Paramedics honoured for heroics during La Loche school shooting

Two first-responders from the Keewatin Yatthe Regional Health Authority, Kalvin Jones and Darryl Morin, were the proud recipients of the Lieutenant Governor’s Bravery Awards in a ceremony held in Regina on Monday.

Kalvin Jones and Darryl Morin ran inside the school while shooter was on the loose

Children take part in the Reclaiming Our School walk in La Loche, Sask. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

The two paramedics who rushed inside the Dene High School in La Loche, Sask., during a school shooting this winter received an award for their bravery. 

Kalvin Jones and Darryl Morin from the Keewatin Yatthe Regional Health Authority were the recipients of the Lieutenant Governor's Bravery Awards at a ceremony held in Regina on Monday. 

"I was thinking this guy could come out from anywhere, but they were still searching for him," Jones recalled. 

Eyes across Canada honed in on the small northern community of La Loche after the Jan. 22 shooting in a home and at the high school that left four people dead and seven wounded. A 17-year-old male suspect has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. He cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The two were the first on scene and they alerted Saskatchewan Air Ambulance and STARS Air Ambulance to the potential of casualties. They also entered the school and managed to extricate several injured people from the school.

Jones, 33, told reporters he had to cut his lunch break short to respond to the call and he still has nightmares about the January call, remembering the fear he felt as he walked into the chaotic scene. 

Since the La Loche school shooting Kalvin Jones has moved to La Ronge, Sask., to attend school, upgrading his education to become a primary care paramedic. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)

"During that time I had a little bit of a scare when a student opened a door nearby while I was performing CPR. I still have dreams about it every now and then but it's getting better."

Since the incident, Jones said he moved to La Ronge, Sask., to attend Northlands College to upgrade his education to a primary care paramedic.

Looking back on the day that changed everything, Morin, 35, said in his 16 years as a paramedic in northern Saskatchewan, he has never had a call like the one that cold day in January. 

"I'm trying to help myself get past this call, I'm never going to forget it but I'm trying to deal with it," Morin said, adding he was already fatigued from being on shift for 24 hours after a long night before.

"We were busy the night before but we respond. That's small-town EMS."

Darryl Morin has been off work since the school shooting in La Loche earlier this year. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)

Since the call, Morin has been off work but he's expecting to get back to work soon covering shifts in Île-à-la-Crosse.

When asked how they feel after accepting the bravery award, both said the medal should go far beyond just them.

"It's not only my award, it's my colleague, everyone who responded that day. It goes down from the RCMP, doctors nurses and other first responders," Morin said.