By Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News October 23, 2010
A B.C. man who fought off a cougar as it attacked a child is one of the everyday Canadians who was recognized Friday for their selfless heroics.
Gov.-Gen. David Johnston awarded three Stars of Courage and 50 Medals of Bravery during a ceremony at Rideau Hall.
The first award recognizes acts of courage in the face of “great peril,” while the latter honours heroic acts undertaken in “hazardous circumstances.”
“Behind every one of these beautiful medals is an amazing story. A story of a life saved, a family preserved, a community strengthened,” Johnston said.
“Despite the difficulties and dangers, you set aside concern for yourself and looked to be of service to others. It is an example that inspires and challenges us all.”
Among the Medal of Bravery recipients was Marc Patterson of Kamloops, who wrestled a cougar after it attacked a 12-year-old boy during a camping trip.
Colton Reeb was walking to an outhouse at a private campground in August 2007 when a male cougar jumped him from behind. Hearing Reeb’s screams, property owner Patterson ran outside and kicked the cougar repeatedly in the head. As Colton ran and the cougar fled, Patterson yelled and waved his arms, giving the family and the injured boy a chance to reach their truck, RCMP said.
Another recipient was Andrea Wiznuk, a Nanaimo woman who received a Medal of Bravery for saving a woman trapped inside a burning vehicle four years ago.
“It’s just a major adrenalin rush when it happens,” she said after accepting the prize. “Then you think about it for months and months after.”
Wiznuk said the woman was a mother about the same age as herself.
“I would hope somebody would do the same for me if it was me,” she said.
Hady Quan of Vancouver received a Medal of Bravery posthumously.
Quan died while trying to save a man struggling in the ocean off Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The victim could not be revived once ashore and Quan was carried away by the current and drowned.
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