Nova Scotia

3 Nova Scotians awarded medals of bravery

A woman who died rescuing children, a flight attendant who disarmed a hijacker and an octogenarian who rescued a neighbour from a burning house are the latest Nova Scotians to win provincial medals of bravery.

Award given to people who have risked their lives protecting the life or property of others

Karl Curtis, Nicole Foran and Jerry Spargo, left to right, display the Medal of Bravery at Province House in Halifax. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Three Nova Scotians were awarded a Medal of Bravery at a ceremony held Wednesday at Province House.

The award is given annually to people who risked their lives protecting the life or property of others.

The recipients this year are Michelle Curtis, Nicole Foran, and Jerry Spargo.

Curtis saved three children pulled out to sea at MacLeod's Beach in Inverness in August last year. Once she was back on shore, she collapsed and died. Her husband, Karl, accepted the medal on her behalf.

Foran was a flight attendant who managed to both free passengers and disarm a gunman who hijacked a plane that had just landed in Jamaica in 2009.

Quick-thinking hero

Spargo, 84, rescued a neighbour from a house fire in January. He was about to go outside to shovel his driveway when he noticed smoke and flame coming from the living room across the street. He yelled to his wife to call the fire department and walked over.

"She left the front door unlocked because she was expecting a caretaker," said Spargo. "She was lying flat on the floor, she couldn't even crawl. She had inhaled a lot of smoke … so I remember thinking at the time, 'Am I dreaming this or is this actually happening?'"

Spargo said his neighbour can't walk. He grabbed her wrist and dragged her backwards out the front door. He estimated it took him between five and 10 minutes to get to safety.

"I was in the right place at the right time and I knew what to do and I knew I had to do it in a hurry," he said.

Spargo said he is still getting used to the hero label.

"I usually keep a pretty low profile so I'm not used to that," he said.

With files from Amy Smith

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