2017 Award Recipients (for actions in 2015)

The Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, with people recognized for acts of good citizenship during events that took place in 2015.On November 7, 2017, the Government of Québec paid public tribute to 23 persons in recognition of their acts of good citizenship in 2015. The Tribute to Good Citizenship ceremony was held at the Le Parlementaire Restaurant in the main Parliament Building, presided over by the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, who awarded 11 medals and 12 honourable citations.

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

The acts of good citizenship recognized at the 31st annual Tribute to Good Citizenship award ceremony have been grouped by region.

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.

Frédérick-Sébastien Doucet

Mr. Frédérick-Sébastien DoucetEarly on the morning of February 16, 2015, Frédérick-Sébastien Doucet was eating breakfast on the icebreaker CCGS Pierre Radisson, where he worked as a seaman. The crew received a message to say that a man had fallen from the ferry between Québec and Lévis and was floating in the St. Lawrence. The ship was close to the place where the man had jumped, in the Old Port of Québec, and the crew was asked to proceed to rescue him as quickly as possible.

The outside temperature was -30°C. Frédérick-Sébastien donned a dry suit and gathered his rescue equipment, including a flotation coat. He was accompanied by his colleague Jean-François Dupuis. 

In the meantime, a Canadian Coastguard helicopter had landed on the ice near the man, but the crew was unable to recover him. The pilot, Martin, decided to go to gather reinforcements from the Pierre Radisson. Frédérick-Sébastien and Jean-François were ready to act, even though ice rescues were not part of their job and they had received no training. They took their place in the helicopter, along with another colleague, Éric. All four were on the scene of the incident in a few seconds. The ice and river current made the landing extremely complicated for the pilot, and the helicopter was in an unstable position.

Once the helicopter had landed, the three seamen exited the aircraft and made numerous attempts to drag the man from the water. His upper body was visible at the surface, surrounded by and constantly buffeted by the ice. The man was soaked through, heavy and barely conscious. The three men were able to hoist him, with difficulty, into the helicopter. Jean-François and Éric were also on board, with the pilot Martin, while Frédérick-Sébastien remained on the ice where he pushed with all his strength to get the man into the helicopter. This was when Frédérick-Sébastien realized that there was no more room for him, and he had to wait for the helicopter to return, alone on the ice floating on the river.

The helicopter flew towards the ship, which was now approaching the quayside. Éric and Jean-François offloaded the man on to the ship, while Martin returned to pick up Frédérick-Sébastien. Exhausted, he was at last able to return to his ship at the quayside. Since the emergency call, Frédéric-Sébastien had spent 30 minutes on the glacial river. With assistance from Jean-François, he made a final effort to transfer the man, who was slowly regaining consciousness, to the ambulance technicians. Later, Frédéric-Sébastien went to the hospital, where he learned that the man was expected to make a full recovery.

William Nadeau-Fiset

François-Jérôme Prévost and Martin Savard (Honourable Citations)

Mr. William Nadeau-Fiset (Mr. François-Jérôme Prévost and Mr. Martin Savard (honorable citations)

In the evening of January 11, 2015, the employees at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Québec City were having their Christmas party after gathering in the hotel's restaurant.

Around 2 o'clock in the morning, Martin Savard and William Nadeau-Fiset were told by colleagues that a car was on fire in the parking lot, and they went to investigate. François-Jérôme Prévost, who worked at the reception desk, had also been notified.

The car was filled with black and white smoke, and flames were coming from underneath. They could not see if anyone was in the car, which they did not recognize. In fact, it belonged to a colleague who was trapped inside, unconscious. 

The three men tried to smash the windows of the locked car, but this proved difficult. William tried to break through using a knife, but only succeeded in cutting his hands. After several powerful blows, Martin was able to break the car's rear windows and unlock the front door. William leaned into the car on the passenger side, but was unable to remain for long because the smoke burned his lungs. He grabbed a breath of air and once again leaned into the car and pushed the driver towards François-Jérôme who had been able to open the door on the driver's side. The victim seemed lifeless.

François-Jérôme and Martin grabbed hold of the man and placed him as a distance from the car, which was now shrouded in flames. The three men coordinated their efforts to drag the victim to safety behind a low wall near the restaurant.

William and Martin remained there with the victim, while François-Jérôme returned to the hotel reception to guide the police officers to the restaurant. The police took charge of the incident.

While he was working inside the car William Nadeau-Fiset inhaled a large quantity of toxic fumes which placed his life in danger. François-Jérôme Prévost and Martin Savard provided precious assistance to save a man who had fallen asleep and who, without their help, would have died suffocated.

Daniel Racine

Mr. Daniel Racine

On the morning of December 13, 2015, at about 8 a.m., an employee of Épicerie économique in Québec City called his boss, Daniel Racine, who lived in the apartment above the store. He reported that a suspicious character, who had recently been seen lurking around the store, was back. During the night the employee had had a lively discussion with the aggressive man, and had then called the police around 6 a.m. after a rock was thrown, shattering a window.

After asking his employee to call the police, Daniel looked out through the window of his apartment. He also checked the screens for the surveillance cameras in the store, but without spotting the suspect.

Daniel went downstairs and, from outside the store, could see his employee inside recounting the events to a friend. The door was open, and suddenly Daniel saw the suspect attack his employee with a long-bladed knife. The employee crumpled into a corner of the window as he tried to avoid the knife blows. The suspect was strong, and probably intoxicated, and he attacked the employee in a frenzy of rage.

Daniel attempted to overpower the assailant and stop the attack by grabbing his arms and pulling him back. The suspect was taller and more heavily built, but eventually Daniel was able to pull him back, allowing his employee to escape from the space where he was confined. By this time the suspect and Daniel were both outside, but the assailant now had more room to wield his knife, and Daniel had to dodge numerous blows. The young employee helped Daniel struggle with the aggressive suspect, who was still armed, and they managed to force him to the ground where they tried to get him to drop his knife.

Daniel overpowered the suspect, who was still gripping the knife in one hand but could no longer move. Daniel pressed down firmly on his neck and arm, with help from his employee. All three men stayed in this position for a long time, although the suspect remained agitated. When the police arrived, they disarmed and handcuffed the man. 

Daniel Racine placed his own life in danger to save the life of his young employee.

Hichem Ayoub

Mr. Hichem AyoubOn March 4, 2015, in the afternoon, Hichem Ayoub was driving through Montréal. He worked as a driver of specialized transit services for the disabled, and had just dropped off a client in Montreal North. He was heading for another pick-up when, through his window, he heard a woman screaming. 

His attention was quickly drawn to the other side of the street, where he saw flames leaping from a duplex. Hichem turned around quickly to return to the scene. Before he left his vehicle he called 911, and then ran to help the woman on the sidewalk who was still screaming, in a state of shock, and pointing at the burning building. On the scene, several people were observing from a distance. Hichem tried to get the woman to talk, but got no coherent answer. Instinctively, he thought that she had left someone inside, and that the person was in danger.

As quickly as he could, he raced up the stairs leading to the front door of the duplex and tried to get inside. He was pushed back by the flames and thick smoke. After returning outside to recover his breath, he went back in, protecting his face from the flames with his arm as he advanced. Suddenly his foot struck a body on the floor: the owner of the duplex.

Hichem grabbed the man and tried to speak to him, but he was unconscious, so he began to drag him from the apartment. His clothes were starting to catch fire. After two attempts he managed to get a firm hold on the victim, a heavily-built man. Thanks to his efforts, and despite the flames and thick smoke, Hichem was able to drag him outside onto the landing. An explosion threw him to the foot of the stairs, but he returned to the man's side as quickly as he could. This time he grabbed both his arms and pulled him to the bottom of the steps and as far as the sidewalk. He did all this alone, with no assistance from the onlookers who were powerless to help with the rescue.

At this point Hichem was having difficulty breathing. He used his charred jacket to cover the victim, who was barely dressed and lying unconscious on the sidewalk. A few minutes later, the police and ambulance services arrived, took charge of the man and drove him to hospital.

Because of the physical and mental harm he suffered, Hichem Ayoub was unable to return to work after the incident. However, he regrets nothing—in his eyes you cannot put a price on a human life.

Daniel Maisonneuve

Mr. Daniel MaisonneuveOn June 6, 2015, around 12:30 p.m., Daniel Maisonneuve, his wife and their two children were sailing on Rivière des Outaouais near Île Pétrie. They were accompanied by Daniel's father and mother, who were in another boat.

The two boats were heading for Montebello when they saw a red and white ultralight floatplane take off from the Ontario shore. A few moments later, the plane flew over the Maisonneuve family's boat at low altitude, before suddenly nose-diving into the water. Daniel manoeuvred his boat closer to the light plane, which was overturned and partially submerged.

As he got closer, Daniel noticed a victim who had managed to emerge from the wreckage. The man was conscious but in shock. He was floating on the surface, after the life jacket he was wearing in the plane deployed. The plane had also spilled a large quantity of fuel into the water. Daniel asked the young man if there was anyone else on board, but got not coherent answer. Daniel's parents caught hold of him in the water and hoisted him onto their boat.

Suddenly, Daniel saw the top of another person's head in the river—it was the floatplane's pilot. Without hesitation, he dived into the cold, deep water of the river and swam over. The pilot was unconscious and bloodied, and Daniel tried to keep his head above water. He was trapped in his seat, which was still attached to the plane.

Daniel reminded himself he had to be careful, because the weight of the unconscious man would be more than he could support if the seatbelt was released. He risked sinking to the bottom of the river. He asked his wife to bring their boat closer, while he held the man at the surface. Once the boat was close enough, Daniel released the pilot. As he pushed, his wife pulled and together they were able to hoist the pilot onto the boat.

Daniel himself got back on board quickly and took over the controls. He headed for the Québec shore, where police and ambulance services were already waiting. 

Daniel Maisonneuve showed unusual strength and tenaciousness in his efforts to save the pilot.

Annie Kanayuk

Deputy Jean Boucher for Ms. Annie KanayukOn June 17, 2015, around 1:10 a.m., a fire broke out in a building in the northern Québec village of Puvirnituq. Annie Kanayuk, who was on the street nearby, noticed the flames and smoke. What she did not know yet was that five people—a woman, a nine-month-old baby and three young children—were inside the building.

Annie rushed into the burning building to rescue the occupants. She went upstairs to wake the three children, who were asleep in the same room and, with Annie's help, were able to leave the building on their own.  Annie then returned inside, where she could hear someone older calling for help. Annie located her, but the woman was too heavy for her to move and, because of her respiratory problems, unable to move herself. Annie could not get her out of the building. As the flames grew Annie retreated outside.

The firefighters who were called to the scene found the baby's lifeless body later. They attempted to ressuscitate him and took him to hospital, but he did not survive. It was only after extinguishing the fire completely that the fire department of the northern village of Puvirnituq found the body of his grandmother, a woman aged 48 who had died in the fire.

The building was a writeoff. Annie Kanayuk performed all her actions in less than five minutes. Without her courage the fire would have taken three more young lives.

François Lareau

Mr. François LareauOn June 30, 2015, at around 10 o'clock in the evening, François Lareau was helping new tenants move into his building when he heard shouts coming from a nearby street. He could also see black smoke coming from the same direction. With a neighbour, François rushed to the scene.

 When they got to the intersection, they saw a triplex in flames. As the windows shattered, broken glass fell to the ground. Children could be seen crying on the third-floor balcony. The two men agreed to work together to evacuate the burning building. As the neighbour went around to the back, François entered by the front door.

 He could see that, inside, the building was filled with dense black smoke. As he went up a few steps, he saw a man sitting on the landing outside his apartment. He was badly burned, in particular on his back and under his arms, and his hair was gone. He was conscious, but unable to speak. François begged him, through the smoke, to stay with him and to follow the sound of his voice. He knew that touching the man would risk making his already bad injuries worse, and he encouraged the man to leave the building.

The man was unable to stand and could only move slowly in a sitting position, using the palms of his hands. He moved down the steps one by one towards the front door, his legs stretched out in front of him and his hands flat on the floor. Guided by François he was at last able to leave the building.

They were close to the raging fire, with flames 6 to 8 feet high. The man remained on the grass beside the burning building, where François carried on talking to him to ensure that he remained conscious.

François also encouraged another occupant to leave the building by calling to her through the window of her basement apartment.

The fire and ambulance services took charge of the situation, but by daring to enter a burning building François saved a man from certain death.

François Daigle

Mr. François DaigleAt around 6 p.m. on a cold evening on March 17, 2015, François Daigle was distributing Publisacs in a sector of the city of Grand-Mère, with his spouse and his two children. As he turned into a new street with his son, he could smell smoke. At the time, he thought someone had just lit a woodstove.

As he walked into a driveway, he noticed that the smell was getting stronger. After dropping off the Publisac, he stepped back to take a look at the house. On the second floor, he could see a man moving through a glass-fronted room and then collapsing. The room was filled with smoke.

François grabbed his phone and dialled 911. As he spoke to the operator, he began to climb the 10 or 15 steps leading to the second floor of the burning house.

François opened the door to the room, where he could see the man lying unconscious on the floor. He took a few steps and grabbed the man's clothing to drag him outside. François was surrounded by smoke, and it was only once he was outside again on the staircase that he was able to breathe more freely.

His lifeless victim was heavy, but François was able to drag him downstairs to the street, where he placed him in a safe position behind his car. A woman was waiting there with blankets to place over the man.

The man recovered consciousness and, until the emergency services arrived, François and the woman, along with François's wife, applied friction to warm his body.

The police, followed by the ambulance and fire services, arrived and François Daigle was able to leave the scene, not realising how much smoke he had inhaled. Because of a persistent cough he went to hospital a few days later to be examined. He had placed his own life in danger to save that of another person.

 

Daniel Lauzon

M. Daniel LauzonOn the afternoon of March 17, 2015, Daniel Lauzon was driving with his wife to their home in Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, when she pointed to flames and smoke coming out of the roof of a house they passed.

Daniel parked his vehicle on the boulevard and ran towards the house. A neighbour on the sidewalk told him that the owner, an elderly woman, was inside and refused to come out. She was Polish and could only speak English. Daniel knocked on the door and entered the house, where he found the woman busy in the kitchen. In a firm voice he told her that she had to leave because of the fire, and she accompanied him willingly.

After leaving the house, the woman decided to go back in to save a fur coat, and Daniel went with her. As the fire got worse, he asked her for her car keys and they both left the house again. Daniel moved her car to a neighbour's house to protect it from the fire. When he got back to the house, the woman had disappeared and he went back inside for the third time to find her.

The ground floor was now filled with smoke, reducing the visibility, but Daniel caught a glimpse of the woman in her bedroom, looking for a lockable briefcase. Daniel told her to move towards him but the woman, apparently unaware of the danger, shouted to him in English: "Passports! Documents!", indicating that she wanted to save some important paperwork. Suddenly, the whole roof collapsed, bringing the flames closer. The situation was now extremely dangerous, and Daniel seized the woman firmly by the arms and shoulders to pull her from the house. This time, he took her to the neighbour's home and asked her to keep an eye on the old woman.

Another neighbour was now on the scene, and Daniel, fearing an explosion, asked him for help to move the BBQ and propane gas cylinder from the garage. 

When the firefighters, ambulance service and provincial police arrived, Daniel and his wife were able to continue their journey home.

In addition to saving the woman's life, Daniel Lauzon was able to help her move back into her home by intervening as a municipal councillor to accelerate the reconstruction of her house.

 

Rémy Nolet (posthumously)

Yannick Nolet and Bobby Nolet for Rémy Nolet (posthumously)

On May 4, 2015, at around 5:45 p.m., after eating at a restaurant in Chambly, Rémy Nolet, aged 19, and a friend got back into their canoe to return home to Carignan.

At one point Rémy gave his sweater to his friend because she was cold, and they began to paddle cross the Chambly basin. To take advantage of the current to shorten their trip, they decided to cross the bay rather than follow the shore as they usually did. 

To start with, there were some small waves and the young people were enjoying the ride. After completing about one-third of the trip, Rémy moved to a new position to paddle more efficiently. However, the weather was getting worse and the strong waves tipped the canoe over. Rémy and his friend were plunged into the cold river.

Quickly, the capsized canoe was carried off by the current, with one of the two lifejackets still aboard. For around fifteen minutes, Rémy and the young woman hung on as best they could to their single lifejacket. Then, based on his knowledge of the river and believing that they could not both survive, Rémy ordered his friend to put the lifejacket on, helping her buckle it closed. Next, despite his desperate efforts to swim to shore, Rémy had to let go and his friend watched powerlessly as he was swept away.

The young woman was alone in the middle of the basin. She shouted to attract attention, but to no avail. She was also drifting, but was able to keep her head above water. Gradually, she began to suffer from hypothermia and lose energy. She was rescued later, at around 7 p.m., by a man who lived on the banks of the Richelieu river.

Despite a long search, Rémy could not be located. His body was finally recovered two weeks later, around 1,000 feet from the place where the young woman had been found. Rémy gave his own life to save his friend.

 

Carole Rhéaume (posthumously)

Chantal and Mélanie Rhéaume and Mr. Guy Boucher for Carole Rhéaume (posthumously)

On March 8, 2015, at 6:30 p.m., Carole Rhéaume was driving west on Autoroute 10. She was alone in her car, returning home after dropping her daughter off at the University of Sherbrooke.

The road was icy in places, but some drivers were ignoring the danger and driving at high speed. Several cars were reported as skidding off the road in the region on the same day. 

Suddenly, the car in front of Carole spun off into the ditch between the two roadways. Although still upright, the car was in a dangerous position in the middle of the highway.

Carole, a nurse, parked safely on the right-hand side of the road. She then crossed the two lanes of the highway to reach the stranded car, wanting to check on its occupants. 

After noting that the people in the car were not hurt, she headed back to her own car, but was struck by a driver who had lost control of his vehicle. Carole died immediately.

A building at the OVO fertility clinic in Montréal, where Carole Rhéaume was head nurse, now bears her name. The official naming ceremony, in the presence of the family and representatives of the clinic, took place one year, day for day, after the accident.


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.

Carl Bélanger

Mr. Carl BélangerOn a cold and windy Saturday afternoon on May 23, 2015, at about 5:30 p.m., Rosalie, aged 17, was fishing from the jetty of the Lac Ha! Ha! campsite at Ferland-et-Boileau. She heard calls for help coming from the lake and ran to warn her father, Carl Bélanger.

He asked another man to call 911 and said that he was going out onto the lake to find the victims. He ran through the woods to the lake and began to knock on cottage doors. After two unsuccessful attempts, the third cottage contained what he needed: the owner of a motorboat. The two men headed for the shouts and saw a canoe capsized about 100 from the shore.

When they reached the canoe they saw a man and woman in the water, both wearing lifejackets. Carl and his assistant placed their boat parallel to the canoe, on the side away from the victims to avoid being tipped over, while Carl noted the victims' condition. The woman's lips had turned blue, her eyes were turned up in their sockets, and she had water in her mouth. She was clinging to the canoe with one hand, and appeared barely conscious and hypothermic. Her companion was a little more conscious, but could not speak. Both were in shock and soaked through.

The people on the jetty shouted to them not to approach the victims so as to avoid capsizing in turn. Carl looked into the woman's eyes and assured her that she was not going to die. He asked his assistant to move to one side of the boat to act as a counterweight while he leaned over and caught hold of the woman. He lifted her and dragged her on board, before doing the same for her companion.

Carl removed the woman's lifejacket and wet clothes to allow her to warm up a little, while the other man brought the boat back to shore. When they arrived, the man and woman were taken to a cottage to warm up. The owner of the boat was also frozen through, and left to get warm. Carl went into the cottage and made sure that the victims were in good hands before returning, frozen, to his family.

Thanks to Carl Bélanger and his calm approach, the couple were saved from drowning.

William Larsen

Mr. William LarsenOn September 16, 2015, early in the morning, William Larsen, aged 13, was at a swimming class with his fellow students. William has an autism spectrum disorder and is in a special class at the La Seigneurie secondary school in Beauport.

The last 15 minutes of the class were free time. William and one of his friends were having fun making a raft with a floating mat. At the end of the class the teacher and a supervisor, the only two adults present, asked some of the students, including William, to tidy up the equipment that they had used, while the other students returned to the changing rooms.

As he was tidying up, William saw his friend calling for help. He was in the middle of the pool, at the deep end near the diving board. William realized that the two adults were busy supervising the other students and had not noticed anything wrong.

William was closer to his friend and in a better position to hear his calls for help. He had already sunk and returned to the surface a few times. William at first thought he was joking, but quickly realized that his friend was really in difficulty. Without hesitation he jumped into the pool and grabbed his friend by the shoulders to bring him to safety.

William started to pull his friend on his back, but seeing that he was in a panic and that his struggles could cause them both to sink, he decided to pull him by the arm. William left his friend at the side of the pool. The teacher and supervisor realized what had just happened and congratulated William before taking care of his friend, who was unhurt but in shock.

Given William's condition, the special education technician who supervises him on a daily basis awarded him a certificate on the day of the event to highlight his empathy for his friend. The principal's office and school staff also recognized his actions, and he was applauded warmly by his fellow students.

  

François-Jérôme Prévost and Martin Savard
William Nadeau-Fiset (medal)

Mr. William Nadeau-Fiset (medal), Mr. Martin Savard and Mr. François-Jérôme PrévostIn the evening of January 11, 2015, the employees at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Québec City were having their Christmas party after gathering in the hotel's restaurant.

Around 2 o'clock in the morning, Martin Savard and William Nadeau-Fiset were told by colleagues that a car was on fire in the parking lot, and they went to investigate. François-Jérôme Prévost, who worked at the reception desk, had also been notified.

The car was filled with black and white smoke, and flames were coming from underneath. They could not see if anyone was in the car, which they did not recognize. In fact, it belonged to a colleague who was trapped inside, unconscious.

The three men tried to smash the windows of the locked car, but this proved difficult. William tried to break through using a knife, but only succeeded in cutting his hands. After several powerful blows, Martin was able to break the car's rear windows and unlock the front door. William leaned into the car on the passenger side, but was unable to remain for long because the smoke burned his lungs. He grabbed a breath of air and once again leaned into the car and pushed the driver towards François-Jérôme who had been able to open the door on the driver's side. The victim seemed lifeless.

François-Jérôme and Martin grabbed hold of the man and placed him as a distance from the car, which was now shrouded in flames. The three men coordinated their efforts to drag the victim to safety behind a low wall near the restaurant.

William and Martin remained there with the victim, while François-Jérôme returned to the hotel reception to guide the police officers to the restaurant. The police took charge of the incident.

While he was working inside the car William Nadeau-Fiset inhaled a large quantity of toxic fumes which placed his life in danger. François-Jérôme Prévost and Martin Savard provided precious assistance to save a man who had fallen asleep and who, without their help, would have died suffocated.

Samuel Dubois et André Pomerleau (12 – Chaudière-Appalaches)

Mr. Samuel DuboisIn the night of May 30 to 31, 2015, a fire broke out in a large, three-storey cottage at Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine. Quickly, the fire threatened other cottages on either side of the burning building.

Just after midnight two cars, driven by André Pomerleau and Samuel Dubois, passed by on the road. Samuel parked on the verge and ran towards the cottage. He was reassured to see no cars parked in the driveway, and quickly called 911. He rapped on the windows and doors of the neighbouring cottage, and was jointed by André, who had also stopped his car.

Alerted by the noise made by the two men and spotting the flames devouring the cottage, one of the neighbours opened his door. André and Simon explained that he had to get out quickly, since his cottage was also threatened by the blaze. He and his wife had been sleeping soundly on the upper floor—she came downstairs, shaken and still sleepy. The couple seized a few items and left the cottage to seek safety.

Samuel and André went to the cottage on the other side of the building, where the blaze continued to grow. Danger was imminent, because propane gas tanks nearby could explode at any moment. They knocked on the windows and doors to alert the occupants. The owner opened the door and, heeding their warning, evacuated the house with his wife and children.

While Samuel went back to the first cottage to check on the couple, André stayed with the occupants of the second cottage, making sure that the woman and children were able to leave the scene safely in a car. He remained with the owner, who was vainly trying to extinguish the growing fire with an unsuitable garden hose. The man was in a panic and André had some difficulty controlling him.

When Samuel saw that all the cottages were empty and that help was on the way, he left. André went to a third cottage, which was unoccupied. As soon as the firefighters arrived he left with his wife. Without the swift actions of André Pomerleau and Samuel Dubois, the two neighbouring families might never have woken up.

Valère Fontaine, Daniel Girard, Jean-Baptiste Pinette et Édouard Rock

Mr. Édouard Rock, Mr. Jean-Baptiste Pinette, Mr. Valère Fontaine and Mr. Daniel GirardOn the morning of September 2, 2015, Daniel Girard and six other members of the committee to protect the Moisie river took their seats in two helicopters to visit two project sites. At the airport, a woman who had returned to base a few days earlier after being injured also took a seat to fly to the site where she was working with other Aboriginal people. The first helicopter landed without incident and the passengers left the aircraft and struck up a conversation with the Aboriginal people present at the site, namely Valère Fontaine, Jean-Baptiste Pinette and Édouard Rock.

A few minutes later, the second helicopter approached to attempt a landing, but lacked the necessary power. The pilot tried in vain to regain altitude, but the helicopter crashed and the engine caught fire. The pilot of the first aircraft and Daniel shouted out that a fire extinguisher was needed, and Valère and Jean-Baptiste grabbed one from the first helicopter and managed to extinguish the fire.

Of the five people on board, two died immediately. The pilot and a passenger were injured, but able to extricate themselves and walk away from the wreckage. Valère, using a first-aid kit from the camp, provided them with care. The last passenger was still trapped inside the helicopter and was having difficulty breathing. His leg was trapped and pushed against his thorax, and the weight of the helicopter was bearing down on him.

Valère, Daniel, Jean-Baptiste and Édouard gathered branches, a metal rod and rocks to gain more leverage. They lifted the wreckage and helped the injured man breathe. A lot of aviation fuel had spilled around the helicopter and the rocky ground became slippery, making any movement dangerous. Once the injured man could breath more easily, everyone stopped touching the helicopter, which was delicately balanced. Until the rescue services arrived, Valère, Daniel, Jean-Baptiste, Édouard and other people took turns keeping the victim company and offering support. To allow the rescue helicopter to land, they also worked feverishly to build a landing platform.

Without the joint efforts of these four brave men, the name of the injured man would doubtless have added to the list of those who died in this tragic accident.

Nadine et Nathalie Leblanc

Mrs Nadine et Nathalie LeblancIn the afternoon of August 25, 2015 two cousins, Nathalie and Nadine Leblanc, were surfing for the first time on the beach at Old Harry, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As they were getting ready to face the waves, a young man approached and said that a woman was calling for help further along the beach. She was powerless to help her husband, who had been trapped in the waves for almost half an hour, and she needed assistance. That day the waves reached a height of 2 to 3 metres.

The two Leblanc cousins were both trained swimming pool lifeguards and physically fit. Without hesitating they attached the safety leash of their surfboards and entered the water. They moved towards the man, taking the wind, current and waves into account. The waves were so powerful that Nathalie lost the leash holding her surfboard to her wrist.

The man was about 20 metres from the beach, in deep water where the cousins were out of their depth. He sank down and reappeared at the surface several times. Facing a wall of waves, Nathalie decided to break through using her surfboard in a horizontal position, while Nadine remained ready to help her if she ran into difficulty. Nathalie got closer to the man and began to speak to him. He was conscious but extremely anxious. He was beginning to suffer from hypothermia and had swallowed a lot of water.

Nathalie told him to grab hold of the surfboard so that she could pull him to the beach. The task was daunting, since she had to push against the waves, but she was able to use the current to move towards the beach. Once she had broken through the wall of waves she was exhausted. Nadine, who had a solid footing, took charge of Nathalie's surfboard and safety leash and pulled the victim the last few metres to shore.

Towards the end of the rescue, another man came to help the cousins and they laid the victim on the beach. He was extremely weak and unable to stand, and he spat out water several times. A nurse provided assistance and watched over the man until the ambulance technicians arrived 25 minutes later. The man's wife thanked the Leblanc cousins warmly for saving her husband's life.

André Pomerleau et Samuel Dubois (05 – Estrie)

Mr. André PomerleauIn the night of May 30 to 31, 2015, a fire broke out in a large, three-storey cottage at Saint-Joseph-de-Coleraine. Quickly, the fire threatened other cottages on either side of the burning building.

Just after midnight two cars, driven by André Pomerleau and Samuel Dubois, passed by on the road. Samuel parked on the verge and ran towards the cottage. He was reassured to see no cars parked in the driveway, and quickly called 911. He rapped on the windows and doors of the neighbouring cottage, and was jointed by André, who had also stopped his car.

Alerted by the noise made by the two men and spotting the flames devouring the cottage, one of the neighbours opened his door. André and Simon explained that he had to get out quickly, since his cottage was also threatened by the blaze. He and his wife had been sleeping soundly on the upper floor—she came downstairs, shaken and still sleepy. The couple seized a few items and left the cottage to seek safety.

Samuel and André went to the cottage on the other side of the building, where the blaze continued to grow. Danger was imminent, because propane gas tanks nearby could explode at any moment. They knocked on the windows and doors to alert the occupants. The owner opened the door and, heeding their warning, evacuated the house with his wife and children.

While Samuel went back to the first cottage to check on the couple, André stayed with the occupants of the second cottage, making sure that the woman and children were able to leave the scene safely in a car. He remained with the owner, who was vainly trying to extinguish the growing fire with an unsuitable garden hose. The man was in a panic and André had some difficulty controlling him.

When Samuel saw that all the cottages were empty and that help was on the way, he left. André went to a third cottage, which was unoccupied. As soon as the firefighters arrived he left with his wife. Without the swift actions of André Pomerleau and Samuel Dubois, the two neighbouring families might never have woken up.

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