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Daniel Morrison, bear attack rescuer, receives Star of Courage

A Thunder Bay man received a high honour today from Canada’s Governor General.
In 2011, Daniel Morrison rescued co-worker Laura Darby from a black bear in Northern Ontario. Today he received an award for bravery from the Governor General. 2:44

A Thunder Bay man received a high honour today from Canada’s Governor General.

Daniel Morrison was presented with the Star of Courage at a ceremony in Ottawa for his rescue of a co-worker when she was attacked by a bear north of Thunder Bay.

Laura Darby was critically injured in the attack off the Armstrong highway, which happened about 100 km north of Thunder Bay, on Oct. 4, 2011, near Wabikon Lake.

She came to Rideau Hall for the award presentation, and recalled the day a bear almost took her life.

Governor General David Johnston presents the Star of Courage to Daniel Morrison of Thunder Bay, Ont., during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday, April 24. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“Probably over about 2 or 3 minutes it proceeded to kind of confront me, and then eventually charged me,” she said.

“And then, on the third charge, it knocked me down. At that stage it proceeded to maul me for what we figure to be about 10 minutes, before Dan was able to get on scene.”

Darby said she has “severe scarring down both my upper arms, across my back, and my right leg was severely lacerated as well. I was pretty close to being overwhelmed with pain and was immobile. I would not be here if it wasn't for him."

Morrison said he went after the bear with "a lot of anger,” stabbing it repeatedly with a knife until it finally stopped the attack.

In an interview Thursday with CBC News, he credited Darby with bravery for coping despite the severity of her injuries.

"This is all about bravery and courage, and Laura is one of the bravest people I know,” Morrison said.

“She just kept herself really calm and, if she wasn't that type of person and had that strength, it would be very different for everybody involved.”

Morrison said he's learned to accept the attention his actions have brought him and Darby, because it might show people what anyone can do to help a fellow citizen in trouble.

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