Beyond the Headlines

All in a days work

Posted: Mar 27, 2012 5:21 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 27, 2012 5:21 PM ET
So, how was your day at work?

If you're like most of us, it was probably fairly routine. You probably got some work done, checked your Facebook site, had lunch, grumbled about your boss, answered a few emails, and went home.
 
Compare that to the shift of the search and rescue team based at CFB Greenwood.

When they reported for work Monday evening they thought they were going to have a routine evening of training. They couldn't have been more wrong. By the end of their shift, they had executed two dramatic and successful rescue operations, saving the lives of seven people.
 
The first call came around 9:30.

A small, open boat, with five men on board was sinking on Great Pubnico Lake. By the time their Cormorant helicopter arrived on scene, four of the men had been in the icy waters for almost 45 minutes.
 
Cory Belliveau was one of the men in the water. He has nothing but praise for the crew that saved his life.

"They were excellent, they did a superb job," says Belliveau. "There were five of us and I think it was around eight minutes before they had everyone in the helicopter and on the way to the hospital."
 
Belliveau and his buddies were treated for minor hypothermia and by early Tuesday morning they were all back with their families, warm and safe.
 
But the crew that rescued them were right back out risking their lives in the rough seas off Cape Sable Island. 

In the pitch black, with winds gusting to 70 km/h and waves 10 metres high the SAR technicians lowered themselves on board a stricken yacht, and hoisted three injured and hypothermic men into the helicopter. Unfortunately, one of the three died on route to the hospital in Yarmouth.
 
Just read this quote from Sgt. Norm Penny, the technician lowered to the deck of the boat: "We were dealing with 45 knot winds, sea states that are almost three storeys high, smashing into a vessel that has no power in the middle of the night and snow squalls hitting you."
 
And remember: Penny and the rest of the six person crew did all this voluntarily, without question, all to save the lives of people they have never met.
 
Hero is a word that is over-used these days. We use it for sports figures, or celebrities who back worthwhile causes.
 
It's a word I try to avoid in my copy. But not today.
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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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