By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
A moment can change everything.
On Feb. 17, Durham Regional Police took a moment to honour those who stepped forward during some of 2015’s darker moments, handing out awards to 12 citizens who went “above and beyond to help victims in need.”
In a ceremony prior to the meeting of regional council, Sgt. Emmanuel Iheme, acommpanied by Police Chief Paul Martin, described the acts of valour ranging from those who stepped forward to save victims of assault, assisting with plane and car crashes and even saving a child discovered unconscious at the bottom of a pool in Ajax.
“Sometimes, when seconds count, they act despite the risks and the danger they face,” Iheme said. “These citizens did not do it for the award…or for any recognition. They simply did it because it was the right thing to do.”
Among those honoured was Steven Genore, a security guard with the City of Oshawa, who stepped in when he spotted a man assaulting a woman in downtown Oshawa back in April.
Genore, while doing a walkthrough on the roof of a downtown parking garage, spotted the couple arguing on the street below. As he watched, matters escalated and the man starting punching the woman repeatedly in the face.
“So I just kind of sprang into action,” Genore says. “It was downtown Oshawa, so there’s tons of people around and nobody did anything.”
Genore ran to the street and chased after the man as he fled from the scene. In contact with the police the whole time, Genore fed information on their location to them as he followed the man, before he was eventually arrested.
He says he was caught by surprise when he learned about the award.
“It’s special,” he says. “I wasn’t expecting anything of it.”
Regional Chair Roger Anderson also took the opportunity to thank the group for their brave efforts.
“Neighbors do make a difference,” he said. “We can say thank you 1,000 times and it won’t be enough. Thank you, thank you, thank you, job well done.”
Also honoured during the ceremony was Mike Lane, who helped subdue an out of control man in a Tim Horton’s in Oshawa; Kristina Green and Jordan Deen, who helped the victim of a plane crash near Highway 12 and Rural Route 47; and a group of Ajax residents who saved the life of a child who was found unconcious in the bottom of a neighbour’s pool.
Citizen Award Recepients
Kristina Green and Jordan Deen: saved the life of a pilot after his plane crashed near Highway 12 and Rural Road 47.
Steven Genore: Oshawa security guard stepped in to save a woman being assaulted in downtown Oshawa.
Ross Smith: Helped to pull a man from his burning vehicle after a car crash on the Ritson Road South overpass above the 401.
Mike Lane: Subdued a mentally ill man who was assaulting the staff of a Tim Horton’s in Oshawa.
Pedro Valadao, Anne and Richard Woodside: saved the life of a four-year-old boy found unconscious at the bottom of an Ajax swimming pool.
Marc Sammons: saved the life of a man who collapsed at a Pickering car dealership by administering CPR.
Garret McGuire and Bryant Lyon: helped save a woman being robbed and assaulted.
Ashraf Adb El Maseeh: helped in the arrest of an intoxicated male in Pickering who was resisting arrest.