Commendation Ceremony 2009 – Civilian Awards

Last week, I touched on the VPD’s Commendation Ceremony of 2009. 

As police officers, we have sworn to protect life and property.  The officers who were acknowledged during the ceremony deserved the recognition, but even more impressive were the actions of the seven civilians being recognised as having gone ‘above and beyond’.  And because I only skimmed over the Commendation Ceremony on Friday, I’m acknowledging these citizens today.

The highest Vancouver Police Department award for civilian bravery is The Certificate of Merit.  It is awarded to citizens, by the Vancouver Police Board when, on their own initiative and in the face of actual or anticipated danger, they have assisted the police in preventing a crime, apprehending or attempting to apprehend an offender or made a life saving attempt.

These seven, in my opinion, deserve far more than what we as a police department or a community can offer.  They are a great example for the rest of us to live by, if only to admire their courage and bravery:

  • Maggie Stewart, the seventeen year old high school student who intervened in a violent assault and prevented the two assailants from further injuring the victim
  • Tanya Silveria, the security guard who gave chase after an armed jewellery store robber, even after she had been assaulted by the suspect and after he had dropped a loaded firearm. 
  • Jonathan Helmus, the man who fearlessly crawled from his balcony to the balcony of a suicidal women, in an effort to save her from jumping.  He was nineteen stories above the ground.
  • Charles Gorling and James Thorpe both assisted a man disabled by Hodgkin’s disease when they pursued and captured the suspect who had just robbed the disabled man.
  • Marc Nolet and Yiannis Voulgaris observed an assault and called 911.  One of the suspects fled prior to police arrival, so the two men followed him, saw him discard a handgun, and then tackled him to hold the suspect for police.

To Maggie, Tanya, Jonathan, Charles, James, Marc and Yiannis – you have my full respect for a job well done.

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