“We ask ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They meet this challenge every day. Their dedication to duty is second to none,” says OPP Commissioner
Brave men and women who protect our community received one of the police’s highest honors on Thursday.
“This is an opportunity for us to recognize our members as well as members of the community who have saved the lives of people or who have done their best to save the life of someone in need,” said the OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique at the Central Region Awards at Hawk Ridge. Golf Club in Severn Township.
The purpose of the event is to show OPP members that their acts of selfless heroism are appreciated, Carrique said.
“We ask ordinary people to do extraordinary things,” he said. “They take on this challenge every day. Their devotion to duty is unmatched.
Among the many winners from the Central Region were Det. const. Benjamin Fontaine of Huronia West Detachment and Nikolas Walmsley of Orillia OPP who received the Commissioner’s Commendation Letter and St. John Ambulance Award for saving the life of a man who nearly died of an overdose drug.
“We were sent to a suspicious person call at the time,” Fontaine explained. “I remember there was a man lying in the ditch by the side of the road.”
When Fontaine arrived on the scene, he ran towards the man, who was unresponsive. His lips were blue and he was wearing a device used to smoke drugs.
“I knew immediately it was a suspected drug overdose,” he said. “At that time I administered Narcan and started CPR.”
Walmsley then arrived on the scene and took the advice of a paramedic to administer two more doses of Narcan.
“He came over and started responding,” Walmsley said. “Paramedics arrived shortly after and took him to hospital for further treatment.”
The quick and vital work of the two officers saved the man’s life.
“That’s why we joined this job,” Walmsley said. “Our number one priority is the protection of life and physical integrity.”
“Even saving a life is a career,” Fontaine said. “It’s fantastic and I’m sure the family of the gentleman we rescued is grateful.”
Det. const. Jay Pilon of the Orillia Community Street Crime Unit and Const. Kristine Stanway of Orillia OPP also received the Commissioner’s Letter of Commendation and the St. John Ambulance Award at Thursday’s ceremony.
“We responded to a motor vehicle collision and the highway was closed because of it,” Pilon explained. “We had tow operators on site to move some of the vehicles and during that time one of the tow operators actually suffered a massive heart attack.”
Due to the highway closure, paramedics were slow to get to the stricken tow truck operator, leaving Pilon and Stanway no choice but to act quickly.
“We did CPR for at least half an hour on the side of the highway,” Pilon said. “We tried very hard, but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough,” Stanway added.
Both officers knew the man quite well as he had been on numerous other calls. It’s incidents like this that make the job difficult, she said.
“As change, we always talk about the things we’re going through,” Pilon said. “We have this open dialogue and leaning on our spouses in these times.”
Although they failed in their efforts to revive the man, Pilon and Stanway will be ready for the next time their efforts are needed.
“We have a narrow view of what our duty really is,” Stanway said. “We know we have to do it, and everything is falling into place.”
Here’s a full list of those recognized at Thursday’s event:
Recipients of the Commissioner’s Letter of Commendation and St. John Ambulance Award:
- Det. const. Benjamin Fontaine, West Huronia
- const. Nikolas Walmsley, Orillia
- sergeant. Matthew Caissie, Northumberland
- const. Ryan Drazilov, Quinte West
- const. Keith Lindley, Northumberland
- const. Billy John Cooper, Northumberland
- const. Shelby Russell, Orillia
- const. Ryan Jannaway, Dufferin
- const. Erik Carter, West Huronia
- const. Craig Dewell, West Huronia
- const. Zach Buchan, Bracebridge
- Det. const. Jay Pilon, Orillia Community Street Crime Unit
- const. Kristine Stanway, Orillia
Commissioner’s Quote for Lifesaving Award Recipients:
- Mr. Alan Fawn Sr.
- Mr. Alan Fawn Jr.
- Mrs. Enid Wray
- Mrs Kristina Kostuk
- Ms Alicia Smith
Commissioner’s Citation for Selfless Actions
- Mr. Ryan Thomas
- Mr John Thomson