions of the previous few days generated 6-8 foot swells, and the numerous sand bars created strong, unseen rips.

Toronto head lifeguard Christine Steinwall, with lifeguards Cheryl Chadwick, Philip Oree, and Erin Wheeler were on duty. Shortly after 2 p.m., Christine spotted two children in distress. She and Philip swam out and brought the two back to shore where Cheryl and Erin assumed follow-up responsibility. Immediately thereafter, Philip spotted a woman in distress and made another rescue. Christine, en route as backup to assist Philip, spotted another child struggling in the water. She detoured, rescued the 12-year-old victim, and swam back out to assist Philip.

Ten minutes later, the guards spotted four young men in trouble off the most dangerous area of the beach - the rock jetty. Waves were crashing hard onto the rocks; there was rip; and the current was strongest at this location. Philip rescued one victim, Christine the second. On their way out to secure the remaining two, a distraught patron, in an apparent desire to help, attempted to jump off the rocks into crashing waves. Both guards tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him: he jumped into the water and immediately had to be assisted to safety. Philip rescued this man and the original third victim, while Christine swam out toward the fourth and most distant victim.

She was 5 m away when he lost consciousness. And as a large wave abruptly carried him upward, he disappeared below the surface.

Erin and Cheryl cleared the beach and summoned emergency help and joined the search. For more than 2 hours, the guards battled zero water visibility, strong underwater currents, and their own fatigue in waves that repeatedly threw them against rocks and zebra mussels.

Guards from other beaches arrived - together with off-duty guards, police, ambulance, fire and coast guard personnel - all of whom assisted in the search. After more than five hours, the police dive team, which judged the conditions too treacherous to enter the water, called off the search.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Cheryl Chadwick, Philip Oree, Christine Steinwall, and Erin Wheeler in March 2002.

Stacey Goheen and Meredith Lee

On Wednesday morning, July 17, 2002, Stacey Goheen and Meredith Lee, summer employees of the City of Barrie who were watering the grass at Centennial Beach, were alerted by an older couple to an inflatable raft drifting out into the bay with two children aboard. Stacey, a nursing student, and Meredith, a Lifesaving Society National Lifeguard, immediately sought out the mother of the children.

Pointing to the raft, the distressed mother explained that both children, and her husband who was now holding onto the raft, were all weak-swimmers. A short time before, her husband had noticed the raft drifting out on an offshore breeze. He had swum out to the raft but found the swim more than he could handle. He was totally exhausted and unable to swim or pull the boat back to shore. All three were drifting farther out into Lake Simcoe.

Meredith and Stacey kicked off their work boots, borrowed some lifejackets from a family on the beach and swam out to rescue the group 100 metres distant. They found the children were now holding onto the father to keep him from slipping under the water. They gave the father one lifejacket and gave the children in the boat the other, and proceeded to tow all of them back to shore. On shore, they provided follow-up care to the cold and tired man, assessing and monitoring vital signs.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Stacey Goheen and Meredith Lee in August 2002.

Angie Keefe

Angie Keefe is a 22-year-old lifeguard and instructor who works part-time for the Canadian Forces North Bay Aquatic Centre. She is a great employee who works evenings, weekends and every spare moment she has while continuing her education at North Bay's Nipissing University

Angie has been a reliable employee for many years, lifeguarding and teaching Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross classes. She is an Examiner with three years of experience. Everything was going smoothly until this tragedy.

In October 2001, Angie Keefe and a friend were walking along the side of the road from the Nipissing University campus after an evening at the pub, when from nowhere a car hit Angie's friend who was walking beside her.

The driver did not stop and left the seriously injured victim lying in the ditch. It was not a dream, nor a mock situation set up by friends, employers or supervisors. This time it was real and it was terrible. Despite the incredible amount of stress, Angie instinctively took charge.

She ran from the ditch to stop a car and direct the driver to call 911. She immediately returned to the victim to assess responsiveness. Angie ventilated, checked pulse and performed CPR until emergency services arrived and took over. Later, Angie learned that her friend had died from her injuries.

Angie had done everything by the book, everything that she learned from the hours of training and practice during in-service. She showed incredible courage.

Angie found support from her friends, family, and employers. The grief of her friend's death was painful. She went through rage, anger, disbelieve, and sadness, but always found the courage to face questions from everyone.

Angie was congratulated for her courage from the ambulance services on how she responded during this stressful situation. During a recent conversation I had with Angie, one thing came to her mind about this incident. She says that she would never complain about in-service practices. You can never be too prepared. She also told me that because of her experience in teaching resuscitation and CPR, her reaction to this event was instinctive. Maybe this is a lesson to be learned. In-service training is important and the best way to learn is to teach others.

Alex Lee, Lukasz Sobota, Sabina Sobota, & Margaret Jankowska

On Monday, December 30, 2002 these National Lifeguards were snowboarding on the slopes at Mount St. Louis Moonstone. At approximately 11:30 a.m. they were working their way down a half pipe when a friend pointed out a skier prone and unconscious.

Taking charge, they set up barriers with their snowboards, comforted the man's son, and began to assess the victim - a 72-year-old man who had fallen hard. He was bleeding from his eye and nose. They detected a weak pulse and shallow respiratory rate. As they continued to monitor vitals, the ski patrol arrived, and at about this same time, the victim went into cardiac arrest.

Suspecting a spinal, and on the slope of the hill, they performed a spinal rollover. With a modified jaw thrust Alex performed ventilations while a member of the ski patrol preformed chest compressions.

The victim's pulse briefly returned and then ceased once again. Strapped to a toboggan, the rescuers continued CPR down the hill where paramedics were waiting. Revived, the man was transferred to hospital but due to his weakened condition, he passed away the next day.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Alex, Lukasz, Sabina and Margaret in March 2003.

Brian Giffin - Pickering & Shaun Gillespie - Whitby

At about 11 a.m. on Friday, January 8, 2002, Brian Giffin and Shaun Gillespie were walking Atlantic Beach enjoying their Venezuelan vacation on Margarita Island. It was a sunny and warm day, but with 8-9 foot surf and strong undertows, the red warning flag was flying.

Suddenly, Brian heard three men in the water yelling frantically in German and waving their arms at people on the shore. Brian and Shaun spotted a woman about 15 feet beyond the three men and 35 metres from shore. She was in serious trouble: in the strong current and wave action, 25-year-old French tourist Sylvie Laurent was exhausted and in danger of drowning.

Brian and Shaun entered the surf to render assistance and soon discovered that not only was Sylvie in trouble, but the three men nearby were also in jeopardy. Shaun reached Sylvie first, and managed to hold her head out of surf, but was not able to make any progress towards the shore, due to the strong current. Brian coordinated the rescue, instructed the group how to use the wave action to advantage, and coached the three men toward shallower water where they managed to get to shore.

Near exhaustion themselves, Brian and Shaun struggled to move themselves and Sylvie toward shore. En route Brian commandeered a surfboard and finally they all made it to the beach where first aid and treatment for shock was administered.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Brian Giffin and Shaun Gillespie in March 2003.

Ian Detta - Ottawa, Darryl Nequest - Waterloo

On Saturday January 4, 2003 Ian Detta and Darryl Nequest, student trainers for the men's hockey team, were present for the second practice of the teams first ever hockey training camp at the University of Waterloo's Columbia Icefields Facility Arena.

They were speaking to the hockey team manager, Ron Ober in a hallway, when he collapsed in front of them. Both men began to monitor Mr. Ober's condition, directing staff to contact 911, while Ian retrieved an oxygen resuscitator from the office. Shortly after oxygen therapy commenced, Mr. Ober went into cardiac arrest.

Ian and Darryl began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Mr. Ober soon regained consciousness. Darryl and Ian, a Lifesaving Society certified National Lifeguard Instructor, monitored vital signs until the arrival of the Waterloo Fire Department, when once again Mr. Ober went into full arrest. He was defibrillated and resuscitated by fire service personal and paramedics and transferred to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented Ian and Darryl with the Rescue Award of Merit in March 2003.

Jeff Bowen - Brampton

Late in the evening of July 31, 2001 Jeff Bowen, Adrian Pylat and two friends were travelling northbound on Highway 427 when their car was overtaken by a fast-moving Honda Civic. At the bend in the highway just below the Molson Brewery, Jeff and friends smelled burning rubber and then witnessed the Honda spin out of control and crash into the guardrail. The airbags deployed and the two female occupants were obviously in trouble.

They pulled over and stopped. Jeff and Adrian ran back to find the Honda's front end crushed, windshield shattered, the driver unconscious and bleeding, the passenger semi-conscious. The Honda had come to rest against the guard rail next to the fast lane of Hwy 427, and cars continued to speed by dangerously close to the incident. The Honda filled with smoke.

Jeff, who is an NLS and First Aid Examiner, helped the passenger from the car. Adrian, who also has first aid training, was dealing with the suspected spinal-injured driver. Jeff returned to assume immobilization of her head and Adrian controlled her hips. They were able to remove the woman from the vehicle.

Jeff continued treatment of the driver who had regained consciousness, and directed Adrian in care of the passenger. Eventually the OPP arrived and assumed traffic control. They gave Jeff and Adrian a first aid kit and told them to continue treatment. Subsequently, ambulance personnel arrived and transported the victims to hospital.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Jeff Bowen in March 2003.

Julie Millington - Brampton

On Saturday, August 17, 2002 Julie Millington was enjoying a quiet morning visiting with her parents on Russell Street in Lindsay, when through the open kitchen window, Julie thought she heard a child crying for its mother. Julie went into the backyard where she identified the cries originating in the next-door neighbours' backyard. Shouting for help, Julie raced around the back and gained access to the backyard injuring her ankle in the process. Julie discovered a young child, Madison Hughes, floating face down in an above ground pool.

Julie pulled the unconscious victim from the water and began CPR. She directed bystanders to call for police and emergency medical services. Madison revived and was removed to Ross Memorial Hospital by paramedics.

Only then was it learned that the victim's younger brother was missing. A search resulted in the victim being found on the bottom of the pool, hidden by the pools solar blanket. Despite all best efforts, this victim could not be revived.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Julie Millington in March 2003.

Julie Twaddle - Ajax

On October 10, 2002, 79-year-old George Bialecki, a regular at the Oshawa Civic Centennial Pool, came out of the sauna, jumped into the water and went into cardiac arrest. Two on-duty lifeguards, Meaghan Granville, and Jacqueline Trimble immediately went into action. Jacqueline pulled the elderly victim from the water and began CPR, while Meagan ran to contact emergency services.

Off-duty pool and program supervisor, and Society vice president Julie Twaddle, who had come into the facility to do a few lengths on her own, saw the staff responding to a serious situation. Grabbing the facilities' newly acquired defibrillator, Julie took charge of the situation and applied shock therapy. Soon after Mr. Bialecki regained consciousness.

With the arrival of paramedics, the victim was transported to the Lakeridge Health Centre. Mr. Bialecki has since undergone bypass surgery and is alive today due to the quick actions of these trained lifesavers.

The Lifesaving Society presented its Rescue Award of Merit to Julie Twaddle in March 2003.

Margie Lizzotti - Thorold

On Friday, March 22, 2002 at approximately 8:00 a.m. a student, driving into Brock University campus, suffered a seizure. Out of control at a high rate of speed, the car toppled a light standard, spun several times and crossed the median to crash into the trees on a nearby embankment. Inside the car was a young male.

Margie, on her way to work, came upon the scene and stopped to render assistance. It was bitterly cold with high winds. From bystanders she learned that campus police had been contacted, and that the EMS had been activated. Margie was unable to open the doors and crawled into the vehicle through the shattered rear window. The victim's face was lacerated; he was semi conscious and appeared to be in shock.

Margie, who is a Lifesaving Society First Aid Examiner, assessed the victim's vital signs and, suspecting a possible spinal injury, immobilized the man's head using the vice grip. This became increasingly difficult as her ba