2018 Award Recipients (for actions in 2016)

The Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, with the recipients of awards for acts of good citizenship in 2016, and members of the committee on good citizenship.

On May 29, 2018, the Government of Québec paid public tribute to 23 persons in recognition of their acts of good citizenship in 2016. 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 14 medals and 9 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 32nd 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.

Frédéric Boucher

Mr. Frédéric BoucherAt 6:15 a.m. on the morning of August 23, 2016, Frédéric Boucher, a foreman on a construction site on Highway 138 on the North Shore, was helping another worker place signs to stop traffic. His colleague was using a flag to stop vehicles when a tractor-trailer approached at high speed. Despite the signs, it was clear that the driver was not about to stop, and the worker jumped to safety in a driveway.

In an indescribable tumult of sound, the truck ran straight into the rear of a pickup, and then into another truck and a car. All the vehicles were crushed and tossed out of the way by the force of the impact. A fire started in the front of the truck, which had now deviated from its trajectory and was in the opposite lane, pushing the burning pickup in front of it.

In this vision of hell, Frédéric Boucher called 911. He believed that people must have died, given the force of the impact and the burning vehicles. Around him, he could hear explosions from propane tanks and the other objects they contained. He moved closer to the burning pickup, where he could see legs emerging from the driver's-side door. He pulled the victim out feet-first, aware that he was in danger. He knew he could not live with the idea of leaving someone to burn to death.

The victim was able to help himself a little, but his legs could not carry his weight. His eyes had rolled back in his head, and his skin had turned a strange colour. Mr. Boucher was afraid he would die in his arms, and also afraid of dying himself. He talked to the man to try to comfort him. Once he was out of the pickup, Frédéric took him to the ditch for protection and attempted to soothe the suffering caused by his burns. He gave him first aid, assisted by other people on the scene.

Mr. Boucher went to check that there were no more victims—everyone had got out safely. Once the firefighters arrived, he and his team helped them by providing water from tanks and using their mechanical excavators. An ambulance took the injured man to hospital.

Despite the enormous shock he had experienced, Frédéric Boucher remained on the scene of the accident for the rest of the day to do his job. An unwilling hero, he now finds it difficult to talk about the incident and is still deeply psychologically affected. The man he saved unfortunately died from his injuries two weeks later, on September 7, 2016, at the Enfant-Jésus hospital in Québec City.


Dominic Lavoie

Mr. Dominic LavoieOn December 10, 2016, around 1 p.m., Dominic Lavoie was at his uncle's cottage on the shores of Lac Croft in Hébertville, with his uncle and another uncle, who had arrived at the cottage by snowmobile. The neighbouring cottage belonged to Dominic's parents, and his father was also outside.

The second uncle left to cross the lake on his snowmobile. He had barely reached the halfway point when the weight of the snowmobile broke the ice and it began to sink slowly. Although he tried to accelerate to get back onto the ice, he was unable to do so and the snowmobile became trapped.

At this point he climbed onto the seat to stay as far out of the water as possible, but because of the depth of the water and the current he was soon completely submerged. He tried to grip the ice around him, but it broke every time. He tried to stay on the surface, but it was a struggle.

Seeing the danger his uncle was in, Dominic ran towards the lake. His father, who had also seen the accident, stopped his son and told him to get a ladder for his rescue attempt, to distribute his weight over the thin ice. Dominic and his father went to the shed, grabbed an aluminum extension ladder and attached a rope to one end.

Dominic Lavoie extended the ladder onto the ice and pushed it along in front of him as he crawled on his hands and knees. His father followed, holding the rope, but the ice gave way beneath him. Dominic was on his own. His legs were knee-deep in water, and the bottom half of his body was soaked by the freezing water. He reached his uncle and pushed the ladder towards him. Once he had caught hold, they pulled together until the uncle was able to clamber out of the hole in the ice. They returned to shore cautiously, at first on their hands and knees and then upright. 

The uncle was frozen through and rushed to the shed to warm up and put on some dry clothes, accompanied by Dominic, and everyone was able to recover from the shock. Dominic Lavoie drove his uncle home to give him a chance to relax.

Without Dominic's courage and cool head, his uncle would have perished in the cold lake.


Xavier Tremblay

Mr. Xavier TremblayOn December 20, 2016, at around 11:15 p.m. in the evening, eleven-year-old Xavier Tremblay was asleep in the bedroom he shared with his younger brother on the second floor of their house in Saint-Henri-de-Taillon. He woke up to get a drink of water, but discovered that the bedroom was full of smoke coming from the electric baseboard heater under the window. He could feel heat from beneath his feet.

Xavier ran to his brother's bed and shook the eight-year-old awake. He then ran into the bedroom occupied by his other brother, aged 12, but was unable to rouse him. Back in his own bedroom, he asked his little brother, who seemed stunned, to go and wake up their older brother, which he did.

Next, Xavier went to his mother's bedroom on the ground floor. Flames were coming from the bathroom directly below. His mother was sleeping but eventually she opened her eyes, without seeming to understand what was happening. The smoke had made her drowsy.

Xavier's two brothers joined him at their mother's bedside. There was so much smoke in the room that they could barely see each other. When their mother at last got up, she went to check on the woodstove in the basement. Xavier told her it was not the source of the fire and that they had to get out. At the same time, he told his brothers to put their coats on and shelter at the house of their neighbour, the family's babysitter. Xavier then put on his own snowsuit, checked that his brothers had left, but refused to leave himself without his mother. He went back into the house, feeling that since his father was away at work he had to protect her.

He begged his mother to meet him in the entrance hall. She was attempting to save the family's two pet birds. Realizing that she could not help them, she joined her son and they both left the house.

From the neighbour's house they all watched, powerless, as their house was destroyed. The family lived with relatives for a while before moving into a new house built on the same site in late 2017. Xavier had a sore throat for a long time because of the smoke he inhaled, but thanks to his tenacity and courage he saved his family from the fire.

Watch the interview with Xavier Tremblay

Jérémy Belles-Isles Duplain

Mr. Jérémy Belles-Isles DuplainOn July 30, 2016, nine-year-old Jérémy Belles-Isles Duplain was at a party in Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel. The house belonged to friends of his stepmother, and he was there with his father, stepmother and older sister. Altogether, around ten children and twelve adults were enjoying a summertime family get-together in the yard of a private house. Several children and teenagers of all ages were playing in the above-ground pool and on other games in the yard.

Jérémy was having fun with the other children in the pool when he saw a child, about the same age as his younger brother, paddling in the water wearing inflatable armbands. The water in the pool was four feet deep, meaning that Jérémy could just touch the bottom with his feet.

A few minutes later, from the deck around the pool, Jérémy spotted the same 3-year-old boy on the bottom of the pool in the deepest section. He was curled up and no longer wearing his armbands. Jérémy said to himself that he had probably taken them off to be like the older kids, but he worried about the child when he failed to return to the surface.

Jérémy rushed to the pool and jumped in. He was shocked to see that the child's eyes were half-closed and rolled back in his head. He grabbed hold of him and pulled him to the surface, before placing him on the poolside, where an adult came to take charge. The child was unconscious and his skin was white.

Jérémy climbed out of the pool and ran towards his father, telling him what had just happened. In the meantime, panic had set in among the adults. Some were crying, while the children and teenagers were sad and anxious. The emergency services were called and an ambulance arrived quickly on the scene. The paramedics performed resuscitation on the child before taking him to the hospital with his father. He was able to return home safe and sound a few hours later.

All alone, Jérémy had saved a child from drowning at the bottom of a pool. His actions were made even more courageous by the fact that he is hemiparethic, in order words partially paralyzed on the left side of his body.

Watch the interview with Jérémy Belles-Îsles Duplain


Jocelyn Boucher

Mr. Jocelyn BoucherOn February 5, 2016, just before midnight, Jocelyn Boucher looked out of his living-room window and saw that the house across the street was on fire. Smoke was pouring out of the roof space at the back of the house.

Mr. Boucher asked his spouse to call the fire department. Without even taking the time to put on a coat, he rushed outside, crossed the road and broke down the door of the house with his shoulder. Once inside, he could see a blaze at the rear, but was quickly overcome by the thick black smoke.

Jocelyn Boucher was not familiar with the house's layout but knew that several children lived there. He shouted out to the occupants that they needed to leave, venturing into all the rooms on the main floor, but found no-one and could hear no sounds. He became anxious and wondered if it was too late for the occupants, who were probably asleep.

After a few moments he saw a little girl in front of him. He told her to leave the house, which she did without any questions. Next, he moved carefully down the stairs leading to the basement, where he found a young boy, who was less obedient. Mr. Boucher found a coat on the handrail by the stairs and covered the boy, who finally agreed to leave the house. Two more children, a boy and a girl, left the house on the instructions of Jocelyn Boucher.

Believing that everyone had now left, he went back upstairs, where he found the father of the family in the kitchen trying to extinguish the blaze. Mr. Boucher tried to explain that there was no point pouring water on the flames, but the man seemed to be in shock and continued his attempts. The fire continued to move through the ceiling space, which threatened to collapse at any time. Jocelyn Boucher had to move quickly to get the father out of the house.

When a Hydro-Québec transformer exploded, the noise caused by the detonation finally convinced the devastated father to leave the house with Jocelyn Boucher. It was a close call—shortly after, the roof collapsed.

In all, six people were sleeping in the house when the fire broke out. Thanks to Jocelyn Boucher, they all escaped unhurt.


Paul-André Rhéaume

Mr. Paul-André RhéaumeOn May 22, 2016, in the late afternoon, Paul-André Rhéaume was sailing on the St. Lawrence with two friends. One man, who was piloting the boat, was not wearing a lifejacket, unlike Mr. Rhéaume and the third man.

The three men had left a marina on Île d’Orléans and had been sailing for several hours when they had a mechanical problem. The bilge pump jammed and the bottom of the boat began to fill with water, especially since the waves on the St. Lawrence were up to two metres high. The three men tried their best to bail the water out with whatever they could find, but the boat continued to fill with water. When the water reached their knees, the three men realized that they would not be able to bail the boat out and that they had no choice but to jump into the icy river water.

In the water, Mr. Rhéaume lost sight of the friend who was not wearing a life jacket, although he knew he was close by. He wanted the group to stay together and began to look for him. He finally located him a few metres away, in the water up to his eyes and shouting for help, sinking through the combined effect of the current and waves. Paul-André Rhéaume swam over and hooked him to his life jacket; the two men clung together and got closer to their friend.

They were too far from shore to swim back. They were cold and tried to stay on the surface, but their strength was ebbing. They tried to stay calm, but each panicked in his own way, shouting, suggesting solutions, losing hope or maintaining a stoic silence.

After they had been in the water for 15 minutes, a passing boat noticed them. The man and woman on board approached and signalled that they would pull them from the water. Each of the three men was pulled from the river and covered with a tarpaulin, the only thing available to provide some warmth. The Coastguard, called to the scene, escorted the pleasure boat to a marina on Île d'Orléans. The three friends were suffering from hypothermia and had swallowed large quantities of water. From the marina, they were taken by ambulance to hospital. Paul-André Rhéaume and his two friends were not injured during their sailing accident, but without the presence of mind and calm approach of Mr. Rhéaume, one of them would probably have drowned.

Watch the interview with Paul-André Rhéaume

Rachel Blain-Auclair

Ms. Rachel Blain-AuclairOn October 30, 2016, at about 4 p.m., Rachel Blain-Auclair was at home in Milan with her two children and a visiting cousin, when her eight-year-old daughter said, "Mom, look, there's smoke coming out of that house over there!" Ms. Blain-Auclair asked her cousin to stay with the children while she ran, barefoot, to her neighbour's house.

Seeing her neighbour's car in the driveway and knowing that he worked the night shift, she realized immediately that he was probably home. She called 911 to alert the authorities.

Now that she was closer to the house she could see flames emerging from one wall. Through the front door, she could see that the house was filled with dense black smoke, and she could barely make out two dogs barking just behind the door.

She vainly tried to push the door open before she managed to kick it in and enter the house, shouting her neighbour's name. She looked for him in all the rooms, before the young man, aged about 25, emerged with difficulty from his bedroom. He looked stunned and unable to understand what was happening. He had been fast asleep and had already inhaled a lot of smoke. Ms. Blain-Auclair told him to get out because of the blaze, but he was still reacting slowly. She had to hold him up to walk him out.

They both exited the smoke-filled house, and Ms. Blain-Auclair took her neighbour back to her home with his two dogs. She thought about using her fire extinguisher to control the flames, but by now the blaze was too big. Later, she had to stop the victim from going back into his house to look for his cat. It was a long time before the firefighters arrived on the scene, but the Red Cross was there around 10 p.m. to take charge of the occupants of the burning house, the neighbour and his spouse. The house was a write-off.

Ms. Blain-Auclair suffered a serious sprain of the leg she used to kick the door in, and also a major psychological shock from the incident.


René Roy

Mr. René RoyOn August 5, 2016, at about 8:30 p.m., René Roy and his wife were driving to their house in Sherbrooke when they saw flames coming from a ditch at the side of the road. They initially thought it was a brush fire, but since several people had gathered they decided to stop.

Mr. Roy and his wife joined the other onlookers. A car was lying on its roof in the ditch, and the front end was on fire. Mr. Roy and his wife asked if there was anyone in the vehicle, but nobody could answer. The people seemed to be transfixed by the fire, probably fearing for their own safety.

René Roy shouted out and heard a response from the ditch, a murmur that sounded like "Yes, in the trunk!" He jumped into the ditch at the rear of the car, away from the front end which was ablaze. Through a gap in the car's bodywork, between the rear lights and the trunk, he could see a man lying inside, on the roof of the overturned car. Mr. Roy gestured for him to slide towards him but the man, despite having his eyes open, did not react.

Mr. Roy was choking in the dense smoke. He climbed back up to the road to take a few breaths of fresh air and find a way to pull the man from the burning vehicle. The position of the car and the dense vegetation in the ditch made it impossible to open the doors or trunk. The gap through which he had seen the victim seemed to offer the only possibility.

Realizing that time was short and that the fire was spreading, René Roy returned to the ditch. A gust of wind reduced the level of the flames for a moment, and the victim managed to get his head and one hand through the gap, where he got stuck. Mr. Roy caught hold of his hand and, pulling with all his strength, managed at last to drag the victim from the car.

The man was weak and uncooperative. He was in a state of shock and suffering from oxygen deprivation. Mr. Roy grabbed him under the arms and pulled him further along the ditch, where a young man arrived to lend assistance. Exhausted and with an injury to his legs, René Roy climbed out of the ditch. He had saved the man's life.

Lamazovky Manigat Michel

Mr. Lamazovky Manigat MichelOn November 19, 2016, at around 8:25 p.m., Lamazovky Manigat Michel was watching TV in the living room of his apartment in Montréal. Through the large living-room window, his attention was drawn to a movement on the sidewalk—a woman and a man were fighting, using their fists and a purse.

At first, Mr. Michel believed it was a couple having an argument, until he noticed a young girl aged between 9 and 12 who was making signs and appeared to be asking for help. Mr. Michel realized that it was an attack, and left his apartment to go and help the woman and child. 

He came up on the sidewalk behind the attacker, who was still punching the woman, and grabbed him by surprise to try and break his hold on his victim, who was crying and struggling. Mr. Michel's move worked; the attacker let go of the woman and started to wrestle with him. The two men fought, fell to the ground and rolled around. Mr. Michel did what he could to overpower the man and pin his arms to his sides but still received a few punches.

The attacker tried to grab a brick lying close to the sidewalk to hit Mr. Michel, who was able to seize it and use it to strike the man. The blow stunned him and reduced his level of aggression, and he calmed down. At this point, two other young men arrived on the scene and stayed with Mr. Michel; one of them called 911.

A few minutes later, the police arrived, took charge of the situation and arrested the suspect. The woman was lucky to find a good Samaritan able to respond to her daughter's signal.


André Paquette

Mr. André PaquetteOn March 13, 2016, around 10:30 a.m., André Paquette and his spouse were walking their dog in Parc des Bateliers in Montréal. Two young girls, aged around 15, stepped onto the ice, where one of them wanted to have her picture taken on a large rock in the middle of the river. The ice appeared to be quite thick, but at that time of year and in that particular place the ice was fragile with a strong current beneath.

As she got down off the rock, the girl fell into the water. Although she managed to grab hold of the ice, only her head remained out of the water. Her friend called for help. From a bridge about 150 metres away, Mr. Paquette and his spouse had seen the young girl fall and ran quickly to the riverside.

When he arrived at the victim's location, Mr. Paquette tested the ice by taking a few steps forward. Noticing how soft it was, he lay down on the ice and began crawling towards the girl who was about 50 metres away.

André Paquette seized her by both hands to pull her onto the ice, but the ice began to break around him. Mr. Paquette, soaked up to his elbows, told the girl to let go of the block of ice she was holding on to with one of her hands, offering encouragement and promising to get her out of the water. Despite her fright, she obeyed.

Mr. Paquette was able to pull with all his strength on the girl's free arm and managed to get her out of the water, working with the current and sliding her onto the ice. The teenaged girl was lightly built, but weighed down by her soaking clothes. Next, André Paquette dragged her to the riverbank, with both of them spreading their weight as much as possible to avoid breaking the ice again.

At this point, Mr. Paquette's spouse took charge of the young victim, who was able to walk. She helped her put on dry clothes, some of her own and some borrowed from her friend. The emergency services were called and arrived quickly—the girl was unharmed.

Other people watching the scene applauded André Paquette warmly for his actions. His brave gesture clearly saved the girl from drowning in the icy water.

Antoine St-Laurent

Mr. Antoine St-LaurentOn the morning of April 9, 2016, nine-year-old Antoine St-Laurent set out ice-fishing with his grandfather and great-uncle. The weather in Bouchette, in the Outaouais region, was cold and windy. The three members of the fishing party were wearing snowsuits, helmets and warm boots and gloves. They used two all-terrain vehicles to travel over the ice, on a lake where Antoine's maternal grandparents and great-uncle had cottages.

As his ATV touched the ice, Antoine noticed that its wheels appeared to sink when the ice shattered around it. But once it was fully on the ice it advanced normally on strong ice.

The fishing lines had been in the water for about an hour when Antoine said he was feeling cold. His great-uncle started the ATV to warm up the boy's mittens but, since he was still cold, he left to find a place to fish on the lake where they would be sheltered from the wind.

At a distance of about 400 metres, he fell into the lake. Antoine did not see his great-uncle go through the ice, but heard his shouts for help. Without hesitating he ran forward, without really knowing what to do. On the way he lost one of his mittens. His great-uncle, in the water up to his neck, shouted "Whoa! Stop running, lie down and approach slowly!" Antoine obeyed and, stretched out on the ice, crawled forward to the hole.

His great-uncle gripped Antoine's two forearms after telling him to keep them stiff, and then Antoine pulled back with all his strength. The victim was able to drag himself partly onto the ice where he could place his forearms. Antoine moved back and they repeated the movement. Once his great-uncle could at last rest his weight on the ice, he used the boy's arm to lever himself slowly out of the water.

He walked to the shore and then back to his cottage, where he could warm up and get over his fright. The ATV remained in the lake until the following summer, when it was hoisted out. Antoine was brought back to the cottage by his grandfather, who came to pick him up on another ATV. His grandmother made hot chocolate for her heroic grandson, who was shaken by the accident. Antoine can feel justly proud for saving his great-uncle.

Watch the interview with Antoine St-Laurent


Daniel Joseph McKinney
 

Mr. Daniel Joseph McKinney On March 15, 2016, around 3:30 p.m., Daniel-Joseph McKinney was going home from his job as an English teacher at École secondaire de l'Île in Hull. His route took him along a snow-covered bike path behind the school.

From the top of a hill, Mr. McKinney could see two silhouettes, which turned out to be a man and a woman. Thinking that he had interrupted an argument between two school students, he told them to come out of the sparse bushes, covered with melting snow. As he got closer, he saw that the young woman was lying on the ground and trying to push the man away, while he held her down forcefully. Around them, the snow was spattered with blood.

Mr. McKinney ran down the slope towards them, and the victim was able to free herself from her attacker. She jumped up and ran to shelter behind Mr. McKinney, shouting "Help me, Mr. McKinney!" The teacher realized that she was a student from his school, but failed to recognize her; her hair was over her face, and she was covered in blood. The victim warned him that the assailant had a knife. Daniel-Joseph McKinney rushed forward and held the man's hands in a firm grip, but was unable to locate the knife. He tried to discuss the situation with the man, who gave him his name but tried to blame the teenager. He remained combative and tried to run away. Mr. McKinney shouted for help but no-one heard.

Mr. McKinney wanted to bring the attacker back to the school where he could find help, but the man jumped forward and hit him. Daniel-Joseph McKinney lost his glasses and had to stop looking for them in order to prevent the man from fleeing. He ran after him and fell with him to the snow-covered ground. The attacker said, "I'm going to kill you!" Mr. McKinney asked him to repeat what he had said he shouted, "I said you're killing me!" Discouraged and frightened, Mr. McKinney shouted for help again, but in vain. He told the young woman, who was still at the scene but in a state of shock, to call the police. The police arrived quickly to provide assistance, and arrested the attacker.

The young woman was taken to hospital, where she was treated for wounds to the abdomen. Daniel-Joseph McKinney was not injured during the attack. If he had not taken that route home and had not acted so bravely, anything could have happened.

Jacinthe Martin

Ms. Jacinthe MartinOn September 21, 2016, at 4:45 a.m., Jacinthe Martin was getting ready to leave for work when someone knocked on her door. She was wary of answering because it was so early, but after repeated knocking decided to open her door. A neighbour told her that her father-in-law's house, just behind hers, was in flames. Her father-in-law was 80 years old and lived on his own. She ran over, using the shortcut to his house.

When she got to the house, she could see it was filled with smoke. She went to the back door, which she knew was always unlocked, and went in. After taking a few steps, she was smothered by the dense black smoke. She could see nothing inside, even though she was familiar with the layout. The heat was also unbearable, but she could not leave her father-in-law in such a difficult situation.

Through the deafening noise of the fire alarm, she could hear the old man's voice saying "Get me out of here! Get me out of here!" She shouted to him to move towards her, not knowing where he was. She told him to meet her in the living room. The old man appeared unable to move, probably in shock and paralyzed by fear.

Jacinthe Martin was still shouting to try to locate her father-in-law, while inhaling smoke. She told him to lie on the floor and crawl towards her. At last, she could hear his voice getting closer, and then he reached her. She asked him to go and unlock the front door so they could leave. Although still exhausted, the man was able to walk a few steps at his daughter-in-law's request.

Ms. Martin left through the back door and ran round to the front door, which was now unlocked. She opened it and held her father-in-law in her arms. They both lay down on the lawn while waiting for the emergency services. The crew arrived shortly after, alerted by a neighbour.

Ms. Martin followed the ambulance taking her father-in-law to the hospital. Because of his fragile state of health he was kept in hospital for two weeks. His house was written off. Jacinthe Martin was not injured, but deeply affected by the incident. Thanks to her tenaciousness, she saved her father-in-law's life.

Cédric Junod

Mr. Cédric JunodOn January 6, 2016, Cédric Junod heard the smoke alarm in the building where he lived. He left his apartment and saw smoke gradually filling the corridors. He knocked several times on all the doors on both floors of the building to warn the occupants, while trying to identify the source of the fire.

Once he thought that everyone had left, he saw his neighbour Steven Bocking standing at the front door of his apartment. He told him that the fire was inside. After inhaling smoke he felt dizzy and unwell; he had also vomited. Mr. Junod asked him if there was anyone else inside, and Mr. Bocking said that his wife was still there, probably in the bathroom because when he called out to her and tried to locate her in the smoke, he had been unable to find her.

Mr. Bocking returned to the main door of the building, where he had left his baby earlier to make sure he was not affected by the smoke. He placed him in the care of a neighbour who was leaving the building.

In the meantime, Cédric Junod went into the apartment, where the fire was blazing in the kitchen. Through the thick smoke, he tried to find his way to the bathroom. First, he hit a wall, but then by bending down he was able to crawl to the room he was looking for. The door was open and, exploring blindly, Mr. Junod struck a lifeless body—the wife of Steven Bocking. He grabbed the woman under the arms. She was unconscious and very heavy, but he began to move her out.

Steven Bocking came back and met Cédric Junod in the corridor between the kitchen and the living room. Working together, they were able to carry his wife from the building, laying her on a snowbank where Mr. Junod had spread his coat. A neighbour started resuscitation because she was not breathing. Shortly after, firefighters and ambulance technicians arrived on the scene and took over the task of saving the mother's life.

In hospital, the woman received treatment for several weeks for major depression, in addition to her injuries. Without the brave actions of Mr. Junod, she would not have survived the fire.


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.

Youri Desjardins-Cloutier

Mr. Youri Desjardins-CloutierOn August 12, 2016 in the late afternoon, Youri Desjardins-Cloutier, aged 15, and two friends were jumping into the Rivière Trois-Pistoles in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges from a rocky outcrop, something they did regularly.

A short distance away, on a footbridge 17 metres high, two young men and a young woman were looking down as if getting ready to jump. Prudently, Youri went along the path to meet them. He knew the river and its dangers well, and he showed them a safer place to jump: the nine-metre cliff from which he had just jumped. However, the young people insisted that they wanted to complete their own challenge.

They were unfamiliar with the river, but he could not prevent them from carrying out their plan. One of the young men went first. Youri explained what he had to do, and the young man jumped. He failed to follow the instructions and landed flat on his belly. Youri was worried and went down to help him, followed by the two young people. The young man climbed out of the water, winded but safe. A few minutes later, the young woman said she was going to jump too. Surprised, Youri once again suggested that she should try a safer place, but she refused, so Youri explained how to complete her jump.

The young woman climbed up to the bridge alone. She hesitated, and hung on to the rope for a minute before suddenly letting go. She seemed to have fainted, because her body immediately fell forward and she hit the water full-length. She was unconscious and floating head-down in the water.

Immediately, Youri dived in to save her. He swam over, grabbed her under her arms and pulled her to the opposite bank, where he laid her on her side on the rocks and attempted to wake her by slapping her back and her face. She was choking, and spitting out water and blood. Her body was covered in bruises from the impact of her fall. 

Youri shouted to his friend to call for help. The victim regained consciousness and could remember nothing about the accident. One of her friends swam over, and Youri crossed the river again to go to the parking lot to guide the emergency team. Without his quick actions, the young woman would have died from her fall.

Denis Paquet

Mr. Denis PaquetOn June 24, 2016, Denis Paquet organized a fishing expedition in the Côte-Nord region with his uncle and aunt, a brother and sister in their eighties. They left the uncle's cottage in the morning and drove to the lakeshore, where Denis and his aunt set out in one boat, with his uncle in a second boat. After a few hours fishing together, the uncle remained in the same spot while the other boat moved to a narrow cove where they were no longer in visual contact. Denis and his aunt were both wearing lifejackets, while the uncle was using a life jacket to sit on.

Suddenly, Denis Paquet heard a strange sound, a small "plop". He immediately thought that his uncle must have fallen in, and quickly headed back to the sector. He could see only a capsized boat, and his aunt began to panic. He urged her to stay calm and avoid rocking the boat.

When they got closer Denis Paquet found his uncle clinging to the boat in the icy water, saying that he was scared and cold. He was in a state of shock. Denis promised to rescue him, and asked him to trust him. He grabbed him under the arms to hoist him into the boat, but was unable to do so because his uncle's fishing boots were stuck in the mud on the lake bottom.

As time passed, Denis Paquet could see his uncle losing strength. He asked his uncle to make one last attempt to lift himself up while he, kneeling in the boat, pulled with all his strength. He suggested that his uncle could free one foot, which he did, and Denis was able to grab his ankle and swing him into the boat. 

All three family members were now in the same boat. The uncle was shivering. Denis sailed back to shore as quickly as he could, and the two elderly people got into the victim's truck with the heating on. The uncle undressed and put on his sister's dry clothing. They waited there while Denis Paquet returned to the lake to recover the second boat and whatever fishing equipment he could find. Denis Paquet saved his uncle from drowning. Since this traumatic experience, they have all given up fishing.

Jean-Baptiste Guilbert

Mr. Jean-Baptiste GuilbertOn September 1, 2016, three employees of the city of Shawinigan were completing work for an activity on the Saint-Maurice promenade, alongside the Saint-Maurice river. A man came over to ask them if he could swim in the river, and after receiving a positive answer he began swimming close by.

About 15 minutes later, one of the workers noticed that the man was floating face-down in the water. The three workers were worried and began calling out, but received no response. They agreed they needed to act quickly to save him. He was about 15 feet from the riverbank but floating slowly away on the current. 

While one of them called 911, the others realized that they could not intervene directly without running various risks. Jean-Baptiste Guilbert arrived on the scene and, at the request of the workers, dived in and swam over to the unconscious man. He grabbed him by the arm and was able to pull him back to the riverbank. 

Because of the depth of the water, Jean-Baptiste Guilbert could not touch the bottom and asked the workers to help him get the man out of the river.

With assistance from the 911 operator, the four men carried out resuscitation manoeuvres on the victim, who had stopped breathing. A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived and the paramedics took over. After intubating the man to help him breathe, they drove him to hospital.

Less than one hour after the incident, three of the four men involved, including Jean-Baptiste Guilbert, had given a statement to the police. At the time they were unsure if the victim was alive or dead, but he in fact survived.

None of the four men was injured during the rescue or suffered any ill effects, although they reported that they felt nervous and upset for several days. The three municipal employees were given leave for the rest of the day, while Jean-Baptiste Guilbert carried on as usual because he had a team meeting in Shawinigan. His courageous act had saved a man from drowning.

Watch the interview with Jean-Baptiste Guilbert


René Dessureault

Mr. René DessureaultOn September 25, 2016 at around 1 p.m., Bernard Broyer and René Dessureault were at the hunting camp of a pilot friend at Lac Kuashkuapishiu in the Nord-du-Québec region. Standing on the wharf, they watched as the floatplane took off to take two other friends to another camp. The plane took off over the lake, gained altitude, banked to the left, and then suddenly veered to the right. The two men lost sight of the plane but could see a plume of smoke rising in the air.

Broyer and Dessureault jumped into a motorboat to get to the end of the lake, where they entered a stream and found a man lying in the water. He was so badly burned that they did not recognize him immediately as the pilot. His clothes had melted, his hands and face were black, strips of skin were hanging from his limbs and his hair was gone. He was in a state of shock and extremely agitated. The two men placed him in the boat and René Dessureault took him back to camp. 

Bernard Broyer attempted to locate the plane's passengers, walking through the forest until he came to the burning plane. In the wreckage he could see a lifeless body, curled up and with the left foot missing. After searching vainly for his other friend, he returned to the lake to wait for René Dessureault.

In the meantime, René Dessureault had arrived at the cottage, where he cut off the pilot's clothes and wrapped him in blankets. He called for help using a satellite phone before returning to the scene of the crash. The two friends carried out a new search, unsuccessfully. The ammunition in the floatplane started to explode and, given the danger, they went back to camp to look after their friend. They kept him awake by talking to him constantly.

Around 5 p.m., an Air Médic helicopter arrived at the camp but could not land. Two nurses disembarked to take care of the pilot. Around 10 p.m., an army helicopter came to airlift the badly-burned pilot and the two nurses. Bernard Broyer and René Dessureault were left to spend the night at the cottage and were winched on board a Sûreté du Québec helicopter the following evening.

From the hospital in Sept-Îles the pilot was taken to Québec City, where he stayed in hospital for several months of treatment and skin grafts. His wife and baby came from Gatineau to stay with him. Without the brave actions of Bernard Broyer and René Dessureault, the pilot would have succumbed to his injuries, like the two other friends who lost their lives in the accident.

Watch the interview with Bernard Broyer, René Dessureault and Phillippe St-Pierre

Thierry Sauvain

Mr. Thierry SauvainAt around 8:40 a.m. on August 9, 2016, Thierry Sauvain, a social worker treating psycho-social cases at CLSC Ahuntsic, arrived at work. The CLSC shared a building with the Montreal youth centre for the northern sector. Mr. Sauvain heard shouts coming from the entrance hall of the youth centre. A secure door was in his path—people could use it to leave the CLSC, but only people with a magnetic pass could get through from the youth centre.

Thierry Sauvain headed for the shouting, opening the secure door and letting it close behind him. He was now in the entrance hall of the youth centre. He came upon a horrifying scene: a woman was screaming, on her knees and covered in blood from head to foot. A man, facing away from Thierry Sauvain, was hitting her violently with a hockey stick.

He decided to face the man and distract him by trying to reason with him. The man, in a psychotic fit, did not respond and continued to beat his victim. However, soon after he abandoned the young woman and began to attack Thierry Sauvain with his hockey stick. He struck him violently on the left forearm and in the ribs on his right side, while Thierry Sauvain attempted to protect his head.

At this point, a CLSC psychologist from the youth centre team heard the commotion and opened the door to the CLSC. He saw the young woman lying injured on the floor, and she moved to safety behind the door, followed by Thierry Sauvain. The attacker fled through the main entrance to the CLSC.

The victim and Thierry Sauvain were in the office of a psycho-educator, who called for help. Police officers and paramedics were dispatched, and the office became a nursing station. With a precise description of the suspect, the police were able to track him down and intercept him 45 minutes later. 

The two injured people were taken to hospital by ambulance. The woman's spouse thanked Thierry Sauvain for saving her life. Thierry Sauvain had badly bruised ribs and a fracture of the left arm, which needed a plaster cast. He was off work for almost two months and returned only in November 2016. He suffered from severe post-traumatic stress and needed psychotherapy.

Bernard Broyer

Mr. Bernard BroyerOn September 25, 2016 at around 1 p.m., Bernard Broyer and René Dessureault were at the hunting camp of a pilot friend at Lac Kuashkuapishiu in the Nord-du-Québec region. Standing on the wharf, they watched as the floatplane took off to take two other friends to another camp. The plane took off over the lake, gained altitude, banked to the left, and then suddenly veered to the right. The two men lost sight of the plane but could see a plume of smoke rising in the air.

Broyer and Dessureault jumped into a motorboat to get to the end of the lake, where they entered a stream and found a man lying in the water. He was so badly burned that they did not recognize him immediately as the pilot. His clothes had melted, his hands and face were black, strips of skin were hanging from his limbs and his hair was gone. He was in a state of shock and extremely agitated. The two men placed him in the boat and René Dessureault took him back to camp. 

Bernard Broyer attempted to locate the plane's passengers, walking through the forest until he came to the burning plane. In the wreckage he could see a lifeless body, curled up and with the left foot missing. After searching vainly for his other friend, he returned to the lake to wait for René Dessureault.

In the meantime, René Dessureault had arrived at the cottage, where he cut off the pilot's clothes and wrapped him in blankets. He called for help using a satellite phone before returning to the scene of the crash. The two friends carried out a new search, unsuccessfully. The ammunition in the floatplane started to explode and, given the danger, they went back to camp to look after their friend. They kept him awake by talking to him constantly.

Around 5 p.m., an Air Médic helicopter arrived at the camp but could not land. Two nurses disembarked to take care of the pilot. Around 10 p.m., an army helicopter came to airlift the badly-burned pilot and the two nurses. Bernard Broyer and René Dessureault were left to spend the night at the cottage and were winched on board a Sûreté du Québec helicopter the following evening.

From the hospital in Sept-Îles the pilot was taken to Québec City, where he stayed in hospital for several months of treatment and skin grafts. His wife and baby came from Gatineau to stay with him. Without the brave actions of Bernard Broyer and René Dessureault, the pilot would have succumbed to his injuries, like the two other friends who lost their lives in the accident.

Watch the interview with Bernard Broyer, René Dessureault and Phillippe St-Pierre


Mathieu Coallier and Sylvain Perth

Mr. Sylvain Perth and Mathieu CoallierOn December 8, 2016 at about 6:30 p.m., Sylvain Perth and Mathieu Coallier were driving separately along Highway 158 in Mirabel. The weather conditions had made the road icy and dangerous. Sylvain noticed the gleam of headlights and smoke coming from a ditch and stopped his truck on the road shoulder.

An overturned car was gradually sinking into the stagnant, frozen water. Sylvain shouted out and heard a man answer, and he quickly called 911. He was told that emergency responders would be dispatched quickly, but that the ambulance would take longer because of the number of accidents caused by the poor road conditions.

In the meantime, Mathieu Coallier arrived on the scene and checked that there was only one person in the car. The man was in difficulty and claimed to be drowning. Sylvain Perth ended his 911 call and returned to the ditch, where the two men agreed that they needed to act quickly.

Sylvain Perth returned to his truck and placed it at right angles to the road, a dangerous manoeuvre because other cars only just had room to squeeze past. He took a metal chain from his truck and attached it to his towing hitch, while Mathieu Coallier caught the other end and attached it to the car. Behind the wheel of his truck, Sylvain Perth moved forward just enough to drag the car a little higher and give the victim room to breathe. From the edge of the ditch, Mathieu Coallier coordinated the operation. As soon as the victim confirmed that he could breathe, he signalled to Sylvain Perth to stop.

A police officer arrived on the scene and, with the two rescuers, explained to the victim that he had to get himself out of the car, because they could not help him in the icy water. Now that the vehicle was on higher ground, the man was less threatened by the water, and was able to escape by a gap that had opened up between the roof of the car and the top of the windshield. He could then stand on the car.

Mathieu Coallier and the police officer went back down into the ditch and, with assistance from Sylvain Perth, formed a human chain to move the man up to the road.

The victim removed his soaking clothes and took shelter in the police car. Sylvain Perth provided blankets. An ambulance arrived and took the victim to hospital—he was suffering from the onset of hypothermia. Without the intervention of two quick-witted rescuers, he might not have survived.

Watch the interview with Mathieu Coallier and Sylvain Perth

Mr. Steven Bocking

On January 6, 2016, at around 9:45 a.m., Steven Bocking arrived home in Drummondville with his five-month-old baby. As he opened the door to his apartment, he was met by a wall of dense black smoke. He reacted quickly, returning to the building's front entrance to leave the baby in its carry seat away from the smoke. He then went in to his apartment.

He saw flames in the kitchen rising up towards the cupboards over the stove. He grabbed a fire extinguisher from under the sink and extinguished the flames he could see while shouting out to attempt to locate his wife. There was no response.

Steven Bocking left the apartment and went to check on his baby at the entrance to the building. The child was calm, warmly dressed and firmly buckled into the seat. Reassured, he went back to his apartment and tried to open two windows to ventilate the space, but one of them was frozen shut. He again tried to extinguish the fire in the kitchen. With all the smoke he had inhaled, Mr. Bocking felt sick and dizzy; he also vomited. He left again to check on his baby and call the fire department. 

He ran into one of his neighbours, Cédric Junod, who asked if there was anyone inside. He replied that his wife was still inside, probably in the bathroom, because he had not found her anywhere else. Cédric Junod went into the burning apartment and found the woman lying unconscious near the bathroom door, and he began to move her.

In the meantime, Steven Bocking had placed his baby in the care of a neighbour who was leaving the building. He met Cédric Junod in the corridor between the kitchen and living room of his apartment, and together they were able to carry his wife from the building, laying her on a snowbank where Mr. Junod had spread his coat. A neighbour started resuscitation because she was not breathing. Shortly thereafter, firefighters and ambulance technicians arrived on the scene and took over the task of saving the mother's life.

In hospital, the woman received treatment for several weeks for major depression, in addition to her injuries. Steven Bocking, with help from his neighbour, waved his wife from a serious fire.

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