Heroes honoured for saving lives, awarded certificates of bravery in Regina

More than a dozen Canadian residents have been recognized for life-saving acts of bravery.

16 people recognized for heroics such as pulling people from burning homes

Clark Whitecalf was given a one-of-a-kind Queen’s Certificate for Bravery after rescuing a 18-year-old woman from her home at Sweetgrass First Nation, Sask. which was on fire in 2015. (CBC News)

Sixteen Canadians were recognized on Oct. 10 for life-saving acts of bravery; called heroes by some — they received certificates and medals of bravery at Government House in Regina.

Clark Whitecalf

Clark Whitecalf was given a one-of-a-kind Queen's Certificate for Bravery after rescuing an 18-year-old woman from her home on the Sweetgrass First Nation, Sask. which caught fire in 2015.

Whitecalf saw smoke and said he knew someone was home because there was a truck was parked in front of the home.

I'd probably do it again if I came across a burning house again.- Clark Whitecalf

"When I heard [a woman] crying in there, that's when I thought 'I have to do something,'" he said. "I'd probably do it again if I came across a burning house again."

He said he entered the building three times before he was able to pull the woman out. While Whitecalf said he normally doesn't like attention, he is taking it as it comes. He said saving someone's life has changed his own.

"It's humbling. I don't take life for granted," he said.

Whitecalf suffered severe smoke inhalation after the rescue and was treated at the local hospital.

He was awarded the Royal Canadian Humane Association Silver Medal for Bravery in 2016 and was voted the most outstanding rescue in Canada for that year.

This led to his nomination for the Gold Stanhope Medal, which is only issued once per year for the entire Commonwealth.

During the review of nominations, Princess Alexandra, under patronage of The Queen, ordered a special framed certificate be created and presented to Whitecalf.
Whitecalf is credited with saving an 18-year-old woman from a burning building in 2015. 3:53

Clayton Boucher  

On June 8, Clayton Boucher was driving home in North Battleford when he noticed thick black smoke rising from a residential area about a block away.

Boucher noticed one home's roof was ablaze -- so he sprung into action and began pounding on the door of the home, alerting its residents. 

He opened the door and warned the woman inside, who didn't know that her house and the neighbouring home were burning. Boucher received an Honorary Testimonial Certificate.

Samer Hermez

Samer Hermez was driving to work in Saskatoon on April 7 at about 3:30 a.m. CST when he noticed an orange glow coming from a neighbourhood not too far from his home.

He jumped over a large fence that separated the roadway from the residential area. He realized the home on fire was empty, but the flames were approaching another home close by.

He pounded on the door for several minutes until one of the residents heard him, and three people fled the burning house. Hermez received an Honorary Testimonial Certificate.

Ami Klinger and Colson Klinger

On August 27, 11-year-old Colson Klinger was in the upstairs bedroom of his Saskatoon home when he spotted a fire on the deck of a house across the alley. He ran downstairs and told his father and 14-year-old sister Ami.  

Their father called 911 and the children ran over to the house, where the had spread to the side of the residence.  

They knocked on the door until a man came running out. Two more people eventually exited the house.

Ami and Colson were both given Honorary Testimonial Certificates

Timothy Sartison

On January 14, Timothy Sartison and his family were at a hockey tournament in Melfort. There was a pool party held for the team that night at the motel, with no lifeguard on duty.

Sartison noticed that a young girl, maybe aged five or six, was struggling in the water and had suddenly became limp.

He jumped into the pool fully clothed and pulled her out of the water, which was well above the girl's head. Sartison received an Honorary Testimonial Certificate.

Mitch Bourbonniere and Steven Gagnon

On December 4, 2016, Mitch Bourbonniere, a university instructor from Winnipeg and mentor to many young Indigenous men, was counseling Steven Gagnon when he received a call about a suicidal young woman.

The pair hopped into Bourbonniere's car and on the way received a second call that the woman had jumped off the Midtown Bridge into the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg. When they arrived, the woman was floating face up in the water, about 50 feet out in the icy river, and was being carried downstream.

Bourbonniere grabbed one end of a rope supplied by a bystander and swam out in the freezing water while Gagnon held the other end. When he reached the end of the 30-foot rope he called to the woman several times before she finally headed toward him. He grabbed her collar while his other hand held tightly on the rope.

Gagnon and some people on shore pulled them to safety. Bourbonniere was given a Bronze Medal for Bravery and Gagnon an Honorary Testimonial Certificate.

Const. Landon Bueckert and Const. Tayte Hale-Goddard

On March 1, Const. Landon Bueckert and Const. Tayte Hale-Goddard were working a night shift at the Loon Lake RCMP detachment when they responded to a call about an assault at a residence on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation.

The house was on fire when they got there and, through the smoke, Hale-Goddard noticed a person standing inside the house.

He helped the woman to safety and returned to the burning building where Buekert had found an intoxicated male on a couch. They carried him out of the house.

The two searched for other people and exited the house as it was engulfed in flames. That's when they realized the man had re-entered.

Bueckert lifted Hale-Goddard up to the window and he managed to grab the man and pull him out. He was transported to Meadow Lake Hospital and constables were treated for smoke inhalation.They both received Bronze Medals for Bravery.

Const. Elliot Chubak

Constable Elliot Chubak responded to a call regarding a suicidal female on June 3. He found her at a local pond north of Outlook in distress and unresponsive to calls to come to shore.

Chubak entered the water and swam about 20 feet to the victim who was face down in the water.

Chubak was able to grab hold of her and pull her to shore and she was transported to hospital for treatment. He received a Bronze Medal for Bravery.

Randy Kluz

Randy Kluz was walking along the Bow River in Calgary on July 24 when he heard a piercing scream. He saw a baby stroller, carrying a 14-month-old girl, go off the edge of the embankment into the Bow River.

He quickly climbed down the rocks and jumped into waist deep and swift-flowing river. The stroller had submerged, on its side, and was floating downstream.

He lifted the baby and the stroller out of the river and the baby took a gulp of air and started crying. Paramedics checked her over and she was in good condition. Kluz received a Bronze Medal for Bravery.

Raquel Schreiner, Rita McCaw and Ronald McCaw

A man and his girlfriend were kayaking at Sandy Beach last fall when they both flipped their kayaks with no life jackets. Raquel Schreiner grabbed her kayak and life jackets and paddled out to them. She pulled the unresponsive woman onto her kayak and started paddling to shore.

Rita and Ronald McCaw were on the lake in their canoe and Schreiner transferred to them before paddling back to the man, who grabbed onto the side of her kayak.

The couple came back after they brought the woman to shore and got the man. Schreiner followed them to shore and jumped in the water to pull the man out.

Both victims were transported to hospital in Lloydminster. Schreiner received a Bronze Medal for Bravery and the coupled each earned an Honorary Testimonial Certificate.

Kyle Stratton

Kyle Stratton, a security officer with the Saskatoon Health Region, entered the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon to rescue a suicidal female on Nov. 10, 2016.  

When Kyle reached her, in the cold, chest-deep water, he managed to grab her and pull her to shore where a fellow worker helped him bring her up the embankment. She was taken to hospital by EMS.

Stratton received a Bronze Medal for Bravery.

With files from CBC's Jill Morgan