Beyond the Call: Celebrating Acts of Bravery and Compassion
Calgary Fire Department recognizes 26 Calgarians in awards ceremony
Twenty-six Calgarians were honoured for their bravery and decisive actions at a recognition event hosted by the Calgary Fire Department today. Fire Chief Steve Dongworth awarded the courageous recipients with certificates of Appreciation, Recognition and medals of Commendation. The recipients were nominated by citizens and members of the Calgary Fire Department for their contribution during incidents from 2020 to 2022.
“Making our city safer is something we strive to do at the Calgary Fire Department every day,” says Chief Dongworth. “It’s our mission to serve the community through excellence in prevention, education, protection and emergency response. However, as with all first responders, we can’t always achieve that mission without assistance from members of our community.”
“Some of our honorees here today didn’t have the benefit of the intensive training given to firefighters and other first responders. What they did have was the willingness and the courage to do what it took to help their fellow Calgarians.”
Among the recipients are the following stories:
· After a significant fire had broken out in a residential building across the street from where Carrie McMillan works, Carrie, along with other staff opened up their place of business to evacuees while they waited for Calgary Transit busses to arrive. She accommodated them comfortably in various rooms of their facility and brought coffee and doughnuts for the evacuees. She even followed up with CFD to ensure assistance for an older gentleman with dementia who was struggling to contact loved ones. Her kindness, compassion and desire to help strangers in a challenging position really set a positive tone amongst the evacuees.
·While Richard Harrison was out one night walking past his neighbour’s house, he heard a smoke alarm activate and screaming. He went toward the house and saw smoke through the window. He called for a neighbour to phone 9-1-1 and then tried to get in through the kitchen, but after two breaths of hot smokey air, he had to leave. He then went in through the bathroom window and moved toward her voice. He found the occupant and helped her out of the house. He also alerted firefighters to the eight cats that were in the basement of the house. Rick put himself at great risk to save his neighbour’s life.
· Albert Adam was sitting on a bench, enjoying the view overlooking the Glenmore Reservoir, when he noticed a child, approximately six years old, walking past him towards the embankment. Albert looked around to see if there was an adult nearby who may be responsible for the youngster. He didn’t see anyone, so kept his eyes on the child. Suddenly, after walking down an overgrown path, the child fell headfirst into the water. The child did not surface right away, so Albert ran down and jumped into the water, pulling the child out and to shore. He immediately started CPR because the child was not breathing. He then carried the child up the hill, making stops to continue CPR until he got to the top and could yell for help and ask someone to phone 9-1-1. The child then started breathing and was then cared for by the fire crew and camp counselors until EMS arrived. Albert, in the right place at the right time, definitely saved this child’s life.
Beyond the Call is the Calgary Fire Department’s annual ceremony and luncheon that formally recognizes exceptional acts by citizens and emergency service personnel, both on and off-duty. The award recipients have been nominated by Fire Department members and citizens for their bravery and decisive action, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the health and well-being of fellow citizens. During COVID, the ceremony was suspended, so this year, the Calgary Fire Department hosted two ceremonies to recognize recipients from 2019 to 2022. This is the second of the events this year.
Members of the public can nominate citizens and emergency service personnel who have acted in an exceptional way during an incident attended by the Calgary Fire Department. To nominate someone, please contact The City’s 311 line and ask to submit your nominee to the Beyond the Call program.
For more information on the Calgary Fire Department, please visit calgary.ca/fire.