Formerly homeless hero honoured

Faron Hall, once lovingly dubbed Winnipeg's "homeless hero," was honoured three times on Wednesday for his bravery and selflessness.

Says rescue of boy was turning point in his life

Faron Hall was honored Wednesday by the Royal Lifesaving Society for saving two people from drowning. He used the occasion to donate $1,000 to the Main Street Project (CBC)
He selflessly rescued two people from drowning on separate occasions this summer.

And on Wednesday, Faron Hall, once lovingly dubbed Winnipeg's "homeless hero," was honoured three times for his bravery.

Hall was awarded two commendations from Manitoba's chapter of the Royal Lifesaving Society in a ceremony at Winnipeg’s Main Street Project homeless shelter. At the same time, a Taiwan-based humanitarian organization gave Hall an award for heroism, and sent a TV crew to capture the moment.

Hall made national headlines in May after he saved Joseph Mousseau, 19, from drowning in the icy Red River. Despite the fast-moving spring current, Hall swam out to him and pulled the teen to safety.

Then in September, he rescued his friend, Tara Beardy, from the same river as they sat near the Norwood Bridge.

At the time of the first rescue, Hall had been homeless for years, often staying on the banks of the river and drinking heavily. Saving the boy's life was a personal turning point, he told CBC News on Wednesday.

"From what I can remember, I didn’t know [I] was so in turmoil," he said on Wednesday. "I always knew back — even years back — that I'd wake up one morning and say, 'I can't live like this.'"

He said he realized he could die if he kept living the way he was: "I lost a lot of friends going down the road I was on."

On Thursday, Hall is set to graduate from a five-week addictions program.

Hall 'good to the core'

Hall and friend Marion Willis examine his award from a Taiwanese humanitarian organization. ((CBC))
Shortly after the May rescue, Hall moved into an apartment with the help of Marion Willis, who witnessed the night's events and kept in touch with him afterwards.

Willis said she's "incredibly proud" of his evolving achievements.

"You get glimpses of who Faron Hall really is and actually see him emerge," Willis said. "It's an incredible experience … he's good to the core."

Being back at the Main Street Project afforded Hall the opportunity to donate $1,000 back to the shelter. The money comes from a national fund for the homeless set up in Hall's name.

The fund is now worth $20,000.