Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

August 27, 2010 13:41 ET

Governor General Announces the Awarding of 17 Decorations for Bravery

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 27, 2010) - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today the awarding of two Stars of Courage and 15 Medals of Bravery. The recipients will be invited to receive their decorations at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972 to recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or to protect the lives of others. The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril; the Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril; and the Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

A list of recipients and their citations, as well as a fact sheet on the Decorations for Bravery, are attached.



Miguel Gonzalez, S.C. Montréal, Que.
Luc Paquette, S.C. Montréal, Que.


Constable Nicholas Bell, M.B. Vancouver, B.C.
Constable Wayne Thompson, M.B. Vancouver, B.C.
John Peter Chatterton, M.B. Richmond, Ont.
Daisy Flamand, M.B. Manawan, Que.
Jared Douglas Gagen, M.B. Cobble Hill, B.C.
Warren Bruce Miller, M.B. Victoria, B.C.
Edward Stirling, M.B. Ladysmith, B.C.
Art Unruh, M.B. Abbotsford, B.C.
William Watt, M.B. Victoria, B.C.
Ernest Jean, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Marjorie Jean-Baptiste, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Thomas Manuel, M.B. Fort Good Hope, N.W.T.
Michaël Perreault Giroux, M.B. Rivière-Rouge, Que.
Philippe Tremblay, M.B. Bathurst, N.B.
Chad Verch, M.B. Victoria, B.C.



Miguel Gonzalez, S.C., Montréal, Quebec

Luc Paquette, S.C., Montréal, Quebec

Star of Courage

On October 28, 2008, Miguel Gonzalez and Luc Paquette jumped into the freezing waters of the St. Lawrence River, in Québec City, to rescue an injured co-worker from a possible drowning. The victim had been driving his forklift close to the edge of the wharf when it got stuck on a loose board and fell into the river between the dock and a large ship. Witnessing this, Mr. Gonzalez jumped into the water and held onto his unconscious colleague. Mr. Gonzalez rapidly began to feel the effects of hypothermia, but would not let go of the nearly drowned man. When alerted that the victim had stopped breathing, Mr. Paquette jumped in and managed to revive him. The two rescuers stayed in the polluted, frigid water for nearly 20 minutes until emergency crews pulled them to safety.


Constable Nicholas Bell, M.B., Vancouver, British Columbia

Constable Wayne Thompson, M.B., Vancouver, British Columbia

Medal of Bravery

On October 31, 2008, Vancouver Police constables Nick Bell and Wayne Thompson rescued two elderly people from a burning house, in Vancouver. The officers arrived at the scene to see the entire top floor ablaze. Through the open front door, the constables shouted out to the two residents, who were standing still, in utter shock. As debris fell around the victims, the fire started spreading and they were enveloped by thick smoke. Without any special equipment, the constables ran in and pulled the reluctant seniors to safety.

John Peter Chatterton, M.B., Richmond, Ontario

Medal of Bravery

On February 12, 2007, Lieutenant John Chatterton, an Ottawa firefighter, risked his life to ensure that his fellow firefighters escaped a burning three-story building. As they completed the search for possible victims, Lt. Chatterton and his two colleagues made their way back down from the third floor. They found their exit route blocked by thick black smoke and extreme heat, leaving them no choice but to return to the third floor to find an alternate escape route. Lt. Chatterton informed his crew that the only way out was to jump from the window. He lay on the floor and guided his crew to jump first, while the paint on his helmet blistered from the heat and his radio melted. Lt. Chatterton then jumped to the ground below. He suffered second degree burns and multiple fractures.

Daisy Flamand, M.B., Manawan, Quebec

Medal of Bravery

On August 20, 2008, Daisy Flamand rescued three people from a burning house, in Manawan, Quebec. Hearing the smoke alarm from her basement bedroom, Ms. Flamand ran upstairs to find the kitchen in flames. She alerted her grandmother and her 10-year-old niece, who were sleeping in a bedroom on the main floor. Ms. Flamand then ran to the basement and brought her baby outside to her niece. Although the house was filling up quickly with thick black smoke, making it difficult to breathe, Ms. Flamand re-entered the house and brought her grandmother to safety. The police prevented Ms. Flamand from entering the house again in an attempt to rescue two more family members who were trapped inside. Sadly, the two victims did not survive.

Jared Douglas Gagen, M.B., Cobble Hill, British Columbia

Warren Bruce Miller, M.B., Victoria, British Columbia

Edward Stirling, M.B., Ladysmith, British Columbia 

Art Unruh, M.B., Abbotsford, British Columbia

William Watt, M.B., Victoria, British Columbia

Medal of Bravery

On September 9, 2008, Jared Gagen, Bruce Miller, Edward Stirling, Art Unruh and William Watt came to the aid of a fellow fisherman, who was being attacked by a black bear, in Port Renfrew, British Columbia. The bear climbed onto the victim's boat at the dock and charged at him, biting him in the neck and shoulder area. Seeing the attack, Messrs. Miller and Gagen ran to help, hitting the bear with fishing gaffs, but were unsuccessful in getting it to release the wounded man. Messrs. Unruh, Watt and Stirling arrived with hammers and knives to stop the bear that thrashed at them without letting go of its victim. After they struck the bear many more times, the severely injured animal finally fell to the bottom of the boat. The victim was quickly rushed to hospital and survived the attack, thanks to the bravery and quick actions of his fellow fishermen.

Ernest Jean, M.B., Montréal, Quebec

Marjorie Jean-Baptiste, M.B., Montréal, Quebec

Medal of Bravery

On March 6, 2008, Marjorie Jean-Baptiste and Ernest Jean risked their lives to ensure that seven children escaped from a burning house, in Rivière-des-Prairies, Quebec. Ms. Jean-Baptiste and the children were sleeping in the second floor bedrooms, when she heard one of the children cry out. Thick black smoke was filling the hallway as she quickly pulled the children into her room. She broke the window, screamed to alert nearby residents, and then dropped the children, one-by-one, onto the snowbank below. Neighbours gathered the children and brought them warm blankets, while encouraging Ms. Jean-Baptiste to escape the intensifying flames. She refused to jump until all seven children were safely outside. Meanwhile, neighbour Ernest Jean entered the house to search through the burning main floor for any missing children, but was forced out due to the smoke. He rolled in the snow to wet his clothing, re-entered and searched quickly through the raging fire before going back outside.

Thomas Manuel, M.B., Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories

Medal of Bravery

On July 16, 2007, Thomas Manuel was severely injured while protecting his family from an intruder, in Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. The aggressor entered the home and started firing a rifle at members of the household, who then ran into the master bedroom. Mr. Manuel was shot in the neck and stomach when he tried to stop the invader. He quickly retreated to the bedroom, blocked the door with a large chest, and made a rope out of bedsheets and shirts to escape through a window. Once his wife and three grandchildren were safely on the ground, Mr. Manuel climbed down and ran to the side of the house to distract the attacker. The aggressor ran up to Mr. Manuel, shot him in the face, fled, and was later apprehended by the RCMP.

Michaël Perreault Giroux, M.B., Rivière-Rouge, Quebec

Medal of Bravery

On July 12, 2008, Michaël Perreault Giroux tried in vain to rescue his 16-year-old brother, who disappeared in the treacherous waters of the Rivière Rouge, in L'Annonciation, Quebec. The brothers had been playing with a boomerang in the river when the younger one became trapped in quicksand and sank deep below the water. Believing that his brother had been dragged out deep into the river, Mr. Perreault Giroux immediately swam out to reach him, but soon became caught in the dangerous current. For several minutes, he fought to keep from being pulled under while his lungs filled with water. Exhausted and nearly unconscious, Mr. Perreault Giroux was placed on an air mattress by a witness and was brought safely to shore. Others searched in vain for his brother who, sadly, did not survive.

Philippe Tremblay, M.B., Bathurst, New Brunswick

Medal of Bravery

On June 9, 2004, Philippe Tremblay, then 14 years old, rescued a friend who was injured when he fell from a cliff into the rapids below, at Tetagouche Falls, in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Philippe and his schoolmates had climbed to the top of the falls when one of the boys slipped, fell into a rocky basin below, and was pulled into the swift-moving waters. Suffering several injuries after the fall, the victim, unable to use his legs, tried desperately to swim. Without hesitation, Philippe jumped into the deep water to help his classmate, who had disappeared below the surface. Despite the strong undertow, he reached the panicked victim and pulled him up to a small platform area, where others cared for him until the paramedics arrived.

Chad Verch, M.B., Victoria, British Columbia 

Medal of Bravery

On November 12, 2008, Chad Verch rescued three people from a possible drowning, in Punta de Mita, Mexico. Mr. Verch had been surfing when someone on shore alerted him that a swimmer was in trouble. Upon reaching the area, he saw an elderly woman and an exhausted lifeguard, who was trying desperately to get her onto his surfboard. Struggling against the strong current and high waves, Mr. Verch towed the surfboard, with the woman and the lifeguard, hanging onto it, towards shore, where others took over and cared for them. Mr. Verch, this time accompanied by another hotel lifeguard, went back into the water to rescue two more tourists, who were caught in the heavy surf. Thanks to Mr. Verch's determination, all three victims survived.



The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972. They recognize people who risk their lives and choose to defy their own instinct of survival to try to save a loved one or a perfect stranger whose life is in immediate danger. 

The three levels of Decorations for Bravery reflect the degree to which the recipients put themselves at risk:

The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.

The Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.

The Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.


Anyone is free to propose the name of a person who has risked injury or death in an attempt to rescue another person. The incident need not have taken place in Canada, and the rescuer need not be Canadian, but Canadians or Canadian interests must be involved. The Decorations may be awarded posthumously.

Nominations must be made within two years of the incident, or within two years after a public entity, including a court, a quasi-judicial tribunal or a coroner, has concluded its review of the circumstances surrounding the incident or act of bravery.

For more information on the Decorations for Bravery and on the recipients of these awards, please visit

Contact Information