2014 Award Recipients (for actions in 2013)

On September 29, 2014, the Government of Québec paid public tribute to 20 persons in recognition of their acts of good citizenship in 2013. 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, Stéphanie Vallée, who awarded 7 medals and 13 honourable citations.

The recipients were also given a lapel pin, which is a miniature replica of the medal.

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 "road accident" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:

Stéphane Fraser, Saint-Raymond

On the morning of December 3, 2013, Stéphane Fraser was driving to work when he saw a large column of white smoke in the distance. A violent head-on collision had just occurred. 

Once on the scene of the accident, Stéphane Fraser parked his car on the right, grabbed his jack and crossed the road to assist the accident victims. The driver of one of the vehicles involved was walking around close to her minivan, but the other driver was trapped in his car, the front of which was a jagged pile of metal. Flames were coming from the wreckage, licking the dashboard close to the victim, who was conscious and calling for help. 

Stéphane Fraser was unable to open the front doors and so he broke the window of the rear door on the driver’s side, unlocked the door and pulled with all his strength on the seatback to get the man as far away from the flames as possible. He was crushed between the steering wheel and dashboard and still wearing his seatbelt. Stéphane Fraser decided to get into the car to release the belt, but in doing so burned his right hand. 

The flames were now burning strongly and the trapped driver was crying out for assistance. At this point, Stéphane Fraser noticed a shovel in the snow and used it to throw snow over the man to relieve his pain and over the dashboard to limit the progress of the flames. Slowly, the flames died down, but the vehicle was filled by a thick cloud of black smoke. Stéphane Fraser could no longer see anything, but he continued to shovel snow. 

At this point, a firefighter arrived on the scene and was able to enter the car from the passenger side, cut the seatbelt and, with assistance from a passer-by, drag the driver from the car. The victim was taken to hospital by ambulance. Stéphane Fraser was also admitted to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, nervous shock and a burn to his right hand.

Stéphane Fraser did not hesitate for a moment to deal with a fire threatening to burn a man alive as he lay trapped in his car.

Annick Lajoie, Saint-Raymond

In the evening of June 25, 2013, Annick Lajoie, a nurse, was driving on the highway with her spouse. In the distance, they saw a car move fast towards the median strip and then hit a pillar. 

Immediately, Annick Lajoie stopped her car on the side of the highway, asked her spouse to call for help, and ran over to the damaged vehicle. A witness to the accident, David Gauvin, was already on the scene, trying to extinguish the fire coming from the engine with a cushion and blanket. Then a trucker arrived with a fire extinguisher and emptied it on the fire, without managing to bring it under control. 

Annick Lajoie got her first visual contact with the victim. The man’s eyes were open, his breathing was irregular, and his pulse was weak. Then his vital signs disappeared. With help from David Gauvin, she tried to open the doors and break the windows to free the victim. In the end, they were able to open the trunk and lower the seats, but the fire was spreading quickly. One of the car’s tires exploded. 

David Gauvin returned five times to the highway to flag down trucks and get a fire extinguisher. With the fifth extinguisher, he aimed at the flames on the passenger side, and then leaned his whole body inside to put out the flames licking at the victim’s legs. 

At the same time, Annick Lajoie lowered the window on the driver’s side by pushing down hard, and saw that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. She grabbed him under the arms, braced her feet against the bottom of the door to counterbalance his weight, and tried to pull him from the car. Two young men came to provide assistance. 

Annick Lajoie ripped the injured man’s shirt open to conduct a quick visual exam and start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. He had no pulse and was not breathing. She continued her massage until the ambulance technicians arrived. David Gauvin continued to fight the fire until a police officer informed him that the man was out of the car.

Annick Lajoie was not injured, but David Gauvin had inhaled smoke and toxic fumes from the fire and the extinguishers and needed hospital treatment. 

Despite the constant danger, Annick Lajoie and David Gauvin worked tirelessly to save the victim who, unfortunately, did not survive the accident.

In the "risk of drowning" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:

Carol Larouche, Lac-Kénogami 

On December 4, 2013, mid-morning, Carol Larouche was splitting logs outside his cottage. Below, on the lake, one of his friends was out on a snowmobile. Suddenly, the sound of the snowmobile stopped and Carol Larouche heard a call for help.

He immediately went back into the cottage to ask his son to call 911. Next, he ran outside and went to his shed, where he took a 6-metre mooring rope and two walking sticks before going to the lakeshore 120 metres away. 

Carol Larouche followed the snowmobile trail, using his sticks to check the ice thickness. He stopped at the first island, where he saw another friend. From there, he could see the snowmobiler sinking into the ice. He borrowed a pole with a hook and icepick from the other man, along with pair of snowshoes without bindings.

He began to follow the snowmobile trail to where, 150 metres away, his friend was struggling in the icy water. When he got within a distance of 3 metres, he stuck a walking stick in the ice, wrapped one end of the rope around it twice, placed a section of the rope under a snowshoe and pressed down on it with his knee. Then he threw the other end of the rope to his friend and, sliding the pole under his body, was able to hook his clothes and drag him out of the hole.

The man stood up, but the ice gave way beneath him and he fell back into the water. Carol Larouche repeated his rescue operation and pulled the man further up onto the ice. He told him to roll forward to avoid breaking the ice again.

The two men, exhausted, got back onto the trail and, arm in arm, returned to the cottage of the friend who had lent the pole and snowshoes. The victim put on warm clothes and waited for the ambulance. He was taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia and chilblains on his hands. Carol Larouche returned to his cottage, but experienced cardiac discomfort and was soon picked up by a second ambulance.

Carol Larouche spared no effort to save a friend from a dangerous situation.

Jean-Guy Villeneuve, Fatima

On July 20, 2013, in mid-afternoon, around thirty adults were in the water in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in sunny but windy weather. Jean-Guy Villeneuve was one of them, swimming and sail-boarding with friends. The waves were about a metre high, and the undertow tended to drag the swimmers away from the shore. 

Suddenly, the high waves and strong current combined and dragged a woman out to sea. She quickly found herself about 10 metres away from the other swimmers, in water about 3 metres deep. One of her friends noticed and called out that she was in difficulty.

Jean-Guy Villeneuve heard the woman shouting, and noticed that she was thrashing her arms and legs in a panic to try and keep her head above water. He swam towards her; she was about 15 metres away, but he had to fight against the strong waves.

Jean-Guy Villeneuve reached out to the woman with his left arm and told her to hang on. He reassured her and told her not to grab his body—otherwise he would have to knock her out to be able to bring her back to the beach safely. The woman calmed down and obeyed his instructions.

They began to head back to the beach, but the current was so strong it was carrying them in the opposite direction. Carefully, Jean-Guy Villeneuve tried to use the current to move him closer to the shore. Gradually, he was able to swim on his back, holding the woman by the hand at a safe distance. They were both exhausted.

After gaining about six metres, Jean-Guy Villeneuve received assistance from the woman’s friends, who used a float board to pull her up onto the beach.

Seven to nine minutes had elapsed from the time when Jean-Guy Villeneuve heard the calls for help and the time when she was brought to shore safe and sound. His quick, intuitive actions saved her from certain drowning.

In the "fire" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:

Luc Simard, Lac-à-la-Croix 

On April 23, 2013, late in the morning, Luc Simard was working on his patio. Suddenly there was a strong smell of smoke and, looking around, he noticed smoke coming from the roof vent of a nearby house occupied by a neighbour in her nineties. He ran over to the house and saw that smoke was also escaping from under the roof. From the porch he opened the front door and was immediately engulfed in thick black fumes; he could see nothing. 

Luc Simard shouted as loudly as he could, but obtained no response. He went into the house four or five times, but each time had to return outside to breathe. Bending down, he noticed that the smoke was less dense at floor level, and he could glimpse something at the back of the house. Luc Simard called out his neighbour’s name, and heard a small cough. He went back into the house and headed for the back, feeling his way along until he reached his neighbour. He caught hold of her and supported her on his shoulder, but was beginning to feel dizzy.

Through the smoke, Luc Simard saw a glimmer of light and moved towards it: it was a door. Once outside, he laid his neighbour on the grass—she was unconscious and blackened with soot from head to foot. A passing motorist noticed the woman on the ground and called 911. 

Luc Simard stayed with his neighbour until the firefighters and paramedics arrived. She was taken to hospital, while Luc Simard simply went back home. 

Luc Simard displayed unfailing determination and bravery to save his neighbour.

In the "other circumstances" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:

Jacques Beaudoin, Lac-Mégantic

On the morning of March 18, 2013, Jacques Beaudoin was visiting a friend who had a small sugar shack. It was a fine, windless day.

While his friend was getting ready to fire up the syrup boiler in the main building, Jacques Beaudoin put on snowshoes to walk through the maple stand and repair leaks in the tubes running from tree to tree. Suddenly he heard an alarm: three short blasts followed by three longer blasts on a horn. Jacques Beaudoin raced back to the sugar shack, which was about 800 metres away.

When he arrived, he was met by his friend’s employee, in a panic, who dragged him into the shack and led him to the foot of a staircase to the upper floor. His friend had collapsed, unconscious, at the top of the stairs. Quickly, Jacques Beaudoin left the building, took off his snowshoes, and asked the employee to call 911 and wait for the ambulance. He went back in and up the stairs, where he found his friend grey-faced, with his eyes rolled back in his head. Although he was breathing, his lips were flecked with foam.

Jacques Beaudoin suddenly felt dizzy, and his vision was hazy. The employee also said he was feeling weak. This is when Jacques Beaudoin understood that they were inhaling carbon monoxide, and he urged the employee to leave the building. Next, he opened all the doors, and even went back inside to open some windows. However, he could not stay more than 30 or 40 seconds inside before feeling faint, dizzy and nauseous. 

After three attempts, Jacques Beaudoin was able to carry his unconscious friend down to the ground floor, where he sat him on a chair, propped up against an open window. From the outside, he was able to talk to his friend while waiting for the emergency services. 

An ambulance took his friend and his friend’s employee to hospital, while Jacques Beaudoin stayed at the shack to finish boiling the syrup.

Jacques Beaudoin never lost hope and made every possible effort to save his friend’s life.

Pierre Dupont, Lac-Mégantic

Following a rail accident, on the afternoon of July 7, 2013, Pierre Dupont was busy securing city facilities by shutting off sewage and storm drains to prevent around 6 million litres of oil flowing into the water treatment plant and the river beyond. 

With his team, he then began to close the water intake valves on several houses and other buildings, because the level of drinking water supplies in the reservoirs was dangerously low. The last major water valve was located at the heart of the fire that was still burning out of control. The situation was critical, since the water main was located beneath one of the tanker cars from the train, which had come to rest inside a building. The valve had failed and water was bubbling through the wreckage in the building’s basement.

Pierre Dupont quickly put on a firefighter’s outfit to protect himself from the intense heat, grabbed the tools he needed and asked two firefighters to come with him. 

Once on site, the three men realized that the valve was buried beneath a pile of bricks and metal. First, they removed a steel beam blocking access to the valve. They were working up to their knees in around 50 centimetres of oil. 

To get his bearings and find the valve, Pierre Dupont focused on the jet of water. At last he located the valve cover at floor level, but it was rusted over. Using a hammer and screwdriver he tried to remove the cover, but was hampered by the oil. The three men were also worried about the railcar 20 metres away, which was beginning to move. It was clearly in danger of exploding, and a strident whistling sound was coming from its safety valves. 

Pierre Dupont at last managed to remove the valve cover, and at his first attempt was able to place his wrench over the nut used to close the valve. He gave it a quick few turns to completely cut off the water supply. Then, with the two firefighters, he left the scene to avoid the imminent explosion—which occurred 15 minutes later.

Risking his life, Pierre Dupont displayed outstanding bravery to secure the site.


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 "road accident" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:

David Gauvin, Deschambault

In the evening of June 25, 2013, David Gauvin witnessed a road accident. Seeing that a fire was burning under the crushed hood of the car involved, but that the only occupant was still trapped inside, David Gauvin tried to put the fire out and limit the spread of the flames using a cushion and blanket. A passing trucker brought him a fire extinguisher, and he emptied it on the flames without managing to put the fire out. In fact, the flames had now spread to the inside of the vehicle.

At this point a nurse, Annick Lajoie, who had also seen the accident, stopped her car on the side of the highway and came across to help. She got her first visual contact with the victim. The man’s eyes were open, his breathing was irregular, and his pulse was weak. Then his vital signs disappeared. With help from David Gauvin, she tried to open the doors and break the windows to free the victim. In the end, they were able to open the trunk and lower the seats, but the fire was spreading quickly. One of the car’s tires exploded. 

David Gauvin returned five times to the highway to flag down trucks and get a fire extinguisher. With the fifth extinguisher, he aimed at the flames on the passenger side, and then leaned his whole body inside to extinguish the flames licking at the victim’s legs. 

At the same time, Annick Lajoie lowered the window on the driver’s side by pushing down hard, and saw that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt. She grabbed him under the arms, braced her feet against the bottom of the door to counterbalance his weight, and tried to pull him from the car. Two young men came to provide assistance. 

Annick Lajoie ripped the injured man’s shirt open to conduct a quick visual exam and start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. He had no pulse and was not breathing. She continued her massage until the ambulance technicians arrived. David Gauvin continued to fight the fire until a police officer informed him that the man was out of the car.

Annick Lajoie was not injured, but David Gauvin had inhaled smoke and toxic fumes from the fire and the extinguishers and needed hospital treatment. 

Despite the constant danger, Annick Lajoie and David Gauvin worked tirelessly to save the victim who, unfortunately, did not survive the accident.

 

Adisa Hajdarevic, Québec

On January 23, 2013, in the early evening, Adisa Hajdarevic, who had trained as a care attendant, was driving to a restaurant with her husband and daughter to celebrate her wedding anniversary. Suddenly she saw a group of people around a car that had hit a streetlamp.

Adisa Hajdarevic quickly parked her car on the side of the road and went over to the scene. The outdoor temperature was -40 oC and she was wearing a three-quarter-length dress, high heels and a winter coat. She knelt by the car and, despite the tinted windows, was able to see that the driver was alone and unconscious and still had his foot on the gas pedal. In addition, the car was still in a drivable position. 

One of the people on the scene broke a rear window and another climbed into the car, kicked the transmission into neutral, and unlocked and opened the doors. 

Adisa Hajdarevic also entered the car and checked whether the man had suffered a cerebrovascular accident or a heart attack. In fact, he had experienced a heart problem. She left the car, grabbed the man under the arms, slid him with difficulty out of the car, and laid him on the ground. She asked the other rescuers to call 911.

Adisa Hajdarevic began an extremely long series of CPR manoeuvres in the bitter cold. The man came to several times and opened his eyes. His shoulders dropped, his chest lifted—and then he lost consciousness again. Adisa Hajdarevic continued the massage without faltering for 45 minutes. To maintain the same rhythm, she continued her manoeuvres even after the ambulance technicians arrived. She also installed the defibrillator electrodes. The paramedics then took charge of the victim and Adisa Hajdarevic left the scene with her husband and daughter. 

In the bitter cold, Adisa Hajdarevic focused all her energy on saving a man in peril, in the process dislocating her shoulder and suffering first-degree burns to her face and arms.

In the "risk of drowning" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:

Olivier Béland and Francis Lapointe, La Sarre

On April 6, 2013, at lunchtime, Olivier Béland was enjoying the fresh air in the parking lot of the factory where he worked, directly beside a river. Suddenly, he heard shouts coming from the water. As he got closer to the river he could see, below him, a snowmobiler holding on to a block of ice using a pocket knife, with only his head out of the water. The man was calling for help. He was roughly six metres from the bank, in extremely cold water about three metres deep.

Olivier Béland immediately shouted to the man that he was going for help. He rushed back to the factory lunchroom and told his work colleagues about the situation. Francis Lapointe was the first to get up and join Olivier Béland in his truck, which they drove back to the river. At the same time, Francis’s brother, Maxime Lapointe, asked another colleague to call 911.

Olivier Béland and Francis got out of the truck and moved carefully forward over the ice. Olivier Béland was in front and Francis Lapointe behind, holding on to his arm. As they got close to the man in the water, Olivier grabbed hold of his clothing and dragged him from the water with the help of Francis Lapointe, who held on to his arm to act as a counterweight. Maxime Lapointe, Francis’s brother, now came to their assistance and together they carried the man to the truck and placed him inside to get warm. Olivier Béland lent him a coat. 

Francis Lapointe went back to the factory on foot, while Olivier Béland and Maxime Lapointe waited for the ambulance and then returned to their jobs.

Without the quick, efficient actions of the rescuers, the snowmobiler would not have been able to hang on to the ice much longer.

Gabriel Bouchard, La Tuque

Late in the morning of March 22, 2013, Gabriel Bouchard was out snowmobiling with friends. Without planning it, the snowmobilers had divided into three groups. The first group, made up of Gabriel Bouchard and two friends, was about one kilometre ahead of the others.

Suddenly, the ice gave way under the snowmobile in front of Gabriel Bouchard. The rider plunged into icy, 18 metre-deep water with a strong current. Gabriel Bouchard accelerated hard, jumped over the hole in the ice, leapt off his snowmobile and went back to help his friend, his boots slipping on the ice. His friend was trying to drag himself out, grabbing hold of the ice around the hole, which broke under the strain. Gabriel Bouchard attempted to help, but could not get a grip on the man’s snowmobiling suit. However, the man was able to catch hold of his outstretched arm.

Gabriel Bouchard shouted to the nearest snowmobilers to come and help. One approached, and together the two men were able to pull their friend onto the ice. He was soaked through but conscious and able to walk. He remained calm and was not injured. 

Gabriel Bouchard placed his friend on his snowmobile and set off with the group toward a cottage belonging to one of them a few kilometres away. The unfortunate snowmobiler was able to borrow some dry clothes and the group continued on their journey, enjoying a meal at an outfitting operation as planned. 

Gabriel Bouchard’s cool reactions and presence of mind saved his friend from an icy death in the water.

Émile Damphousse, Deux-Montagnes

In the spring of 2013, Émile Damphousse’s father was in the yard behind his house. As he walked towards the shed, he sank in the ground up to the knee after stepping on the exact location of an old cesspit from 1959. After releasing his foot, he decided to cover the opening and the surrounding area with strong wooden panels.

On October 5, 2013, Mr. Damphousse dismantled an unused above-ground swimming pool with help from his children and a friend. He now had a pump and enough sand and earth to fill in the cesspit. Early in the evening, he removed the panels of wood covering the hole and, resting on his knees, leaned over the rusty metal opening to place the pipes needed to empty the cesspit. Suddenly, the ground gave way beneath him. 

Mr. Damphousse ended up head first in the liquid in the cesspit, with only his legs emerging and his arms stretched out in front of him. He had no idea how deep the hole was or whether it was large enough to turn around and get his head above water. Only his calves and feet were visible. 

His son Émile, who was bringing the pump, ran up behind him and grabbed his left foot. He pulled with all his strength and managed to pull his father partly out of the hole, but he remained stuck around his hips.

The young Émile shouted to his father’s friend to come and help. Together, they managed to lift Mr. Damphousse completely out of the hole. Luckily, he had not lost consciousness even though he had remained trapped for almost ninety seconds in a cesspit filled with debris, mud and other waste.

While his father took a shower, Émile called the helpline Info-Santé 8-1-1 and made an appointment at the CLSC the next day so that his father could get a tetanus shot.

Émile Damphousse showed exemplary presence of mind and coolness when he rushed to his father’s assistance, becoming a hero for his whole family.

Chantal Lapointe and Éric Marleau, Longueuil 

Early in the afternoon of August 31, 2013, Éric Marleau was at his sister’s cottage with his wife, Chantal Lapointe, their daughter, their son and his girlfriend, and his sister’s spouse. The cottage was at the end of a gravel road.

Éric’s son and his girlfriend decided to take a ride on a 650-pound all-terrain quad bike. Wearing helmets, they set out on the gravel road. There had been heavy rain the previous day and, when the young man tried to avoid a hole, the left wheel got caught in long grass along a stream and the ATV overturned. The two young people were plunged headfirst into the water, about 1.3 kilometres from the cottage.

The young man was unconscious, but soon came round. He and his girlfriend, who was still unconscious, were trapped under the ATV. Pushing as hard as he could on the footrest, he was able to escape—but, however hard he tried, he could not pull his girlfriend out from under the wreck. He was injured himself and started shouting for help. After climbing out of the stream onto the gravel road, he ran back towards the cottage.

Chantal Lapointe thought she could hear her son shouting. She asked her husband, Éric Marleau, to get the truck so that they could go to find him. After travelling barely a kilometre they saw him, soaked through and shivering. The three set out to save the young woman lying gravely injured 300 metres further on.

Chantal and Éric jumped into the stream, with water up to their hips. Éric managed to lift the ATV, and Chantal was able to drag the girl, still unconscious, from her treacherous position. She was turning blue, had no pulse and was not breathing. Éric began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with help from Chantal.

Éric’s sister and brother-in-law arrived and called for help. The emergency services arrived about thirty minutes after CPR had begun, and the first ambulance took the young woman to hospital, where she completed a course of physiotherapy. A second ambulance took charge of the young man, who was treated for a fractured shoulder blade.

Thanks to the perseverance of Éric and Chantal, the young woman has completely recovered from the accident—although she has no memory of the day’s events.

René Rheault, Brossard

In the early afternoon of March 16, 2013,Réné Rheault and his spouse were piling firewood at the back of their property, which looked directly out over the St. Lawrence Seaway. 

René Rheault noticed a person walking on the ice about 300 metres from the shore over a water channel 11 metres in depth designed for large ships. In addition, the ice was thin following the mild weather of the previous days.

René Rheault kept a watchful eye on the man who, suddenly, disappeared into the water. While his spouse called 911, René Rheault grabbed a kayak, paddle and rope stored on his land. He slid the kayak onto the ice and rested his body on it, moving it forwards with his legs. He found it difficult to cover the distance from the shore to the man’s location, and had to push hard. In the distance he could see the man struggling to keep his head above water.

When René Rheault was roughly 30 metres away, he got into the kayak and paddled over to the man, breaking the ice as he went. As he approached, he gathered the rope, made a slipknot, and threw it three times. At last, the man caught the rope and slipped a hand through the knot. René Rheault pulled the man towards him and then, bracing himself against the bottom of the kayak, grabbed the man by the collar and hauled him aboard.

René Rheault was exhausted but still had to paddle back to shore. Three firefighters arrived on his property and shouted to him to wait. Using an inflatable boat they came to his assistance and towed the kayak back to dry land. The victim was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he stayed four days to treat severe hypothermia.

Thanks to his courage and tenacity, René Rheault was able to save a man from drowning.

In the "other circumstances" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:

Daniel Elguera Velasquez, Longueuil

A little after midnight on July 29, 2013, Daniel Elguera Velasquez was leaving a salsa evening. As he walked the short distance to where his car was parked, a cyclist stopped to tell him that a man, about 60 metres away, was throwing punches at anyone who went by.

Daniel Elguera Velasquez rushed to the scene. A man was threatening passers-by with his fists, and they were trying to avoid the blows by keeping their distance. As two women in their sixties tried to get past, the man attacked one from behind and punched her on the side of the head. The women fell to the sidewalk face first, and the man started kicking her in the head. 

Daniel Elguera Velasquez ran up and grabbed the man’s clothes to get him to drop his prey, assisted by a passer-by. Together, they dragged the frenzied man a few metres away from the victim. Two minutes later, a third passer-by joined in their efforts to restrain the aggressor.

Daniel Elguera Velasquez went back to assist the victim, who was still lying on the ground. She was bloodied, disfigured and unconscious. Her friend was at her side, talking into a cellphone. She could not speak French, and there was no way to communicate with her.

Daniel Elguera Velasquez rolled up his own sweater and slid it under the victim’s head. He remained with the two women until the arrival of the police, and then picked up his car and drove home.

Later in the same day, Daniel Elguera Velasquez learned from a TV report that the police were trying to contact witnesses to the incident. He called the Montréal police department and made a statement. 

Unfortunately, the victim died from her injuries the following night. Without the courageous intervention of Daniel Elguera Velasquez, other passers-by might have met the same fate.

Hamid Jennane, Saint-Laurent

On August 19, 2013, Hamid Jennane was at home eating his evening meal with his wife and two young children, when he heard high-pitched screams coming from the corridor. 

He opened the door to his apartment. A woman standing in the corridor was calling for help. Another woman was lying face-down on the floor, held firmly in place by a man who kept hold of her hair in his left hand while hitting her violently with a hammer on the head.

Hamid Jennane went back into his apartment, grabbed a shoe, returned to the corridor and threw it at the assailant, who took a few steps back. The woman on the floor was practically unconscious, moaning and bleeding heavily. The assailant was still holding the hammer and was now threatening Hamid Jennane.

Hamid Jennane went back once again into his apartment and came out with a kitchen chair. In the corridor, he moved towards the assailant, holding the chair with the four legs facing forward to force the assailant back and get him away from the victim. The assailant dropped the hammer and sat on the floor a few metres away. Hamid Jennane kept the chair between himself and the assailant until the police arrived about 10 minutes after the assault began.

In the meantime, other neighbours had witnessed the scene and called for help. However, they were too frightened to leave their apartments. 

The victim was treated for multiple fractures and contusions on the head and hand. The other woman, the victim’s half-sister, was deeply affected by the tragic incident. 

By facing the assailant with courage and assurance, Hamid Jennane saved a young woman’s life.

Marc Letendre, Drummondville

In the night of April 28, 2013, Marc Letendre, a nurse and clinical coordinator at a health and social services centre, was at work.

Suddenly, Marc Letendre heard sounds that were unusual, given the late hour. Two loud voices appeared to be coming from the short-term intervention unit, where patients who were unstable or in psychiatric care were kept under observation. He walked towards the unit and looked though the glass-panelled door. He could see a man, from behind, gripping a nurse and a care attendant on each side. They were at the unit’s nursing station, and neither woman appeared able to get free. They were desperately trying to reason with the patient.

Marc Letendre decided to go in. While he was trying to open the door to the nursing station with his key, the patient caught sight of him and rushed to the door, seizing the handle with both hands to stop him coming in. Marc Letendre managed to gain entry, with difficulty, and the patient jumped on him, freeing the two women who were able to hit the emergency button to alert the hospital staff. In the meantime, Marc Letendre struggled to control the patient, who punched him in the face several times.

About five minutes later, five more people arrived to assist Marc Letendre and immobilize the patient. The police arrived after about 10 minutes. 

The spontaneous and courageous actions of Marc Letendre helped avoid a tragic incident.

Alain Soucy, Québec 

On November 7, 2013, early in the evening, Alain Soucy and his spouse, Michèle Renaud, were walking down one of the staircases linking the upper and lower towns in Québec City. At the foot of the staircase, they heard the muffled sound of something falling, and then a faint call for help.

Alain Soucy walked into the tall grass, followed by Michèle Renaud. They found a man lying on top of a woman, who was face down and being subjected to a sexual assault. Immediately, Alain asked Michèle to go for help. 

Alain Soucy told the two people to get dressed and to leave the undergrowth. Spontaneously, the woman, in her seventies, stayed close to Alain and even held his hand for a time. Alain Soucy picked up the assailant’s backpack to prevent him from fleeing the scene, and sat down on the steps to wait. 

The assailant tried to get his bag back several times, but Alain Soucy refused to hand it over. 

In the meantime, Michèle Renaud had called 911. She ran back to her spouse, just as the police arrived on the scene. As they arrested the assailant, Michèle went with the woman to the patrol car.

The woman was taken to hospital to be examined, and the Soucy-Renaud couple walked back home.

The vigilance and cool thinking of Alain Soucy and Michèle Renaud helped save a seventy-year-old woman from a terrible nightmare.

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