Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

February 02, 2011 12:29 ET

Media Advisory: Governor General to Present 13 Decorations for Bravery at the Citadelle of Quebec

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 2, 2011) - His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present two Stars of Courage and 11 Medals of Bravery at a ceremony at the Residence of the Governor General at the Citadelle of Québec, on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.

The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972, to recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or 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 media schedule for the presentation ceremony, a list of recipients and their citations, and a fact sheet on the Decorations for Bravery are enclosed.

Media covering the ceremony must contact the Rideau Hall Press Office the day before the event. They will have to show their accreditation at the Citadelle gate, and access the Ballroom through the administration door.

CEREMONY SCHEDULE 
 
Members of the media are asked to observe the following schedule: 
 
12:45 p.m.: Media arrive at the Citadelle
1:30 p.m.: Ceremony begins
  The Governor General speaks
  The Governor General presents the Decorations for Bravery
2:15 p.m.: Ceremony ends
2:30 p.m.: Media interviews with recipients
 
 
STAR OF COURAGE
 
RECIPIENTS
Miguel Gonzalez, S.C. Montréal, Que.
Luc Paquette, S.C. Montréal, Que.
 
            MEDAL OF BRAVERY
 
Constable Robert Bérubé, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Constable Benoit Brissette, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Sergeant Steve Desgagné, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Marie-Claude Élie, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Daisy Flamand, M.B. Manawan, Que.
Isabelle Gagnon, M.B. Saint-Hubert, Que.
Ernest Jean, M.B. Montréal, Que.
Marjorie Jean-Baptiste, M.B. Joliette, Que.
Yvon Lévesque, M.B. Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que.
Pascale Pelletier, M.B. Mercier, Que.
Constable Jean-François Rousselle, M.B. Montréal, Que.
 
 
CITATIONS 
 
STAR OF COURAGE 
 
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.

MEDAL OF BRAVERY 
 
Constable Robert Bérubé, M.B., Montréal, Quebec 
 Constable Benoit Brissette, M.B., Montréal, Quebec
 Medal of Bravery

On December 18, 2008, City of Montréal police constables Robert Bérubé and Benoit Brissette rescued a number of residents from a burning building. The constables had been patrolling the area when they heard an explosion and saw the stone facade of a hree-storey building collapse onto the street. The first floor was completely engulfed and the flames were spreading quickly to the apartments above. Without hesitation, the constables ran in as the thick, dark smoke filled the hallway, making it difficult to see and breathe. After evacuating several occupants from the first and second floor apartments, the constables donned gas masks and continued to evacuate all the tenants on the top floor. All residents were eventually brought to safety.

Sergeant Steve Desgagné, M.B., Montréal, Quebec 
 Medal of Bravery

On August 16, 2008, Sergeant Steve Desgagné, an off-duty member of the Canadian Forces, prevented a man from committing an armed robbery and possibly harming a store clerk, at a convenience store in Montréal. The man had approached the clerk, held up a knife, and told him that this was a holdup. When Sergeant Desgagné noticed the robbery in progress, he put his hand in his pocket and pretended that he had a gun. Approaching the individual, Sergeant Desgagné ordered him to put down his knife. The robber dropped his weapon and started to flee. Sergeant Desgagné ran after the man, not knowing if he carried another weapon. After a brief struggle, the robber was subdued and held until the police arrived.

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. 

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.

Isabelle Gagnon, M.B., Saint-Hubert, Quebec 
 Medal of Bravery

On July 10, 2009, Isabelle Gagnon risked her life to rescue her husband near Saint-Francois-du-Lac, Quebec. Ms. Gagnon, her six-year-old son, and her husband were playing in the water when her husband suddenly called out for help. She swam out to him and tried in vain numerous times to grab the much stronger and bigger victim, but he was too frantic. In his panic, the victim grabbed onto the young boy, who was wearing a personal flotation device. Conscious of the danger to the boy's life, Ms. Gagnon pulled her husband away and pushed her son towards the shore. Exhausted, she again tried to help her husband, who unfortunately did not survive.

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

Yvon Lévesque, M.B., Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, 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.

Pascale Pelletier, M.B., Mercier, Quebec 
 Medal of Bravery

On August 30, 2008, Pascale Pelletier rescued a man from a burning house, in Mercier, Quebec. The victim had been trying to put out a kitchen fire and rescue his pets, but soon became disoriented in the smoke-filled house. His neighbour, Pascale Pelletier, who was outside attempting to douse the flames with water from a garden hose, made a decision to go inside to rescue the victim. She wet a sweater, put it around her face and ran towards the burning kitchen. She had great difficulty breathing as she went up the stairs through the dark and thick smoke. She eventually located the severely burned victim and pulled him to safety.

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

Contact Information

  • Ottawa and City of Quebec:
    Marie-Pierre Belanger
    Rideau Hall Press Office
    613-998-9166 (office)
    613-852-3248 (cellular)
    marie-pierre.belanger@gg.ca
    or
    City of Quebec:
    Joanne Charette
    Communications Advisor and
    Official Spokesperson to the Governor General
    613-852-5364 (cellular)
    joanne.charette@gg.ca