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Humane association honours 15 individuals for their bravery

15 individuals were recognized Friday for heroism and quick thinking.
Lt.-Gov. Russell Mirasty, left, joins this year's recipients of the Royal Canadian Humane Association Bravery Awards after the ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14, at TCU Place in Saskatoon.

SASKATOON — Fifteen individuals were presented with various citations and commendations by the Royal Canadian Humane Association of Saskatchewan Bravery Awards for their exemplary acts in helping strangers who were facing adversity.

The ceremony was held on Friday, Oct. 14, at TCU Place where family members and friends of the 15 recipients were present to join them in celebrating their heroic feats.

Lt. Gov. Russell Mirasty, being a patron of the association, handed out the awards to the 15 individuals. Eight of the 15 were civilians, five were from Saskatoon and seven were members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The father and son duo of Mitch and Jaxon Hozack, and Brad Pilon from Saskatoon led the eight civilians and they were joined by Harpinder Singh “Sunny” Bajwa, Bikramjit “Bill” Singh (Regina), Misty Brown North Battleford and Brian Gibson and Harvey Weber (Saskatoon).

Sgt. William Picard (North Battleford) led the RCMP officers and he was joined by Constables Josh Trefry (North Battleford), Alyssa Ogieglo (Rosthern), Marc-Andre Theriault (Rosthern), Tanner Maynard (Nipawin) and Jordan MacKenzie (Saulteaux Fist Nation). Constable Japheth Walters (Battleford) was not present to receive his award.

The Hozacks and Weber received Honorary Testimonial certificates while Gibson and Pilon were each given the Silver and Bronze medals for Bravery. Bajwa was awarded the Silver Medal for Bravery while Singh and Brown accepted Honorary Testimonial certificates.

MacKenzie was the recipient of the Silver Medal for Bravery while Picard, Ogieglo, Theriault, Walters and Maynard were given the bronze medals. Trefry was awarded an Honorary Testimonial Certificate.

The RCHAB of Saskatchewan recognized the 15 individuals for their heroism and quick thinking in helping those who are in need and facing danger to the extent of sacrificing their safety.

Mirasty said it was a privilege being Saskatchewan’s patron for RCHAB, an organization established by Queen Victoria in 1894, and he commends the association for 128 years of promoting the heroic efforts of individuals.

“I’m grateful to the association for recognizing the extraordinary bravery of ordinary Canadians. I wish to extend my thanks in particular to national president Rob Campbell for his leadership and Tim Popp for his excellent work as Saskatchewan’s provincial director,” said Mirasty.

“Thank you both for making our province and country in paying tribute to those who have displayed uncommon courage in some very harrowing situations. I congratulate every one of you for being recipients of today’s awards.”

He added that he has experienced numerous situations similar to what they have in his 36 years of service with the RCMP and saw ordinary people respond to help those who are in need in many different ways.

“Today’s award recipients were like those that have been honoured over the decades that displayed extraordinary bravery and passion. Coming to aid those in dire need and saving the lives of others are often total strangers who have become excellent role models,” said Mirasty. "Role models of what it means to be a caring and contributing citizen. Each recipient here today saw the need and took immediate action. I want to express my appreciation for your willingness to help others.

The Testimonials


Harpinder Singh “Sunny” Bajwa – Silver Medal for Bravery

Bikramjit “Bill” Singh – Honorary Testimonial Certificate

At about 2 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2020, Sunny Bajwa and Bill Singh were at the intersection of Woodland Grove Drive and Arens Road in Regina when they saw an out-of-control vehicle. The vehicle hit something, flew through the air, and crashed down on a brick sign. Bajwa and Singh were about 150 meters away when the accident happened.

Singh called 911. He and Bajwa could see the elderly man in the driver seat was bleeding. Smoke was coming from under the hood and the driver’s window was partially down. The driver told Bajwa to save himself. Bajwa instructed Singh to ask the 911 operator what they should do but then he heard a blast from under hood and saw flames.

 Feeling the intense heat from the fire, Bajwa opened the vehicle door, unbuckled the driver’s seat belt and pulled him from the car. He dragged the driver away as the vehicle became engulfed in flames. Bajwa and Singh then waited with the driver until EMS arrived.


North Battleford

Sergeant William Picard – Bronze Medal for Bravery

Constable Josh Trefry – Honorary Testimonial Certificate

Misty Brown – Honorary Testimonial Certificate

On Sunday, March 7, 2021 at about 6 p.m., Cst. Josh Trefry responded to a call about a woman who had climbed over a concrete barricade on the Highway 16 and Highway 4 overpass near North Battleford. Cst. Trefry was the first officer to arrive on scene where he found Misty Brown standing on the road talking with the woman on the bridge. Cst. Trefry reached over the barricade and grabbed the woman around her torso. Brown helped Cst. Trefry to secure the woman.

Both Cst. Trefry and Brown continued speaking to the woman, but she was still over the barricade and could fall off the overpass, a height of over 20 feet.

 Cpl. William Picard arrived on the scene and leapt over the barricade to be on the same side as the woman, endangering his own life in this precarious position. Cpl. Picard secured the woman and helped Cst. Trefry and Brown get her safely over the barricade, back to the road. The woman then received medical assistance.



Brad Pilon – Bronze Medal for Bravery

On April 10, 2021, at about 5:30 p.m. Brad Pilon and his wife, Ashley, were taking part in a running event near the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon. The eighth leg of the run started at 5 p.m. and took runners south towards the holiday park golf course. On their return to their hotel, Brad heard a scream for help. He saw a boy running and turned to run towards him but then heard another scream for help from the river. Pilon ran towards a boy in the river, encouraging him to kick and swim towards the shore. The boy said he couldn’t swim and that was when Pilon entered the water.

The boy was 20 to 25 feet from shore. The water was very cold at that time of year and was deep in this area. Upon reaching the boy, Pilon guided him back to shore.

Once on shore, Pilon friend and another person took over and started to put dry clothes on the boy. Another person who was on the trail had called paramedics. The boy received medical assistance and was found to be in good health.



Constable Alyssa Ogieglo – Bronze Medal for Bravery

Constable Marc-Andre Thériault – Bronze Medal for Bravery

Shortly after 1:30 a.m. on April 15, 2021, Constables Alyssa Ogieglo and Marc-Andre Thériault were dispatched to a disturbance at the Rosthern Motel. The officers dealt with the complaint, but then received another call that the motel was on fire! Returning to the motel, they could see flames coming out of the roof. The constables kicked in doors to ensure there were no occupants.

They were then informed that there was still an elderly man in one of the rooms. They found the man’s room. Although Cst. Thériault instructed him to leave the room as the motel was on fire, the man was confused and refused to leave. Cst. Thériault saw flames and smoke around the door of the room and entered to assist the man in exiting. Shortly after they got out, the motel roof collapsed.


North Battleford

Constable Japheth Walters – Bronze Medal for Bravery

On May 13, 2021, RCMP Cst. Japheth Walters responded to a report of a distraught man on the Battleford Bridge. Five dispatch calls were received in short order about the situation. Constable Walters found the man sitting on the edge of the bridge, ready to jump 30 feet to his death. Cst. Walters quickly but cautiously approached him and was able to grab hold of the man just as he tried to jump. Walters placed the man in custody and then transported him to the Battlefords Union Hospital for medical assistance.



Constable Tanner Maynard – Bronze Medal for Bravery

On the morning of May 29, 2021 at approximately 9:20 a.m., the Nipawin RCMP Detachment received a call that a person was sitting on the edge of Old Highway 35 bridge. RCMP Constables Tanner Maynard and Matthew Prefontaine answered the call and located an intoxicated woman sitting on the lower framework of the bridge with her feet hanging over the edge, 200 feet above the river. She was visibly upset and told the officers she wanted to end her life.

The Nipawin Fire Department attended the scene with a harness and safety equipment. Cst. Maynard geared up and climbed down to the woman. He spoke to her for an hour in an effort to calm her down. When Cst. Maynard saw an opportunity, he grabbed onto the woman and handcuffed her to the bridge to ensure she was unable to jump. Additional RCMP officers assisted removing the woman from the bridge and took her for medical assistance.



Mitch Hozack – Honorary Testimonial Certificate

Jaxon Hozack – Honorary Testimonial Certificate

On July 25, 2021 at approximately 8:15 a.m., Mitch Hozack and his son Jaxon Hozack were on their way to Jaxon’s baseball game in Saskatoon. While enroute they noticed black smoke coming from a house. Mitch pulled over and saw that the deck of the house was on fire. He instructed Jaxon to call 911, while he ran to the house and began banging on doors.

The fire intensified and spread to a neighbouring house. Mitch went next door and alerted occupants to the fire. Mitch returned to the first house and, finding the door unlocked, entered and began shouting to occupants. Everyone safely exited both homes. The Saskatoon Fire Department arrived and took control of the situation.


Saulteaux First Nation

Constable Jordan MacKenzie – Silver Medal for Bravery

On Nov. 17, 2021 at approximately 9 p.m., Battlefords RCMP Cst. Jordan MacKenzie attended a house fire on Saulteaux First Nation. Upon arrival he saw smoke coming from the front door and basement windows. He was told that a woman was trapped in the basement. Firefighters arrived and began fighting the fire. They entered the house and reported they found the woman but could not attend to her as they were busy with the fire.

When the smoke cleared briefly, Cst. MacKenzie saw the woman lying face down with burns to her arms. He crawled through a window to the woman and checked for signs of life. She didn’t move, so Constable MacKenzie attempted to lift her but could not. By this time, the smoke was making it difficult to breath and to see.

Cst. MacKenzie heard his supervisor over his radio ordering that no one was to enter the house. With the smoke now very intense, Cst. MacKenzie crawled outside as the fire started near the basement stairs. The firefighters who were in the basement called out for assistance to help with the woman. Constable MacKenzie obtained a ladder from the fire truck and put it through a basement window. He told the firefighters to put the woman on the ladder as a makeshift stretcher. While holding the woman steady, the firefighters lifted the ladder while Cst. MacKenzie and Cst. Japheth Walters, who was on the scene, pulled the woman through the basement window and away from the house.

Constables MacKenzie and Walters began CPR on the victim. EMS arrived and instructed the officers to continue CPR. Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to her injuries. Cst. MacKenzie was treated for smoke inhalation.



Brian Gibson – Silver Medal for Bravery

Harvey Weber – Honorary Testimonial Certificate

On Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at about 6 p.m. Brian Gibson and a friend were exercising by Ravine Drive in Saskatoon when they noticed a man in the South Saskatchewan River. He was struggling with the current and was going underwater, calling for help. Gibson removed his running shoes and clothing and dove into the river.

Harvey Weber, who had seen what was going on, gave Gibson his belt to use as a harness to capture the victim, who was starting to lose consciousness due to hypothermia. Gibson successfully grabbed hold of the victim and pulled him to shallow water where others helped Gibson get the man onto the shore.

Weber brought a blanket and towel from his vehicle to help warm the victim. EMS arrived and took charge.