2001 Award Recipients (for actions in 2000)
On November 19, 2001, the Government of Québec paid public tribute to 24 persons in recognition of their acts of good citizenship in 2000. The Tribute to Good Citizenship ceremony was held in the Legislative Council Chamber of the main Parliament Building, presided over by the Minister of Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration. The Minister awarded 3 medals and 21 honourable citations.
The recipients were also given a lapel pin, which is a miniature replica of the medal.
The acts of good citizenship highlighted at the 18th Tribute to Good Citizenship ceremony were divided into categories.
Medals for Good Citizenship
The medal for good citizenship, accompanied by a gold lapel pin, may be awarded to a person who has accomplished an act of good citizenship under dangerous circumstances. Made of bronze and engraved with the recipient’s name, the two faces on the medal symbolize both aspects of the theme based on risking one's life to save the life of another.
In the "drowning risks" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Mathieu Cusson (age 14), Canton de Shefford
On July 5, 2000, at lac Comencho in Chibougamau, Mr. Cusson was fishing with his son Mathieu and his son's friend, Jared Hertz. At around 1 p.m., their canoe overturned. With Jared's help, Mr. Cusson removed the motor and managed to right the canoe, and the two boys bailed out the canoe using Jared's boots. Jared got back into the canoe and it overturned again. Gripping the canoe, the three drifted for hours. Jared was acutely hypothermic and when his father also started to show signs of hypothermia, Mathieu set out to swim toward a rock, with his father gripping his coat and holding Jared who was unconscious. With great difficulty, Mathieu managed to climb up onto the rock and fell asleep, exhausted, next to his father and Jared, now dead. At around 6 p.m., the father and son reached the shore, pulling Jared's body behind them. They were only rescued the following morning. Under extremely difficult circumstances, Mathieu showed courage and exemplary determination.
Michel Mongrain, Trois-Rivières
On January 31, 2000, a young boy slipped on the quay at the sanctuary in Cap-de-la-Madeleine and fell into the fleuve Saint-Laurent. Sinking up to his neck, he held on to the surrounding ice with one hand. Arriving at the scene, Michel Mongrain ran along the fence and climbed down the ladder to the water. Holding on to the ladder, he extended his hand to the boy, who was too cold to move. Mr. Mongrain let go of the ladder and moved forward to grasp the boy's arm. The ice broke under their weight but Mr. Mongrain managed to grab the ladder. He put the victim on his back and hoisted himself up the ladder using one hand and his elbow. Despite the icy water and the obvious danger, Mr. Mongrain acted swiftly and proved his courage by rescuing the young boy.
In the "accidents" category, the Government of Québec awarded a medal for good citizenship to:
Émilien Bouffard, Sainte-Paule
On April 3, 2000, in Saint-Jérôme-de-Matane, a driver lost control of her car which plunged into the rivière Matane. She managed to climb onto the window ledge and Émilien Bouffard went to her rescue, injuring himself on rocks when he jumped into the water. He threw the victim a rope, but she could not reach it and he went back to shore to retrieve a longer one from an onlooker. He made a loop and threw it several times until it finally caught around the driver. Immersed in the icy water up to his shoulders and shivering, Mr. Bouffard pulled the victim to shore. He was rewarded for braving the turbulent waters to save a life.
Honourable Citations for Good Citizenship
Honourable citations for good citizenship, accompanied by a silver lapel pin, may be awarded to an individual who has performed an act of courage or dedication under difficult circumstances. The honourable citation is a parchment certificate bearing the recipient’s name.
In the "drowning risks" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Philippe Beaudoin, Saint-Georges (Beauce)
On July 29, 2000, a woman fell into the rivière Chaudière in Saint-Georges while fishing. She could not swim and was carried away by the current toward the dam downstream. Without hesitating, Philippe Beaudoin jumped into the river to rescue the exhausted woman. He gripped her firmly and swam toward shore. He had to pull her up above water several times and was himself dragged underwater twice during the rescue. His resourcefulness and self-control saved her from drowning.
Marc-Antoine Bélanger, Gilles-Charles Gosselin and François Robitaille, Sainte-Foy and Jérôme Drolet, Ancienne-Lorette
On June 28, 2000, in Pont-Rouge, Marc-Antoine, Jérôme, Gilles-Charles, François and their friend Jonathan dived from a rocky outcrop into the rivière Jacques-Cartier to swim to the other side of the river. Jonathan was unable to reach shore and he shouted and struggled against the current. Marc-Antoine dived back in and reached him just in time to grab him before he lost consciousness. Gilles-Charles came to help, but even though they both tried, they could not reach shore because of the churning water. Seeing the situation worsen, François and Jérôme also dived in. After several tries, they realized that in order to reach the shore, they would have to let the current carry them. Their perseverance, team work and courage saved their friend from drowning.
Yves Blackburn, Jonquière
On September 12, 2000, Yves Blackburn spotted a woman being swept under a bridge by the current in rivière Aux Sables in Jonquière. He raced down the steep slope and waded up to his knees into the water. He grabbed the woman, who pushed him away. Mr. Blackburn swam toward the victim and was able to grab her again. Though exhausted, he managed to bring her back to shore and saved her life.
François Bourgeois, Val-des-Monts
On November 24, 2000, in Val-des-Monts, François Bourgeois saw a car plunge into lac McGregor and ran into the water to help the driver get out. He was unable to open the door and tried to kick in the window on the passenger's side. Using a stone, he shattered the glass, put his arm inside, but could not reach the woman. He could no longer stay in the cold water and suffering from hypothermia, he slowly went back to shore. The icy water and obstacles hindered Mr. Bourgeois's efforts to rescue the victim.
Rémi Côté, Fabreville
On January 21, 2000, two men riding their snowmobiles on the rivière des Mille-Îles fell into the water when the ice gave way. One of the drivers managed to pull himself out and ran to get help, while his friend was carried away by the current. Rémi Côté quickly responded, carrying wire cable. As he knew the waters well, he hurried to the spot where he thought the victim was likely to drift to and when he saw him, threw him the cable. He had to make three attempts before the man managed to catch it. Despite the danger of the ice breaking under his weight, Mr. Côté was able to pull the victim to safety and through his skill and determination saved his life.
In the "accidents" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Gaétan Beaudet, Saint-Léonard
On March 12, 2000, at around 9:40 p.m., Gaétan Beaudet witnessed an accident on boulevard Gouin, in Montréal. A car was on fire and a woman was lying unconscious inside. Mr. Beaudet tried to open the door on the passenger side, but to no avail. He then tried to pull the victim out through the rear door, but was unable to because her safety belt was still fastened. Despite the flames shooting out of the motor, Mr. Beaudet managed to pull the unconscious victim out the driver's door. Because of his perseverance and courage, he saved her life.
Louise Hurteau and Robert Campbell, Hinchinbrooke
On May 16, 2000, in Hinchinbrooke, a man lost control of his vehicle which plunged into the rivière Châteauguay. He managed to get out but his brother was still trapped underwater. Witnesses Robert Campbell and Louise Hurteau jumped into the water and tried, with the driver's help, to open the passenger door but were unable to. Mr. Campbell, up to his neck in the water, put him arm through the window, but could not reach the victim. After several attempts, he finally managed to grab him and bring him up to the surface. Mr. Campbell and Ms. Hurteau showed courage in rescuing the man despite the complications and the fact that they could not swim.
Philippe Côté, Stoke
In the night of April 23, 2000, a snowstorm was raging in La Patrie. A car skidded, overturned into a stream, the front of the vehicle entirely submerged. Philippe Côté and his spouse, Ms. Lambert, stopped at the scene and immediately went down to the car where they tried to open the doors but were unable to. Another motorist came to help and the two men managed to open the back door. The passenger quickly emerged and Ms. Lambert took her in charge. The driver was lying unconscious with his face in the water. Determined to save him, Mr. Côté managed to pull him out to safety.
Rémi Daigle, Saint-Dominique and Yvan Lequin, Canton de Granby
On November 10, 2000, in Saint-Cécile-de-Milton, three vehicles collided and one rolled into the ditch and caught fire. Yvan Lequin, one of the drivers, quickly ran down to the car. Thick smoke engulfed the vehicle as he was joined by Mr. Daigle near the burning motor. Mr. Daigle cut the passenger's safety belt, and the two men shattered the windshield and pulled the passenger out, despite the spreading flames. Without the quick response and courage of the two men, the passenger would not have been rescued before the car exploded.
Gilles Harvey, Saint-Siméon and Germain Maltais, La Malbaie
On August 7, 2000, on Route 138 near the Massif de Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, two vehicles collided and caught fire. Germain Maltais and Gilles Harvey were working close by. Mr. Maltais put out the fire under one of the vehicles with a fire extinguisher and despite the thick smoke, the two men opened the door and pulled out a woman passenger. Under the other vehicle, the flames were spreading, but Mr. Maltais managed to put it out. After several attempts to open the door, they broke it down with an axe. By combining their efforts and acting quickly, Mr. Maltais and Mr. Harvey efficiently rescued the victims.
In the "fires" category, the Government of Québec awarded an honourable citation for good citizenship to:
Monsieur Henri Barnabé, Rigaud
In the night of December 12, 2000, a fire started in the basement of Henri and Monique Barnabé's home in Pointe-Fortune. Awakened by the smoke detector, Mr. Barnabé went downstairs, thinking that his wife had followed him. In total darkness, breathing with difficulty, he went to the patio door and opened it. He was thrust outside. He shouted continuously until Mrs. Barnabé answered and asked him to come and get her. Urged on by her husband, she walked down the stairs but lost consciousness at the bottom. Heeding only his courage, Mr. Barnabé went back into the house and despite the thick smoke, managed to pull his wife outdoors.
Guy Beaufort, Saint-Cuthbert, represented by Diane Beaufort
Mr. Beaufort died in 2001 following a snowmobile accident
On November 4, 2000, at around 1 a.m., Guy Beaufort noticed smoke escaping from the roof of a residence. He entered the house by the back door, but blinded by the thick smoke, stepped outside and then went back in. He found one man and awakened him. Together they searched for a couple asleep on the ground floor. They could hear the fire crackling upstairs where it had started. Several times, Mr. Beaufort tried to go upstairs to rescue the fourth occupant, but the heat and smoke made him turn back. He did succeed in saving the liveGrande-Îles of three people.
Jean-Guy Bertrand and Robert Jodoin Jr., Grande-île
On September 7, 2000, Robert Jodoin Jr. and Jean-Guy Bertrand and his wife noticed heavy smoke coming from a neighbour's house. When they arrived, they spotted a young girl through the glass door. Mr. Bertrand pulled the door off and rescued the young girl, handing her over to his wife's care. Meanwhile, Mr. Jodoin had found a baby in a burning crib and handed him over to Mrs. Bertrand. The two men went back into the house but could find no one else and the police arrived as they were coming out. Two other children and their mother perished in the fire.
François Dubé, Verdun
On October 13, 2000, an explosion trapped four people in François Dubé's garage in Montréal. With a piece of steel, Mr. Dubé broke the window and opened the door. The garage was filled with thick black smoke and the floor was on fire. Mr. Dubé helped one victim out and was helping a second one when the firemen arrived. There were four victims with serious burns. Two of them died from their injuries in the following days, but Mr. Dubé's prompt and courageous action helped save two lives.