2005 Award Recipients (for actions in 2003)
On March 7, 2005, the Government of Québec paid public tribute to 10 persons in recognition of their acts of good citizenship in 2003. The Tribute to Good Citizenship ceremony was held in the Legislative Council Chamber of the main Parliament Building, presided over by the Minister of Justice, Yvon Marcoux, who awarded 6 medals and 4 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 20th 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:
Richard Keating, Grosse-Île, Îles-de-la-Madeleine
On April 30, 2003, in late morning, in the fishing port of Grosse-Île, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, several crews were busy working when they suddenly heard shouts. A fishing boat about 500 metres away from the dock had been overturned by a huge wave. Two men fell overboard and were struggling in the rough icy water three metres deep. Two boats immediately went out to rescue them.
One victim was picked up by the first boat while the second boat headed toward the other man. A life preserver was thrown out to him three times, but, as he was already very cold, he could not catch it. The thundering waves kept rolling over him. He sank underwater and came back up to the surface three times.
Seeing that the man's strength was failing, Richard Keating jumped into the water and swam nine metres over to the semi-conscious victim. He grabbed the man and swam back to the boat. When he got closer, a crew member threw a life preserver that Mr. Keating managed to catch while holding up the heavy victim. The crew pulled them both back on board. The victim was hypothermic and had water in his lungs.
In the "accidents" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Samuel Burnham, Magog (Estrie)
On October 3, 2003, at around 2:30 p.m., Samuel Burnham was on a hunting trip with a friend, going north on Route 117 between L'Ascension and Mont-Laurier. Mr. Burnham was driving and his friend was sleeping in the passenger seat. They were carrying an all-terrain vehicle as well as their hunting equipment.
The car coming toward them suddenly swerved and the driver lost control of the vehicle, hitting the truck head on. Mr. Burnham fractured a bone in his wrist, his friend lost consciousness and his legs were trapped under the dash of the car.
Mr. Burnham realized that the truck's motor was on fire and that the flames were about one metre high. He tried to open his door, but could not. He was able to crawl to the back and exit the vehicle through a broken window.
Once outside, Mr. Burnham quickly moved to the passenger door and tried to open it, but could not. He decided to go back into the truck to rescue his friend. He had to hurry, because the smoke and flames were becoming unbearable. He grabbed his friend by the shoulders, and pulled him out of the vehicle, carrying him to safety.
The truck burned completely and the ammunition they were carrying exploded. The victim was taken to hospital where he spent four days, including two in the intensive care unit.
Pierre Forcier (posthumously), represented by Jonathan Forcier, Charlesbourg (Capitale-Nationale)
On February 13, 2003, at around 10 p.m., on boulevard Henri IV Nord, in Québec, a driver lost control of his vehicle and struck a Toyota. The windshield and the windows of the Toyota blew out and the passenger door was smashed inward. The car struck a cement wall beside the left lane while the driver who caused the accident fled the scene.
A few seconds later, Pierre Forcier, with whom the occupants of the Toyota had spent the evening, arrived on the scene. He parked in front of the Toyota, quickly got out of his car and walked toward his friends' car.
As there was not enough space between the Toyota and the cement wall, Mr. Forcier walked toward the passenger side to help the occupants. He bent over to see if there was anyone injured, and as he was holding the arm of one of the passengers, another car drove past at full speed. The driver could not avoid hitting Mr. Forcier who died instantly.
The firemen had to use the "jaws of life" to extricate the trapped occupants from the Toyota.
In the "fires" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Grégoire Racine, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
On May 12, 2003, as he was nearing the house he had rented out, Grégoire Racine noticed smoke coming out of the roof. The house was on fire and his tenant, in a state of shock, was at the second-floor window. Her young daughter, covered in soot, was sitting on the lawn in front of the house. Mr. Racine parked his jeep, picked up the little girl and put her in the jeep. The mother was trying to jump out the window. Mr. Racine shouted to her to stay put. He backed up the jeep to the window, climbed up on the roof of the vehicle and asked the mother to jump down into his arms.
Once she was on the roof of the jeep, the tenant told Mr. Racine that her baby was in the next room. Mr. Racine pulled himself up on the window ledge and went into the house. The smoke was so thick that he could see nothing. He was able to open the door leading to the hallway, but the heat forced him back. He went to the window to get a breath of fresh air. He tried again, but failed once more.
On the third try, Mr. Racine was able to get into the baby's room after feeling his way along the hallway. He managed to locate the bed, but had to return to the window to breathe again.
Although he was getting weaker and weaker, Mr. Racine nevertheless persisted in wanting to save the child. He returned to the bedroom and was able to touch the sides of the bed. He grabbed the child, returned to the window and threw the baby to the people on the roof of the jeep. He jumped out the window onto the jeep, and then gave the baby artificial respiration until the firemen arrived. Despite his efforts, the baby did not survive.
In the "other circumstances" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Teodor Gheorghe Hulbar, Saint-Hubert (Montérégie)
On July 7, 2003, at around 10 a.m., Teodor Gheorghe Hulbar arrived at 1972 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest in Montréal to deliver a package. On the sidewalk, he saw two men about six metres in front of him beating a fifty-year-old woman.
Mr. Hulbar walked toward them shouting. Taken aback, one of the men ran away and passed Mr. Hulbar, who realized then that the man had stolen the woman's handbag. He tried to catch the thief, but as he was about to grab him, he felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder. The second thief had shot him. He turned around to face the second man who was aiming the revolver at him. Mr. Hulbar crouched down to hide between two parked cars. He then saw the thieves running away in Du Fort street and returned to wait with the woman until the police and ambulance arrived. Mr. Hulbar was taken to hospital. The bullet had grazed his spinal cord.
Leia Hunt-Hans, Île-Perrot (Montérégie)
In the morning of March 3, 2003, David Hunt decided to snowmobile to his cottage in Maniwaki with his daughter Leia, 11. The temperature was -27 oC.
During the trip, Mr. Hunt and his daughter took a snow-covered path hiding a bridge. One of the snowmobile's skis got trapped and the vehicle overturned. Before falling into the six-foot deep ravine, Mr. Hunt pushed his daughter into the snow so that she would not be injured. The snowmobile fell on Mr. Hunt, who fractured his knee in five places. His fall ended in the water, at the bottom of the ravine. After an hour's effort, Leia was able to help her father climb out of the ravine.
Mr. Hunt was unable to move any further. Daylight was fading and it was getting much colder. Leia went to get wood to make a fire, but the wood was too damp to light. She left to get help and walked for over two hours. Alone and frightened by the sounds of wolves and other animals, she went back to where her father lay.
As they were sure they would not find help that night, Leia went down into the ravine to get their bags. She fell into the water and her feet got wet. The father and daughter spent the night outdoors, in the cold, huddled together for warmth.
The following morning, despite the frostbite she had suffered, Leia again went to get help and walked six kilometres before finding a convenience store. She was suffering from severe hypothermia; help was called. Leia was taken to hospital in Saint-Jérôme and then transferred to Sainte-Justine where they amputated her right foot and the toes of her left foot. She spent three months in hospital and underwent eight operations.
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:
Mario Beauregard, Saint-Hyacinthe (Montérégie)
On August 5, 2003, at around 5:15 p.m., a car sank into rivière Yamaska, near rue Frontenac in Saint-Hyacinthe. Alerted by the noise, riparian resident Mario Beauregard immediately went to the scene of the accident.
Two minutes later, the driver emerged above the surface of the water. Mr. Beauregard dived into the river and swam the twelve metres to the victim. At that spot, the water was six metres deep. The woman gripped Mr. Beauregard and he started to swim toward the riverbank.
As he neared the bank, feeling exhausted, Mr. Beauregard let go of the victim and then caught her again. At that moment, a motorboat arrived to help Mr. Beauregard bring the woman to safety.
In the "accidents" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Stéphane Langevin, Beauport (Capitale-Nationale)
On August 1, 2003, at around 7:45 a.m. on autoroute Dufferin in Québec, a motorcyclist lost control of his vehicle and was thrown to the pavement in the left traffic lane where he lay unconscious.
A few seconds later, Stéphane Langevin who was also driving in the left lane, saw the bloodied victim lying in the middle of the lane. He immediately turned to the right and crossed the other lanes to park his vehicle on the shoulder of the roadway. He quickly got out of his vehicle and ran back across the three lanes making gestures to steer the oncoming traffic away from the victim.
Mr. Langevin stood in front of the man with his arms extended. A car suddenly braked and was struck by another car. The traffic then stopped and Mr. Langevin was able to go to the victim. He talked to him and took off his helmet. The motorcyclist had suffered several fractures and was taken to hospital.
Daniel Villeneuve, Montréal-Nord (Montréal)
On August 23, 2003, at around 2:30 p.m., in Montréal, Daniel Villeneuve and his friend were facing west about to cross the six-lane divided highway–boulevard Pie IX. The traffic light turned green and they stepped into the street. Mr. Villeneuve was walking behind his friend when he saw a car driving toward them very fast and realized it would not be able to stop at the red light.
To protect his friend, Mr. Villeneuve, pushed her to the median area a metre away where she fell without injury. Mr. Villeneuve did not have time to reach the median and was struck by the car. The impact thrust him onto the hood of the car and he struck the windshield before rolling off onto the ground. The driver of the car fled the accident without stopping.
Later that day, Mr. Villeneuve was taken to hospital by ambulance because of acute pain in his back. As a result of the injury, he received several treatments to relieve his persistent back problems and the pain in his neck and legs.
In the "other circumstances" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Antonio Martini, Laval (Laval)
On August 30, 2003, at around 7:45 p.m., Antonio Martini stepped into a convenience store on the corner of rue Concorde and rue Ampère in Laval. There was a customer at the counter waiting for the cashier. After a while, as no one came to serve them, they called out to see if anyone was there.
Getting no response, Mr. Martini walked over to the beer refrigerators. He found a key ring and a padlock on the floor. Guessing that something was wrong, he opened the refrigerator door and called out. He went into the refrigerator and found a young woman being held down by a man whose face was covered by a ski mask. Taken aback, the assailant let go of the victim who quickly got up and ran out of the store screaming. Mr. Martini, though much older than the assailant, was able to restrain him and prevent him from fleeing. He dragged him to the front of the store and held him fast until the police arrived. It was then that they realized that the assailant had a knife.