Governor General Announces 15 Decorations for Bravery

May 23, 2007 | News Releases

May 23, 2007

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today the awarding of 15 Decorations for Bravery: one Star of Courage and 14 Medals of Bravery. Recipients will be invited to receive their decorations at a ceremony to be held at Rideau Hall at a later date.

On the recommendation of the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee (Bravery), the Governor General has awarded Medals of Bravery to the following recipients:

Star of Courage

Mark Jordan, S.C. Mississauga, Ontario

Medal of Bravery

Private Jonathan David Olivier Beaudin, M.B. Lorraine City, Que.
Rachel Davis, M.B. (posthumous) Vancouver, B.C.
Matthew de Koning, M.B. Cache Creek, B.C.
Rocky Hanson, M.B. Edmonton, Alberta
Jessica Lauren Holman-Price, M.B. (posthumous) Portugal Cove, N.L.
Robin William Johnstone, M.B. Bowmanville, Ont.
Thomas Murray Martin, M.B. Pickering, Ont.
Daniel Harold Peacock, M.B. Rimbey, Alta.
Claude Plante, M.B. Lambton, Que.
James Daniel Reilly, M.B. Etobicoke, Ont.
Bradley Patrick Roy Smith, M.B. Red Deer, Alta.
Acting Sergeant Leon Tadeusz Sowa, M.B. Pickering, Ont.
Gerald Alfred Strickland, M.B. Newman’s Cove, N.L.
Detective-Constable Paul Gordon Stuart, M.B. Whitby, Ont.

The citations for the recipients are attached.

The Decorations for Bravery were established in 1972 as part of the Canadian honours system. The Cross of Valour is awarded for acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril. The Star of Courage is awarded for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril. The Medal of Bravery is awarded for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

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Media and public information
Marie-Paule Thorn
613-993-2569 or 1-800-465-6890
www.gg.ca

CITATIONS

Mark Jordan, S.C., Mississauga, Ontario
Star of Courage

On September 6, 2005, Mark Jordan was seriously injured while fighting off a black bear that was attacking his wife at a remote campsite in Missinaibi Provincial Park, Ontario. The couple was setting up camp when the large bear suddenly attacked the woman and began dragging her into the woods. Mr. Jordan confronted the animal, which backed off momentarily then charged back at the woman. Armed only with a pocketknife, Mr. Jordan wrestled with the animal and repeatedly stabbed it until it finally released the woman. Tracked by the wounded bear, he managed to drag his wife to the beach despite his own injuries, to pull her into their kayak and to paddle towards a nearby campsite to get assistance. Sadly, his wife did not survive.

Private Jonathan David Olivier Beaudin, M.B., Lorraine City, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On September 20, 2005, Private Jonathan Beaudin rescued his team leader trapped inside their submerged armoured vehicle during a night tactical training exercise at CFB Wainright, Alberta. The soft earth on which the vehicle was travelling suddenly gave way, sending it rolling into the frigid water of the Battle River. Although disoriented and in complete darkness, Private Beaudin was able to find a tiny air pocket in a corner of the overturned machine. The other two victims remained trapped and submerged. Despite his injuries, Private Beaudin pulled one of his colleagues from his precarious position and led him through the combat door to safety. Regrettably, the accident claimed the life of the driver of the vehicle.

Rachel Davis, M.B. (posthumous), Vancouver, British Columbia
Medal of Bravery

In the early hours of January 3, 2004, 23-year-old Rachel Davis lost her life after breaking up a gang assault on a teenage boy in Vancouver, British Columbia. The fight took place outside a nightclub where she had been with friends. Witnessing the commotion, she ran to intervene. In an attempt to stop the beating, she jumped into the middle of the fray to shield the unconscious victim from the blows. The attack stopped, but in the scuffle that ensued, a gun was pulled out by a member of a rival gang and shots were fired. Tragically, Ms. Davis received gunshot wounds to the head and died on her way to the hospital.

Matthew de Koning, M.B., Cache Creek, British Columbia
Medal of Bravery

On December 15, 2005, Matthew de Koning risked his life to disarm a suicidal man in a local bar in Langley, British Columbia. The distraught man, armed with a hunting rifle, stormed into the bar and chambered a round. As patrons started running for the exit, Mr. de Koning confronted the gunman. Without concern for his own safety, he tried to calm the man down and quickly grabbed the rifle from his hands. Other people then helped restrain the disturbed man until police arrived.

Rocky Hanson, M.B., Edmonton, Alberta
Bradley Patrick Roy Smith, M.B., Red Deer, Alberta
Medal of Bravery

On November 11, 2005, Rocky Hanson and Brad Smith rescued several senior residents from a burning apartment complex in Edmonton, Alberta. Mr. Smith was visiting his grandmother when he was alerted to a fire in a nearby suite. Without hesitation, he rushed over and, with a fire extinguisher, tried to put out the flames engulfing an unconscious man. Forced to abandon his efforts due to the rapidly spreading fire that ultimately claimed the victim’s life, he retreated outside where he met up with Mr. Hanson, another visitor alerted to the fire. Together, they ran back inside and, although unable to see in the smoke-filled hallways and stairwells, made their way through the three-story building, kicking in doors and evacuating several residents before firefighters arrived and took over.

Jessica Lauren Holman-Price, M.B. (posthumous)
Portugal Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador
Medal of Bravery

On December 19, 2005, 21-year-old Jessica Holman‑Price lost her life while preventing her 10‑year-old brother from being crushed by the wheels of a snow-removal truck in Montreal, Quebec. The two were standing on a snowbank at a busy intersection, waiting to cross the street. When the light turned green, the truck came around the corner and caught the edge of the mound, causing the boy to slide under the vehicle. Ms. Holman-Price reached for him but she too lost her footing and slid under the wheels of the truck.  In a split second, she managed to push her brother out of harm’s way before the massive truck fatally injured her.

Robin William Johnstone, M.B., Bowmanville, Ontario
Thomas Murray Martin, M.B., Pickering, Ontario
Acting Sergeant Leon Tadeusz Sowa, M.B., Pickering, Ontario
Detective-Constable Paul Gordon Stuart, M.B., Whitby, Ontario
Medal of Bravery

On October 29, 2005, Robin Johnstone, Thomas Martin, Acting Sergeant Leon Sowa and Detective-Constable Paul Stuart rescued a suicidal woman who had set fire to her house in Ajax, Ontario. After gaining entry and searching the front rooms, they went down the hallway but were forced back out by the heavy smoke. The men re-entered the house by kicking in the back door, which was obstructed with pieces of wood. Crawling under the thick smoke, they searched the bedrooms and hallway, retreating outside often to get fresh air. They finally located the semi-conscious victim in the kitchen, hiding under a desk and behind office equipment that she had placed in front of her for concealment. Despite their great difficulty breathing, the rescuers grabbed the resisting woman and carried her outside to safety.

Daniel Harold Peacock, M.B., Rimbey, Alberta
Medal of Bravery

On June 24, 2006, 15-year-old Daniel Peacock rescued a friend from drowning in the Ram River, near Nordegg, Alberta. The victim accidentally slipped from a five-metre-high cliff, hit his head and fell into a deep pool of water some 15 metres from the bank. Daniel immediately dove to his rescue but the two were swept apart by the current and into a whirlpool. Finally reaching his friend’s side, Daniel grabbed hold of him, but the frightened teen kept pulling him under water. In spite of the strong undertow and with his panicked friend climbing onto his shoulders, Daniel used the rocks underfoot to propel them both to the surface where the victim was able to float on his back until he was close enough to the shore to be pulled to safety by others. Meanwhile, Daniel got hold of a fallen tree and maneuvered himself into a calmer pool of water, where other people came to his assistance.

Claude Plante, M.B., Lambton, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On March 14, 2006, Claude Plante rescued an elderly man from drowning off Margarita Island, in Venezuela. Realizing that the man was in trouble, Mr. Plante grabbed a boogie board, jumped into the high waves and swam out to him. He handed the man the floatation device and, struggling against the powerful undertow, pushed him back towards the shore until they could touch bottom. Exhausted, Mr. Plante was suddenly caught in the undercurrent and pulled back to sea where he lost consciousness. Fortunately, onlookers were able to reach him and bring him back to safety.

James Daniel Reilly, M.B., Etobicoke, Ontario
Medal of Bravery

On December 19, 2005, off-duty firefighter James Reilly risked his life to rescue a woman from a burning house in Etobicoke, Ontario. As he was driving by, Mr. Reilly noticed smoke billowing from the house and stopped to investigate. After calling 911, he knocked on the door to alert the lone occupant. Receiving no response, he kicked down the locked door and crawled into the house but was quickly forced out by the heavy smoke. Undeterred, he raced back inside the flaming building. Feeling around blindly, he located the unconscious victim and attempted to pull her outside but, overwhelmed by the choking fumes, retreated from the house again. Mr. Reilly charged into the structure a third time, managed to dislodge the woman, whose leg had become stuck in the doorway, and dragged her outside. Tragically, despite Mr. Reilly’s best efforts, the victim did not survive.

Gerald Alfred Strickland, M.B., Newman’s Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador
Medal of Bravery

On January 23, 2006, Gerald Strickland saved an elderly couple from their burning house in Newman’s Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador. After entering the flaming house, he called out to the occupants and heard a muffled reply from the man. Through the blinding smoke, Mr. Strickland made his way towards the kitchen where he bumped into the man’s wheelchair, stuck in the doorway. Although gasping for air, Mr. Strickland was able to free the chair and bring the man outside. Only once they were outside did he notice that the victim’s wife had been holding onto the chair as it was pulled to safety, seconds before the house was completely destroyed by the flames.

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