2002 Award Recipients (for actions in 2001)
On November 18, 2002, the government of Québec paid public tribute to 27 persons in recognition of their acts of good citizenship in 2001. The Tribute to Good Citizenship ceremony was held in the Legislative Council Chamber of the main Parliament Building, presided over by Rémy Trudel, Minister of State for Population, aux Régions et aux Affaires autochtones and Minister of Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration, and André Boulerice, Minister for Relations avec les citoyens et à l'Immigration. The Ministers awarded 9 medals and 18 honourable citations.
The recipients were also given a lapel pin, which is a miniature replica of the medal.
The acts of good citizenship highlighted at the 19th Tribute to Good Citizenship ceremony were divided into categories.
Medals for Good Citizenship
The medal for good citizenship, accompanied by a gold lapel pin, may be awarded to a person who has accomplished an act of good citizenship under dangerous circumstances. Made of bronze and engraved with the recipient’s name, the two faces on the medal symbolize both aspects of the theme based on risking one's life to save the life of another.
In the "drowning risks" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Sylvain Alie, Sainte-Catherine (Montérégie)
On July 27, 2001, at around 10:20 p.m., Sylvain Alie was watching a fireworks display along the fleuve Saint-Laurent in Montréal, when he heard someone yell that a man had fallen into the water from the pont Jacques-Cartier. In the murky distance, he could make out a man's head and an arm. Despite his acute fear of water, Mr. Alie dived into the water and swam toward the victim about 60 metres away, where the water was 12 metres deep. He managed to reach the man, who was not moving and whose head was underwater. He grabbed him and swam toward shore until the coast guard vessels arrived to pick up the unconscious victim and his exhausted rescuer.
Jean-Philippe Boily, Longueuil (Montérégie) and François Lépine, Roberval (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean)
On June 16, 2001, Jean-Philippe Boily and François Lépine were at Chute à Michel on the rivière Ashuapmushuan in Saint-Félicien when a woman shouted that a young man was drowning in the river. They ran to the scene as they knew that there were strong currents and eddies and that the water was very deep. The young man was struggling to keep his head above water, but he swallowed water and choked. Mr. Boily and Mr. Lépine immediately jumped into the river and swam toward him 15 metres away. When they reached the teenager, who was in a state of panic, they both managed to grab one of his arms and bring him to shore.
Simon Guillemette, Fleurimont (Estrie)
On June 10, 2001, Simon Guillemette was camping at the Scotchtown quarry, near East Angus. Toward midnight, he saw a car plunge into the water at the bottom of the quarry. By the light of the car's headlights, he could see five teenagers trapped in the vehicle, about 9 metres underwater and 12 metres from the shore. The water was icy cold, fed by an underground spring. The driver of the car had emerged and was shouting for help because he could not swim. Mr. Guillemette raced down the five-metre slope, jumped into the water and swam toward the young man. He grabbed him by the coat and pulled him toward the water's edge, but half-way there had to let go because he was exhausted. He went to shore to catch his breath, and noticing that the man could no longer stay afloat, immediately went back into the water to get him, grabbed him again and pulled him to shore. He brought him to safety at the top of the ridge, where help was waiting.
In the "accidents" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Réjean Berthiaume and Marcel Samson, La Prairie (Montérégie)
On February 9, 2001, freezing rain was falling as a truck driver on Route 104 in La Prairie lost control of his truck and collided with an on-coming truck. When Marcel Samson and Réjean Berthiaume arrived on the scene, they saw smoke coming out of the hood of the truck carrying three passengers. Mr. Samson ran toward the vehicle, opened the rear door and pulled out a young man who was injured. After bringing him to safety, Mr. Samson and Mr. Berthiaume pulled the driver out and carried him further along the road. Mr. Berthiaume returned to rescue a woman passenger who was unconscious and whose feet were trapped under the seat. The thick smoke made him choke and he stepped back to take deep breaths, then went back to the woman. Firmly gripping her, he pulled her to safety. He returned to rescue the fourth person, but was unable to because the flames had engulfed the vehicle. A few minutes later, the fire spread to the other truck and both vehicles were destroyed in the fire.
Charles Desmeules (17 years old), Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive (Capitale-Nationale)
On October 6, 2001, at around 11:30 p.m., Charles Desmeules was at a friend's in Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive when he heard the sound of an accident. Going to the scene, he saw a car lying on its side in the ditch with the trunk on fire. The driver had managed to get out and with his help, Mr. Desmeules and this friend righted the vehicle and got the passenger out of the back seat of the vehicle. Instants later, there were several explosions. The fire was spreading to the passenger compartment and the passenger in front was still trapped, shouting for help because his foot was caught. No one dared approach the vehicle due to the raging fire. Mr. Desmeules ran to the side of the car and despite the victim's weight and the spreading flames, was able to pull him out. Help arrived twenty minutes later. The car was totally destroyed in the fire.
Yvan Grenier, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Beauce (Chaudière-Appalaches)
On July 20, 2001, at around 2 a.m., Yvan Grenier was driving along Route 276 in Saint-Joseph-des-Érables when he noticed an overturned vehicle on fire in the woods. As he approached the car, he saw that the driver was still inside and conscious, but unable to get out because he was stuck between the door and the seat. The flames were spreading and the leaking gas could have caused an explosion at any moment. Mr. Grenier hurried to force the passenger door open. Just as the flames reached the front of the vehicle, he managed to pull the driver out of the car by his arms. He took him to safety and called for help. Ten minutes later, the fire had completely gutted the car.
In the "fires" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Pierre Tremblay, Bromont (Montérégie)
On June 25, 2001, at around 11 a.m., Pierre Tremblay was driving south on Autoroute 10 with his wife and two children. Suddenly, his van lost power and flames shot out from the rear of his vehicle. He asked his wife and children to undo their seat belts and quickly stopped the van on the shoulder of the road. As soon as they opened the doors, smoke and flames engulfed the passenger compartment. His wife managed to get out and Mr. Tremblay attempted to get his children out by pulling the front seat forward, but burned his fingers. He stepped back a few moments and then jumped into the burning vehicle. From the front seat and just as the van exploded, he grabbed his son and pulled him out. He rushed back into the vehicle to rescue his daughter, but had to step back because of the heat. Mr. Tremblay again tried to enter the vehicle, disregarding attempts to hold him back, but there was nothing more he could do.
Honourable Citations for Good Citizenship
Honourable citations for good citizenship, accompanied by a silver lapel pin, may be awarded to an individual who has performed an act of courage or dedication under difficult circumstances. The honourable citation is a parchment certificate bearing the recipient’s name.
In the "drowning risks" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Nathalie Bolduc, Saint-Georges (Chaudière-Appalaches)
On October 1, 2001, at around 5 a.m., at lac Savard in Longue-Rive, Sault-au-Mouton, Nathalie Bolduc and two friends were rowing to their moose-hunting blind in a wooden rowboat. About 45 metres from shore, they realized that their rowboat was leaking. Everything happened very quickly: the rowboat sank in seven metres of icy cold water, stranding the three hunters in the middle of the lake wearing heavy clothing and a backpack. Ms. Bolduc managed to swim to shore and then noticed that one of her friends had not moved, because he could not swim. Without her help, he would surely drown. Despite the distance she had just covered and the weight of her wet clothes, she immediately went back into the water and swam to her panicked friend. She swam back to shore with him on her back.
Suzanne Boudreau, Saint-Rémi (Montérégie)
On April 11, 2001, at around 4:45 p.m., near her place of work in Saint-Rémi, Suzanne Boudreau was alerted by the cries of a little girl whose younger brother had fallen into a dumpsite filled with icy water and debris. Because of the spring thaw, the water level in the basin was high and the current very strong. Ms. Boudreau tried to spot the child, but the water was so dirty and black that she could not see him. She began to run in the same direction as the flow when a co-worker showed her where the boy was. She jumped into the water, grabbed the child by his clothing and pulled him out of the water. Hypothermic, the boy was taken to safety until help arrived.
Sébastien Côté, Havre-aux-Maisons (Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine), Jonathan Mercier St-Hilaire, Chicoutimi (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean) and Mikael Rioux, Trois-Pistoles (Bas-Saint-Laurent)
On July 21, 2001, a man was at Piste à Avila beach in Étang-du-Nord, Îles-de-la-Madeleine where his son and two friends were swimming. He suddenly realized that the children were in trouble. He went to their rescue, but as he reached them, he was also carried away by the current. Kayakists Sébastien Côté, Mikael Rioux and Jonathan Mercier St-Hilaire saw the group struggling against the current 150 metres from shore. Using an incoming wave, Mr. Mercier St-Hilaire threw them an emergency throw bag. Mikael Rioux swam toward them and managed to get close despite the undertow. Panicked and exhausted, two of the children held on to Mr. Rioux who brought them to shore. The father managed to catch another emergency throw bag and while Mr. Mercier St-Hilaire and Mr. Rioux pulled the father and his son toward the shore, Mr. Côté escorted them in his kayak.
Andrzej Oles and Adam Wyroslak, Sainte-Geneviève (Montréal)
On December 26, 2001, Andrzej Oles and Adam Wyroslak spotted a young boy in the icy waters of lac des Deux-Montagnes, about 150 metres from shore. His father was close by, inching toward him on the ice. Mr. Oles and Wyroslak hurried to them, carrying safety belts used on construction sites, but soon realized that the father had broken through the ice and was also in the water. They made their way toward them and when they got close enough, tied the belts together to make a rope about ten metres long. Mr. Oles inched forward with the rope in hand, while Mr. Wyroslak held the other end. Mr. Oles threw the rope several times and the father finally managed to catch it and wrap it around his son, but it slipped loose. Mr. Oles threw the rope again and when it caught in the boy's coat, the boy was pulled out of the water by Mr. Oles and Wyroslak. Hypothermic and comatose, he was immediately taken to the waiting ambulance by Mr. Wyroslak, while Mr. Oles helped the father climb out of the water.
Fanny Rousseau, LaSalle (Montréal)
On November 14, 2001, at around 6:45 p.m. in LaSalle, a friend alerted Fanny Rousseau that a car had plunged into the river at the intersection of boulevards LaSalle and Lacharité. Ms. Rousseau grabbed her kayak and hurried to the water's edge. She saw a panicked and hypothermic young girl desperately hanging onto a rock about 30 metres from shore. Ms. Rousseau went to her rescue carrying a life preserver in her kayak. The girl's father had also jumped into the water, but was unable to swim back to shore, because of the strong current. The current pushed Ms. Rousseau away from the victims and she dropped the life preserver. She again tried to approach them from upstream, but the rope on the life preserver proved too short. On the third attempt, she managed to reach the victims. The father caught the life preserver, and Ms. Rousseau pulled the father and daughter toward shore with great difficulty, holding on to the rope as she paddled. Nearing the water's edge, she gave the rope to the police and firemen waiting at the scene who took charge of the victims.
In the "fires" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Louis-Alexandre Bergeron, Saint-Lin (Lanaudière)
On August 19, 2001, at around 4:20 a.m., Louis-Alexandre Bergeron was on the pont Le Gardeur when he heard a fire alarm. He spotted flames coming out of a residence for the elderly on the other side of the road. He rushed to the scene to find the second storey on fire. He entered the building and helped two employees take residents outside. The thick smoke prevented him from going back inside, so he went around the building and found another entrance. He made several trips to help residents out of the building. They were all evacuated and taken to safety.
Roland Boivin, Saint-Norbert (Lanaudière), Richard Desrosiers, Lavaltrie (Lanaudière) and Marco Leblanc, Berthierville (Lanaudière)
On December 29, 2001, at around 1:30 p.m. in Lavaltrie, Richard Desrosiers was driving an all-terrain vehicle when he noticed thick black smoke coming out of the solarium and a chimney of a residence. Rushing to the scene, he arrived at the same time as Roland Boivin and Marco Leblanc who tried to knock down the front door. Breaking a window pane, Mr. Desrosiers unlocked the door and entered the house. He saw someone lying on the floor and grabbed him by one leg, but had difficulty dragging him out because he was stuck. The smoke was very thick. Crouching, he managed to free the man and drag him closer to the door. Mr. Leblanc and Mr. Boivin entered the house, grasped the victim and took him outdoors. After taking deep breaths of fresh air, Mr. Desrosiers went back into the house with a policeman. They found a woman lying on a sofa and carried her outside. Mr. Desrosiers went back again to check the basement. As he was climbing back up the stairs, he felt faint and needed the policeman's help to get outdoors. The residence was nearly totally destroyed by the fire.
Michel Chevrier, Sainte-Dorothée (Laval)
On May 12, 2001, at around 2:20 a.m. in Sainte-Dorothée, Michel Chevrier was alerted by a neighbour that smoke was coming out of a residence for the elderly. He ran to the scene and rang the doorbell several times. Getting no response, he went round to the back of the residence, but the intense fire and heat prevented him from entering the building. He went back to the front, rang the bell and knocked repeatedly. Still getting no answer, he grabbed a shovel and began smashing the windows. Finally the smoke detector sounded the alarm and the owner, Gérald Scott, opened the door. Despite the extensive smoke, Mr. Chevrier and the owner made several trips to rescue the residents. When the firemen and policemen arrived, there was one woman left on the second storey. Mr. Scott went back inside but since he was taking a long time to come back out, a fireman went looking for him and helped him bring out the missing woman. Though the fire destroyed the back of the building, all the occupants were rescued.
Dominic Tremblay and Roland Tremblay, Jonquière (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean)
On November 22, 2001, between 12:30 and 1 a.m. in Jonquière, a man was awakened by the sound of the smoke detector and noticed that there was a lot of smoke in his apartment. He went to get help from his brother-in-law, Roland Tremblay, who lived close by. When they returned, the two men saw smoke coming from the window and front door of the apartment on the floor below, where a woman resided. Suddenly, there was an explosion. Another neighbour, Dominic Tremblay, also heard the explosion and rushed to the scene. He and Roland Tremblay broke down the door and went into the smoke-filled apartment. Dominic came back out a few minutes later, hindered by the smoke, and went home to get a mask. Meanwhile, Roland tried to locate the woman, guided by her moans, when his foot struck her body. She was lying semi-conscious on the floor of the living room. Dominic came back shortly and the two men picked her up and carried her outside to safety.
In the "other circumstances" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Jean-Sébastien Gaudreault, Montréal (Montréal)
In the night of June 7, 2001, at the intersection of Drolet and Saint-Joseph streets in Montréal, Jean-Sébastien Gaudreault heard a woman crying out and a man making threats. Through the bushes he could see a man holding a woman down on the ground trying to strangle her. The victim was struggling, but was unable to loosen the assailant's grip. Mr. Gaudreault jumped the man, grasped his arms and knocked him over. He then managed to pin him down on the ground until the police arrived.
Serge Proulx, Fabreville (Laval)
On December 15, 2001, at around 1:50 p.m. in Saint-Eustache, Serge Proulx was in a laundromat with other customers when a man carrying a loaded rifle rushed in with a German shepherd. He shouted at them to call the police as he wanted to talk to them. Mr. Proulx asked the owner to call the police, while the man continued to make threats, speaking incoherently. Then he pointed the rifle at Mr. Proulx's head. After fifteen minutes, the customers managed to grab the man from behind. Mr. Proulx punched him and he fell down and dropped his rifle. The police entered the establishment a few minutes later and arrested the man.