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Published: March 18th 2010
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OTTAWA - It was like a scene from a cinematic thriller: a train barrelling uncontrollably down a mountain track, and a brakeman frantically climbing between cars in a desperate attempt to reach the manual stop.

Only this was real life and, unlike a Hollywood action flick, the brakeman didn't make it that June day in 2006.

Thomas Dodd died when the lumber car he had climbed onto broke away from its locomotive and plunged down a steep slope as the train rounded a curve.

The engine then derailed and went over the embankment in Lillooet, B.C., killing a co-worker. The engineer was the sole survivor.

On Thursday, Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean announced that Dodd, of Chilliwack, B.C., was one of 19 heroes who will receive the Medal of Bravery for "acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances."

He was the only posthumous recipient. The medals will be awarded at a later date.

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The other recipients:

-David and Michael Byrd and Cpl. Gabriel Proulx, all of Belleville, Ont., who on June 8, 2008, rescued three people from a burning vehicle near Napanee, Ont.

-Robert Dorie of Long Creek, N.B., who on July 23, 2006, risked his life to capture an armed robber in Sussex, N.B., by using his car to sideswipe the fleeing felon, then subduing him until police arrived.

-Robin Fabiani of Montreal who on June 9, 2008, rescued a struggling man from drowning during a scuba-diving incident off San Salvador in the Bahamas.

-Windsor, Ont., police constables Michael Gallant and Phillip Kolody who on June 17, 2008, rescued four people from a burning house, locating, waking and evacuating the occupants amid intense smoke and flames.

-Doug Knill of Scotland, Ont.; Samantha-Joe Larose of Noelleville, Ont.; Bruce Lavallee of Alban, Ont.; and Daniel White of Paris, Ont., who on Feb. 2, 2008, rescued a man after his snowmobile had gone through the ice on Lake Nipissing.

-Donald Morrison of Dutch Valley, N.B., who on May 24, 2008, fought through flames to rescue an injured pilot after their helicopter crashed in a remote location near Norman Wells, NWT.

-Marc Patterson of Kamloops, B.C., who on Aug. 1, 2007, repeatedly wrestled a cougar that had attacked a 12-year-old boy during a camping trip, near Clinton, B.C.

-Stuart Pringle of Chesterville, Ont., who on July 19, 2005, rescued an elderly woman trapped in a burning basement after gas container spilled onto the basement floor and was ignited by the furnace pilot light. The woman, a neighbour, ultimately died.

-Francis Quevillon of Laval, Que., who on Oct. 28, 2007, who was wounded while disarming an emotionally disturbed woman who was threatening a baby in Pierrefonds, Que.

-Victoria police constables Dale Sleightholme and Paul Spencelayh who on July 24, 2007, descended a 13-metre cliff and jumped into the water to rescue a suicidal man from the freezing Pacific Ocean.

-Mike Toupin of Miramichi, N.B., who on June 20, 2008, jumped onto an out-of-control tractor-trailer to save its driver, who was slumped over the wheel after a heart attack.

The Bravery Decorations were created in 1972 to recognize people who risk their lives "and choose to defy their own instinct of survival to try to save a loved one or a perfect stranger whose life is in immediate danger."

The Cross of Valour recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril. The Star of Courage recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.

The Medal of Bravery recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

Anyone is free to propose the name of a person who has risked injury or death in an attempt to rescue another person. The incident need not have taken place in Canada, and the rescuer need not be Canadian, but Canadians or Canadian interests must be involved.

Nominations must be made within two years of the incident, or within two years after a public entity, including a court, a quasi-judicial tribunal or a coroner, has concluded its review of the circumstances surrounding the incident or act of bravery.


TCRC Division 76 Winnipeg - 2014