Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

January 18, 2011 10:20 ET

Governor General Announces the Awarding of Eight Decorations for Bravery

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 18, 2011) - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, announced today the awarding of eight 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.

RECIPIENTS

MEDAL OF BRAVERY

Clermont Bélanger, M.B. Pointe-à-la-Frégate, Que.
Jean-Louis Clavet, M.B. Cloridorme, Que.
Marie-Claude Élie, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Serge Fournier, M.B. Cloridorme, Que.
Robert Francoeur, M.B. Pointe-à-la-Frégate, Que.
Yvon Lévesque, M.B. Hinchinbrooke, Que.
Yvan Pruneau, M.B. Cloridorme, Que.
Constable Jean-François Rousselle, M.B. Montréal, Que.

CITATIONS

MEDAL OF BRAVERY

Clermont Bélanger, M.B., Pointe-à-la-Frégate, Quebec
Jean-Louis Clavet, M.B., Cloridorme, Quebec
Serge Fournier, M.B., Cloridorme, Quebec
Robert Francoeur, M.B., Pointe-à-la-Frégate, Quebec
Yvan Pruneau, M.B., Cloridorme, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On October 3, 2008, Messrs. Clermont Bélanger, Jean-Louis Clavet, Serge Fournier, Robert Francoeur and Yvan Pruneau rescued a man who was trapped under a collapsed house, in Pointe-à-la-Frégate, Quebec. Mr. Bélanger and his brother, along with Mr. Francoeur, had raised a house to pour concrete in order to build a basement. Suddenly, one end of the house slid to the ground, trapping Mr. Bélanger's brother beneath debris and a heavy metal beam. Immediately, Mr. Bélanger used a mechanical shovel to lift the other end of the house to ensure that it did not collapse and then assisted the victim. Although injured, Mr. Francoeur quickly set up several wooden towers around the victim to protect him until they could extract him from this dangerous area. Messrs. Clavet, Fournier and Pruneau dug out the debris from around the victim. They had to work quickly and carefully as the towers were groaning under the weight of the house. They were able to slide a backboard under the victim and bring him to an awaiting ambulance. Although the victim suffered damages to his spine, he survived, thanks to the brave men who risked their lives to come to his aid.

Marie-Claude Élie, M.B., Montréal, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On November 8, 2008, Marie-Claude Élie risked her life to bring medical assistance to dozens of people trapped beneath the ruins of a schoolhouse, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Ms. Élie, who was serving in Haiti as a nurse with the Canadian Red Cross, heard sirens from her hotel room and ran to investigate. A three-storey primary school, housing over 200 children, had collapsed and sent a cloud of smoke and dust over the area. Accompanied by some of her colleagues, Ms. Élie reached the school and found that many children and adults were buried under the rubble, crying for help. Amid the general panic, Ms. Élie remained under the unstable structure for over four hours, helping doctors tend to the injured. Debris and rocks kept falling around them as emergency crews tried to locate and assist those trapped in the upper levels of rubble, while Ms. Élie devised a system of tubes to provide water to the people trapped under the wreckage. Due to her courage and determination that day, the lives of many Haitians were saved. 

Yvon Lévesque, M.B., Hinchinbrooke, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On December 20, 2008, Yvon Lévesque rescued a friend who had fallen through the ice, in Hinchinbrooke, Quebec. While out on their all-terrain vehicles, Mr. Lévesque's friend decided to check if the ice was safe for crossing. Unfortunately, the ice gave way under him and the man found himself in the water. Mr. Lévesque ran to help his panicked friend, whose snowsuit was quickly absorbing water and weighing him down. As he approached, Mr. Lévesque also fell into the water, but was able to grab onto a nearby branch and, with great difficulty, pulled himself out. Crawling on his stomach, he then grabbed his friend and dragged him up onto thicker ice.

Constable Jean-François Rousselle, M.B., Montréal, Quebec
Medal of Bravery

On the night of September 3, 2008, Constable Jean-François Rousselle, of the City of Montréal Police, rescued a suicidal woman from a submerged vehicle, in Laval, Quebec. A witness had called 911 to report that a woman had driven her car into the Rivière-des-Prairies. Although visibility was minimal at the scene, Constable Rousselle could see air bubbles in the water approximately 25 metres from shore. He climbed down the boat ramp and swam out towards the bubbling water. As he approached, the victim came up to the surface, disoriented and panicked by the cold water and darkness. Once Constable Rousselle was assured that no one else was inside the vehicle, he calmed the distraught victim down. With great difficulty, he then fought against the strong current to bring her to shore, where the other officers helped care for the woman.

FACT SHEET ON THE DECORATIONS FOR BRAVERY

BACKGROUND

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 the 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.

ELIGIBILITY AND NOMINATION

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 www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=73.

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