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Cadet Medal of Bravery

Army, Air and Sea Cadets, no distinction made amongst these brave individuals

The Cadet Award for Bravery may be awarded to a cadet who performs an outstanding deed of valour, involving risk of his or her life, in attempting to save the life or property of another person. A recommendation that a cadet be awarded the Cadet Award for Bravery shall be initiated by the commanding officer of the cadet corps, who shall obtain the concurrence of the appropriate league at the local, provincial and national levels. The recommendation, together with the league concurrence, shall be forwarded through the military chain of command to the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Notification that a cadet has been awarded the Cadet Award for Bravery shall be promulgated in Canadian Forces Supplementary Orders, and the region commander shall notify the cadet and the commanding officer of his or her cadet corps. The medal or the ribbon of the Cadet Award for Bravery shall be worn on the right breast of the uniform and take precedence over the Royal Canadian Humane Association Medal or ribbon, respectively. The medal of the Cadet Award for Bravery shall be worn on a cadet uniform for ceremonial occasions and, for other occasions, the ribbon only shall be worn. Neither the medal nor the ribbon of the Cadet Award for Bravery shall be worn on any uniform other than the uniform authorized for cadets under article 5.22. Records appear to indicate that a total of 8 Army Cadets have won the Cadet Award for Bravery since its inception 1948.

This medal has be awarded only on eighteen known occasions to army, air or sea cadets in 61 years, making it exceedingly rare.



List of Cadet Medal of Bravery awarded to Army, Air and Sea Cadets

25 (known) awarded since 1947


Cadet F/Sgt John Lowe

21 Mount Royal RC Air Cadet Sqn


In 1948 a young Montreal Air Cadet named John Lowe became famous when he single-handedly and at great personal risk saved seven people from drowning. John's heroism and quick action came to the attention of National Defence Headquarters and he was named as first winner of the Cadet Award for Bravery which had just been announced by Defence Minister Brooke Claxton. John did not receive his award immediately, since design work on the medal was in progress at the time.

One day last spring, Cadet F/Sgt John Lowe of No. 21 (Mount Royal) Squadron stood at attention before one of the world's greatest airmen and received his well-earned hero's medal. At a dinner sponsored by the Air Force Veterans Association the famous Lord Trenchard, first Marshal of the Royal Air Force, pinned the bravery medal on F/Sgt Lowe's tunic. For all present, it was a reminder that seven grateful people owed their lives to the quick thinking, alert action and quiet heroism of this modest young Air Cadet.

Newspapers articles and photos 

3 possible unknown awarded pre1949

Cadet Sergeant Donald Topham with his parents, 1949 (Nat.Arch. PA204476)


Cdt Topham's medal with inscription on reverse, note original English only inscription on front (Don Topham)



Cadet Sgt Donald Topham

2158 Peachland (9 Recce Regt) Cadet Corps, Peachland, British Columbia 

Saved young comrade from drowning who fell through ice

16 March 1949


Donald Topham is now retired, we are fortunate to have a collection of documents pertaining to his award

Newspaper Articles and documents


Cadet Pierre Sorel  

1195 Ecole Superieure St-Stanislas Cadet Corps, Montreal Qc

a sauve un enfantde 8 ans de la noyade

17 avril 1949




Cadet Floyd Peterson

507 Kentville RC Air Cadet Sqn


The town of Cambridge near Kentville, NS boasts only one school - a two-story frame structure. One Saturday morning last June, Air Cadet Floyd Peterson of No. 507 (Kentville) Squadron was strolling past the school with a crippled friend when he noticed smoke seeping out around the windows. He quickly decided to investigate and noticed from the odor of the fumes that they were generated by phosphorus. Sending his chum for help, Floyd forced a window open and made his way through heavy smoke to the chemistry lab on the second floor. Here he discovered that a bottle of phosphorus had exploded and flaming chunks were flying about the room. The shelves of the lab were already on fire and flames were dangerously close to an array of volatile chemicals including two large containers of alcohol.

Snatching up a coat that had been left in the school Cadet Peterson tossed it over the sputtering phosphorus, picked up the blazing mass and threw it out of a window. Then, ignoring the danger of a possible explosion, he turned his attention to the other fire. By the time help arrived Floyd Peterson, badly burned on the hands and face and nearly blinded from smoke, had the situation completely under control.

When the good people of Cambridge heard the story they handed Floyd a $200 "thank you" cheque to assist the burned youth with medical expenses. But greater honours were to come.

In February Defence Minister Brooke Claxton announced that Air Cadet Floyd Peterson would receive the Cadet Award for Bravery - a medal awarded only to cadets who knowingly risk their lives in the interest of the lives or property of others. As this is written, plans have been made for Cadet Peterson to fly to Ottawa and attend the annual meeting of the Air Cadet League in March, at which time he will be presented with his well-earned hero's medal.




Cadet Hector J. Moore

294 Chatham RC Air Cadet Sqn


On July 9, 1953, Air Cadet Hector J. Moore of No. 294 Chatham Squadron was playing with friends on the bank of the River Thames when Jeanne Gauthier, aged ten, fell into the deep water.

Cadet Moore dived in and brought the struggling girl within reach of his friends who lifted her to safety. The young cadet, however, was exhausted from his efforts and drowned through lack of strength to save himself.

His outstanding heroism has been recognized by the Minister of National Defence with the posthumous award of the Cadet Award for Bravery, presented only to those cadets who knowingly risk their lives in order to save the lives or property of others.




Cadet S. Larkins (posthumous)

526 Barrhead RC Air Cadets Sqn


The exceptional heroism of a young Alberta Air Cadet was recognized recently with the posthumous award of the Cadet Award for Bravery to Air Cadet Stuart Larkins of No. 526 Barrhead Squadron. Cadet Larkins sacrificed his life when he went to the rescue of a young girl, Miss Carrol Bassani into the icy, fast flowing water of the Paddle River.

He was successful in aiding Miss Bassani to the river bank where she was pulled to safety. However, Cadet Larkins had so expended himself that he could no longer fight the icy current and he was drowned.

The Award for Bravery, considered to be the cadet equivalent of the Victoria Cross, was presented to the parents of Cadet Larkins by Air Commodore H.H.C. Rutledge, acting on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff.




Cadet D. Surrette

RC Sea Cadets

The first Cadet Award for Bravery to be received by a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets has been presented to 15-year-old Sea Cadet Douglas Surette of RCSCC Chebogue, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, for saving the life of a three-year-old who had fallen through an old wharf into Yarmouth Harbour in September 1959. Cadet Surette jumped into the cold harbour waters after the little girl and brought her to safety. Shown left to right, are Ian Clulee, president of the Yarmouth Branch of the Navy League of Canada; R. J. Bicknell, national president of the league, who made the presentation; Donna, admiring her rescuer's award; Cadet Surette; H. R. Gillard, the league's national secretary, and Lt. D. H. Mitchell, commanding officer of RCSS Chebogue. (Bob Brooks Photo, Yarmouth, N.S.) .


Cdt William Ferguson, of Cornwall, Ont., being awarded. the Tri-Service Award for Bravery from Rear-Admiral P. D. Budge, Chief of Naval Personnel


Cadet Ferguson

RC Sea Cadets

A young sea cadet, William Ferguson, of Cornwall, Ont., became the first sea cadet to be awarded. the Tri-Service Award for Bravery when Rear-Admiral P. D. Budge, Chief of Naval Personnel, made the presentation recently. Sea Cadet Ferguson rescued two youngsters, aged eight and 10, from the Cornwall Canal. He had been fully dressed in uniform.




Author unknown, The Navy’s Heart, The CROWSNEST, January 1962, Volume 14, Number 3, page eight





Cadet F/Sgt William J. Vincent

511 Humber RC Air Cadet Sqn


Flight Sergeant William J. Vincent of 511 Humber Squadron, Corner Brook, Newfoundland risked his own life to save a young girl - Ruby Tulk - from drowning in the waters of the Tickle River on September 22nd, 1962.

The presentation was made in 1963 by Group Captain A.G. Dagg, Commanding Officer RCAF Station Summerside, who praised FSgt Vincent, a non-swimmer, for his courage in saving the young girl's life.

The Award for Bravery Medal was introduced in 1948 for presentation to cadets who knowingly risk their own lives while saving the lives or property of others.



Cadet Daniel Joseph Primeau

2784 Governor General's Foot Guards Cadet Corps, Ottawa, Ontario

Saved 10 year old friend from drowning 

17 April 1977




Cadet Colette Turcotte

2565 Lac-Etchemin Cadet Corps, Lac-Etchemin, P.Q.

premiers soins et confort a un blesse 

28 juillet 1982




Cadet Rene Normandin

2859 Corps de Cadet  Les Fusiliers de Windsor, Windsor P.Q.

sauve un a jeune copain de la noyade

15 octobre 1982




Cadet Michel Monette

 2407 Blind River Canadian Legion Cadet Corps, Blind River, Ontario

Saved 56 year old  man from drowning 

18 May 1986


Cdt Joe Philion receives a medal for bravery from National Defence, Brigadier General Archie Brown in February of 1989 while recovering from burns in Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.


Cadet Joe Philion


Cadet Award for Bravery

Cadet Joe Philion joined 99 Squadron at age 14. Six weeks later while asleep in the family home in March 1988, he was awakened by the smell of smoke. Rather than save himself, he ran through the house shouting warnings to his family. Unable to find his mother he stood his ground under surrounded by fire. He suffered 3rd degree burns to 90% of his body. Joe's long recovery of 40 skin grafts was followed by his nomination and approval by the Chief of Defence Staff to receive the Cadet Award for Bravery. The citation read "His selfless act of bravery brings credit to himself, his community and the Canadian Cadet organization."

Cdt Ashley Gulliford (DND)


Cadet CWO Ashley Gulliford

Cadet saves drowning mother

CWO Ashley Gulliford, 2754 Army Cadet Corps in Toronto (North York), has received the nation's highest cadet honour — the Cadet Award for Bravery — for saving her mother from drowning.

The 17-year-old performed the heroic feat in 1998 during a family vacation, when her mother was overcome by fatigue while swimming across a pond. Mrs. Gulliford had all but succumbed to a third descent underwater when Ashley swam from shore to assist her. She kept her mother's head above the surface until her father could join the rescue effort.

CWO Gulliford recalls the terror and fear she felt as she watched her mom slip under the water. "I did what seemed logical at the time, but looking back, I would change a lot. My first instinct was to swim under water and push her up, not thinking of the risks of doing so. This was not an act of courage or bravery, just one's instinctive reaction to such a situation."

CWO Gulliford will retire from her corps where she is regimental sergeant major in the spring to begin university studies. She plans to become a Crown Attorney. She also plans to become a CIC officer. "I've always wanted to become an officer so that I could give back to the organization and help others reach their full potential in the system," she says. 



Cadet Nathan Fredrickson


176 Winnipeg RC Air Cadet Sqn

On May 24, 1998, the officers and cadets of No. 176 Squadron were on exercise near Tulabi Falls, Manitoba, for the purpose of aircrew survival training. At approximately 1210 hours, as the squadron was packing to leave, two senior cadets went to the observation platform overlooking Tulabi Falls. While there they noticed a girl standing in the water at the mouth of the falls.

Tess Furtado, age 12, was washing her feet in the lake when she slipped and fell into the water. The intense current carried her over the falls.

FSgts Nathan Fredrickson and Aaron Arnason ran from the observation deck down a trail beside the water and came to the last section of the falls. Fredrickson jumped into the water and swam out to Furtado. He grabbed onto her and kept her head above the turbulent water. Arnason called to a nearby fishing boat for assistance and arranged for more help from bystanders. The boat brought Tess and Fredrickson to shore.

While shaken up and injured, Furtado received no injuries to her head, neck or back and she had no broken bones or internal injuries.

"When I jumped onto the rocks I thought she was going to die," Fredrickson recalled. "Tess was in hysterics and bleeding. I had to get her to focus, so I gave her my watch and then she climbed toward me and I was able to get her to safety," said Fredrickson, who received cuts on his feet and slight hypothermia.

"Most people in the same situation would do the same thing I did," he said. He noted that the happiest part of receiving the Air Cadet Medal of Bravery was that Furtado was the one who presented Fredrickson and Arnason with their awards.


Cadet Sgt John Lambert


Cdt/Sgt John Lambert was awarded his medal while on course at VACSTC in 1999


Cadet WO Cory Rule

42 Grey & Simcoe Foresters Cadet Corps, Owen Sound, ON

saving his mother and two dogs during a house fire




Cadet MWO K.C. Maple 

C/MWO K.C Maple from 337 Queens York Rangers RC(Army)CC was awarded the Cadet Award for Bravery. last summer he took a trip across the Atlantic Ocean with his uncle. they ran into a large storm and the boat tipped leaving him and his uncle alone in the middle of the Atlantic ocean with out a lifeboat. they were eventually picked up 2 hours off the coast of Greenland by the coast guard because MWO Maple called his dad for help just before the boat tipped and the phone cut out. The uncle did not survive the accident. (more to follow)


BGen Guy Thibault presenting Tricia with the medal at a ceremony at the Cornwall Armoury




Cornwall cadet recognized for bravery
by Kristina Davis

The flames were waist deep in the bathroom. And the kids were asleep.

Petty Officer, 2nd Class Tricia Cummings says her three young cousins were scared and crying—but she knew just what to do. Her cadet training kicked in and she calmly led the kids out of the house and to safety.

For her bravery, PO2 Cummings, with the 110 STORMONT Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps in Cornwall, Ont., received the Cadet Award of Bravery at a ceremony in mid-March.

Presented only a handful of times since the late 1940’s, the award recognizes cadets who “perform an outstanding deed of valour involving risk of life in attempting to save the life or property of others.”

Already awarded a Fire Safety Action Award from the Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council, she remains humble and matter-of-fact about her actions. “They were crying,” she explains. “But I took them out and then sat with them for a little while.”

With nearly four years in the cadet program, PO2 Cummings says she learned leadership skills—skills that were invaluable that night in April 2006, when the family cat knocked over a lamp, setting nearby towels on fire. She heard the alarm activate and quickly roused the two children sleeping upstairs. Gathering the third child, she led them outside and then called 911 from a nearby home.

With plans to become a sailing instructor, she was also recently named the corps’ drum major. She knows that younger cadets look up to her and recognizes the responsibility that comes with the position.

Lieutenant-Commander Conrad Villeneuve, CO of the cadet corps, says PO2 Cummings is a little more than humble. In fact, she never mentioned the incident, much less the Fire Marshal’s award. He found out about it only after reading a local newspaper article. Once pressed for details, she told him the whole story. That’s when he decided to nominate her for the award.

“All through the process, she’s been wondering what the big fuss is all about,” he says. “But she said she felt she was able to do this because of her cadet training.”

Of PO2 Cummings, he says she was shy and initially participated in a few extra activities. But since her promotion and becoming the drum major—a position LCdr Villeneuve says he really wanted—she has changed.

“She’s set goals for herself in the cadet program,” he explains. Goals which the now 16-year-old has already begun to realize.

(The Maple Leaf)


Cornwall cadet wins bravery award

The Cadet Award of Bravery — the highest recognition sea, air and land cadets can receive — is not an honour bestowed upon many. Only the cadets who risk their lives to save the life or property of others earn one. It requires an outstanding deed of valour.
Petty Officer Tricia Cummings, 16, of Cornwall’s Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, Stormont division, performed her outstanding deed April 22, 2005, when the house in which she was babysitting caught fire.
Tricia, who was 15 at the time, said she was downstairs watching a movie with one of the children, 10-year-old Jacob Radley, when the smoke alarm went off about 1 a.m. The other two children — Jacob’s twin, Leonard, and their sister, Patricia-Lynne, 8 — were upstairs asleep.
Tricia, who is a cousin of the children, then went upstairs and found “flames up to her waist” in the bathroom.
She “grabbed the kids” from upstairs and took them outside; Jacob followed closely behind.
Tricia picked up a portable phone as she left the house and dialed 911 from outside.
Firefighters extinguished the fire, which was determined to have been caused by a lamp  knocked over onto a towel.
Tricia said she was scared, but credits her quick response to her education. “It was just something I learned in school,” said Tricia, who has been a cadet for three years. “And I learned all of my leadership skills in the cadets. I feel good because I did something right.”
Canadian Forces Brig.-Gen. Guy Thibault presented Tricia with the medal at a ceremony last week at the Cornwall Armoury.
This award is not the first recognition Tricia has has received for her actions that April night. She also received a certificate from the Ontario Fire Marshal in Toronto, along with recognition from the city council of Cornwall.
Despite all of the awards, commanding officer Lt.-Cmdr. Conrad Villeneuve said Tricia has been modest: “She is very humble and overwhelmed. She didn’t even come forward to tell me. I had to get the story out of her to apply for the award.”
Lt.-Cmdr. Villeneuve said the award is a rare honour. Only six sea cadets are known to have received it since 1895, he said. The only other known recipient from the Ottawa area was Cornwall sea cadet William Ferguson, who was honoured in 1969 after he saved two children from drowning in the Cornwall Shipping Canal.
“We all feel good,” Lt.-Cmdr. Villeneuve said. “It is now a part of our history.”
The mother of the children, Chrissy Radley, said she is grateful to her niece. “I’m just glad they got out and they were all smart about it,” she said.

(Ottawa Citzen)



Cadet WO1 Simon Grant

Abbotsford cadet's brave actions recognized

By Kevin Mills - Abbotsford News

There was no time to think, just time to act.

So that’s what Simon Grant did.

It has been more than two years since Warrant Officer First Class Grant took action, and last week the member of the Air Cadet Squadron 861 Silverfox in Abbotsford was presented with the Cadet Medal of Bravery from the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

He received the honour for his “outstanding valour as an air cadet, involving the risk of his own life to save others and maintain their well-being.”

The incident took place Oct. 10, 2009 in Fort Langley. Then only 16, Grant and his fellow cadets were helping with the local cranberry festival, unloading and loading trolley buses, which were parked on an incline and filled with people. The bus Grant was helping to load suddenly began to roll on its own, with no driver inside.

“The brakes failed. I heard a snapping, odd sound and suddenly the bus was moving,” he said. Knowing there were passengers on board, Grant moved quickly.

“I just hopped on the bus and looked down at the pedals.”

At that time, he didn’t have a driver’s licence and didn’t know which pedal was which. He chose correctly and managed to bring the bus to a stop long enough for the driver to catch up and take over. When he looked up, all 35 people on the bus were just staring at him.

“It was silent. It was very silent. Nobody knew what was going on. Then I just walked off the bus.”

By the time he stopped the bus’ progress, it had already gone over the curb and was about 10 feet away from an embankment, which would have sent it on a one and a half storey fall.

“It was no more than 10 seconds, the whole thing,” he said.

No one was hurt in the incident. Grant said he doesn’t like to think about what could have happened. Last week’s medal ceremony was a huge thrill for him.

“My hands were numb. I don’t know how to explain it. Exciting doesn’t do it justice. There was a lot of emotion.”

This was not his first award. Grant has also received the Long Service Medal, Lord Strathcona Medal, Chief Instructors Award and the Legion Medal of Excellence. Because he turns 19 later this month, the award ceremony was his last official event as a cadet. But he doesn’t think his involvement in the military has come to an end.

“I have an application into RMC, the military college. I want to be a logistics officer.”

He said his family has a long history of soldiers, police officers, correctional officers, paratroopers and more.

“My family has always been sort of military. ‘There’s never been a Grant out of uniform’ is pretty much the saying.”


Cadet Master Cpl. Brandon Manion being awarded the Cadet Medal of Bravery

Cadet Master Cpl. Brandon Manion

Highest honour


There was no mention of the award on the program, so when it was announced that a cadet was receiving an Award of Bravery, the crowd was surprised.

 When Master Cpl. Brandon Manion's name was called, all heads in the room turned his way and his eyes widened.

 On Wednesday, the 2915 Irish Regiment of Canada Capreol Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps held its 39th annual Inspection. The regiment honoured Brandon with the prestigious award.

 It is the highest honour attainable by a member of the Canadian Cadet Program and is very rare. It is awarded to a cadet who performs an outstanding deed of valour involving risk of his or her life in attempting to save the life or property of others.

 But for Brandon, it came with a price.

 On June 26, 2011, Dakota Gervais was swimming with Brandon in the Vermillion River when the current swept him downstream. Brandon thought fast. Instead of jumping into the river immediately and trying to catch up, he ran down an adjacent road and caught up with him further down.

 He jumped into the water and tried several times to save his friend from drowning. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do.

 So, when Brandon stepped up to receive his medal, his pride was tainted with the depth of his loss. A shy boy of 14, he had little comment for The Star during an interview.

 "It was weird," he said about being up there in front of the audience. "It felt different."

 There was much talk about heroes at the ceremony and the bravery it took for Brandon to jump into the water after his friend. 

Capt. Joan Dumontelle, the corps' commanding officer, is the person who nominated Brandon for the award.

She says she kept it a secret from him for a whole year.

 "The reason I went after it is because I wanted him to know that he didn't do anything wrong," she commented.

 Dakota's grandmother, Tina Smoke, felt great about the events of the night.

 "Brandon is my mentor," she said. "We are very proud of what he did that day. It meant so much to our family.

 Both Dakota's and Brandon's families were present at the ceremony. Since the accident, they have become close.

 Now, there is white cross at the spot on the river where the teen lost his life. It reads Dakota "Boots" Gervais, written in blue lettering. According to Tina, the city wants to take it down.

"My grandson was a strong swimmer and a fighter," she said. "It just goes to show how dangerous the water can be."

 She wants to leave the cross there, not only in memory of Dakota, but also as a warning to others. Her family visits the site every so often to talk to the cadet that they lost so soon.


Lieutenant Colonel James R. Shields - deputy commanding officer, Regional Cadet Support Unit Central, congratulates Corporal Jesse Belaire for receiving the Cadet Award of Bravery.


Local cadet receives award of bravery

Bracebridge Examiner
By Laura Finney

BRACEBRIDGE - Fourteen-year-old Cadet Master Corporal Jesse Belaire, a member of 2250 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps of Bracebridge has been awarded the highest honour attainable by a Canadian cadet.

He was presented with the Cadet Award of Bravery during a ceremonial parade held Dec. 4 at Bracebridge Public School.

“I think it’s great,” he said about getting recognized. “I was really happy, and honoured.”

Two winters ago, while Belaire was returning to shore after an ice-fishing derby in Sault Ste. Marie, the ice gave way.

He and a number of family members and friends, including a two-year-old boy, became trapped when the ice broke, and a few were submerged into the water, including Jesse.

“You just feel really numb, you never feel cold,” he said. “I didn’t really think about it until afterwards, but it was kind of scary.”

Belaire was able to pull himself out, and rescue the young boy, whom Jesse’s dad had held above the water.

“It makes me feel good, that I saved him,” he said, and added that he didn’t really think, he just acted. “I was just doing what I thought I should do.”

His dad Del Belaire said he was impressed with his son’s actions.

“I was watching Jesse and I was just amazed by him. I’ve seen him in this mode before and he was just totally calm, focused and no panic,” he said.

Del was unable to get out, so Jesse ran across the lake to a nearby cottage to call 911.

“We were a good ways from shore, and the ice was very punky,” said Del. “It was just amazing that he made it, but he just went and focused on what he was doing.”

Jesse was able to call 911 and everyone was rescued and OK.

And his actions were enough to get Jesse recognized back home.

“I’m happy for him; it’s a great recognition. It is rare,” said Captain Rob Harley with the Muskoka cadets. “This year I think he’s the second one in Canada.”

After Belaire received the medal from Lieutenant Colonel James Shields, deputy commanding officer of the Regional Cadet Support Unit Central, the lieutenant addressed Belaire in front of the crowd.

“Your immediate action in saving the life of an infant on March 11, 2012 came at great peril to yourself and speaks volumes of your selflessness, courage and bravery,” he said. “Your actions during this event are a true reflection of both your strength of character and leadership ability, and I commend you for your efforts.”

The Cadet Award of Bravery is awarded to a cadet who performs an outstanding deed of valour involving risk of life in attempting to save the life or property of others.

During the ceremony, Harley was also presented with the Lord Strathcona Award on behalf of the Muskoka cadets, distinguishing this group as the top army cadet corps in northern Ontario.



Local cadet receives award of bravery

Oct 4, 2014


C/Cpl Shannon Young

204 Black Maria Squadron RCACS

A young Kamloops girl has once again been recognized for her bravery after her family was targeted in an armed home invasion more than two years ago. On Saturday, Shannon Young was awarded a Cadet Medal of Bravery from the Canadian Cadet Organization, a year after she was honoured by the RCMP. "It's still difficult to accept it, I don't like recognition, it's something that's always been difficult for me to accept."

Shannon was 13 years old in May 2012 when she helped three young children escape from a hostage situation at their home in Dufferin. A man with explosives and a shotgun entered the home that day, and in evacuating the kids, the Cadets say Shannon showed outstanding presence of mind and a maturity well beyond the expectation of a person of her age.

Hannah Flinn, wearing the Cadet Medal of Bravery presented at the Brockville Armouries Tuesday, poses with sister and Officer Cadet Sarah Flinn following a ceremony at the Brockville Armouries Tuesday. (Nick Gardiner/The Recorder and Times)

Rare honour for Brockville cadet

Dec 3, 2015

Hannah Flinn

The memories still leave her feeling anxious.

But a 16-year-old high school girl from Jasper showed nothing but calm in the aftermath of a Highway 15 collision north of Smiths Falls on April 12, 2014. The crash left seven siblings and close relatives with cuts and bruises and an older sister in dire condition and needing surgery.

Hannah Flinn said she was nodding off during a drive to a soccer game in the family’s 15-seat van when there was a collision with a tractor-trailer.

“I thought I was dreaming we were rolling over and there was glass everywhere and children were crying. I woke up and that’s when everything became real,” she said, after receiving a rare honour for her actions at the Brockville Armouries Tuesday.

“I don’t know why I stayed calm but growing up as an older sibling you learn to take care of somebody who can’t take care of themselves,” added Flinn.

A member of Brockville’s Cadet Corps at the time, Flinn won a nomination from the national level for a medal awarded only 23 times to naval, airforce and army cadets previously since being instituted in 1948.

On Tuesday, she received the Cadet Medal of Bravery – and just the 14th to an army cadet – in a ceremony attended by her family members, including parents Tom and Sherry and the driver of the van in the accident, Officer Cadet Sarah Flinn and the Brockville corps.

Sarah Flinn, 24, was driving the van on the day of the accident and suffered the worst injuries including a damaged spleen.

She was strapped in the driver’s seat unconscious when she awoke to Hannah shouting her name.

The damage to the vehicle was extensive and paramedics were unable to get the older siblings free after Hannah had lifted the smaller tykes through a broken window to safety.

Hannah sat with her sister “cracking jokes” and giving her oxygen from a mask before they were extricated.

“She was just the most gentle person,” said Sarah Flinn, who was airlifted in life-threatening condition to Ottawa Hospital where she had surgery and remained for two weeks before going home.

Tom and Sherry Flinn were on vacation in Virginia when the accident occurred and received word within minutes in a phone call from Hannah.

“She was in the van caring for Sarah and said in a very calm voice, ‘You should probably come home.’” said Tom Flinn.

“You wouldn’t have thought anything was going on at all.”

Flinn said several of his children have been or continue to be members of the Brockville Cadet Corps and he’s proud of their service.

Special dignitaries to the presentation included Brockville Rifles Commanding Officer Lt. Col Shawn Herron and Brigadier General Kelly Woiden, Commander of the National Cadet and Junior Canadian Support Group, who presented the medal and a certificate to Flinn.

“It is truly a privilege to be here tonight to present one of the rarest awards given by the cadet organization,” said Woiden.

He said Flinn’s decision to remain in the vehicle to tend to the injuries of her siblings while ignoring her own broken finger and assorted cuts and bruises showed remarkable poise.

“Nobody would have questioned you if you had left the van to tend to your own injuries. Your acts that day represented the best of what the cadets have to offer. It shows you have a bright future,” said Woiden.

Captain Peter Ruttan, commanding officer of the Brockville army cadet corps, said the Cadet Medal of Bravery “is a huge honour” and the Brockville Cadet Corps should be proud one of their own has been recognized.

(Nick Gardiner, Recorder & Times)