Teen who fell into Winnipeg river reunites with homeless rescuer

A homeless man and the teen he rescued from the Red River were reunited in Winnipeg on Friday afternoon.

A homeless man and the teen he rescued from the Red River were reunited in Winnipeg on Friday afternoon.

Joseph Mousseau, 19, had not seen Faron Hall, 44, since the two were lying on a riverbank, soaked from the water, trying to catch their breath and waiting for an ambulance.

That was Sunday, near the Provencher Bridge in Winnipeg's St. Boniface neighbourhood.

On Friday, the two embraced at a local hotel where Hall was staying. The room was paid for by the Southern Chiefs Organization, an advocacy group for First Nations people, as a thank-you for Hall's heroism.

"How are you?" Mousseau asked as he met Hall again.

"How are you?" Hall asked in return, giving the teen a pat on the shoulder. "I'm happy to see you're doing good."

Other than some bumps and bruises, and the emerging signs of colds, neither Mousseau nor Hall suffered greatly from the ordeal.

Dodged traffic and jumped railings

According to witnesses, Mousseau and a group of other youths were running across the bridge, dodging traffic and hopping over the railings between the eastbound and westbound lanes.

Mousseau then attempted to leap across a gap between the traffic lanes and the adjacent pedestrian bridge. As he fell, his back and an ankle struck a concrete support beam, prompting Mousseau to scream out as he plunged into the water.

The noise caught the attention of Hall, who was sitting on the riverbank with his friend, Wayne Spence. Hall jumped into the cold water, swimming on an angle against the current. He calmed the panicked boy and pulled him back to shore, where Spence helped them out.

Hall received national media attention this week for his bravery, including a standing ovation in the Manitoba legislature and the Mayor's Medal of Valour.

Spare some advice

Prior to the incident, Hall had asked Mousseau to spare some change. Mousseau didn't have any and walked away.

On Friday, it was Hall doling out to Mousseau — with advice about life.

"Stay in school. Don't become homeless," Hall told the teen, who has attended several schools and lived with several different relatives and a foster family.

Hall has said his life took a swift downturn a few years ago after his mother was killed. Alcohol got the best of him, he said.

Before that, he went to high school, worked as a teacher's aide and was studying at university to become a teacher.

Mousseau said he would do his best and thanked Hall for everything he has done. A few more hugs and the two went their separate ways again.