Paramedics from Simcoe, Muskoka, York and elsewhere in Ontario awarded bravery medals — here are their heroic, life-saving stories

Paramedics from Simcoe, Muskoka, York and elsewhere in Ontario awarded bravery medals — here are their heroic, life-saving stories

By Metroland Staff
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Paramedic Geoff D'Eon receives the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery from Lt. Gov. Edith Dumont at a ceremony at the Royal Ontario Museum Monday.

Ontario Lt.-Gov. Edith Dumont and Health Minister Sylvia Jones presented 11 paramedics with the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery.

Recipients of the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery are from Simcoe County, Manitoulin-Sudbury, Middlesex-London, Muskoka, Rainy River, United Counties of Prescott and Russell, and York Region.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to shine a light on the bravery of our province’s paramedics. They face dangerous situations that require a great deal of courage, and their actions help create more caring communities,” said Dumont in a news release. “These awards will help Ontarians learn about the selflessness and heroism demonstrated by the 11 recipients and appreciate their remarkable service.”

Several of those awards were jointly presented. Here are their stories.
Primary care paramedic Geoff D’Eon of County of Simcoe Paramedic Services received the award following a bad snowstorm on Jan. 13.

He was driving with his family along Horseshoe Valley Road in Oro-Medonte when they came by what appeared to be a vehicle collision at the base of a hill.

He pulled over to see if he could help.
He found an injured OPP officer lying on the roadway in the path of traffic. D’Eon grabbed the officer and pulled him to the side of the road.

“If not for the courageous actions of paramedic D’Eon, the officer could have been struck and killed,” the Ontario government website says.

York Region
Primary care paramedic Taylor Collins of York Region Paramedic and Senior Services received the award following the events of Sept. 9, 2023.

She was heading home after a night shift when she witnessed a car erupt into flames, the Ontario government website says. She pulled up to the scene and realized two vehicles had been involved in a head-on collision.

Despite the potentially life-threatening risks of being exposed to dangerous flames, heat, and risk of explosion, she got out of her car and helped an off-duty firefighter to drag the people out of one vehicle and away from the flames.

“Collins’ steadfast commitment to care also extended to offering valuable assistance to the on-duty paramedics who arrived at the scene, to provide patient care,” the website said.

Paramedic Matt Hickey of Muskoka Paramedic Services received his award following an Oct. 25, 2019 house fire.

Hickey and his partner, as well as Ontario Provincial Police officers, responded to the fire and found a house surrounded by thick smoke and a woman holding two children at the second-storey window.

Hickey, his partner and an OPP officer went into the house to rescue the family despite the threat to them of heavy smoke. Together, they got the family to the roof of the home where the children were handed down to an OPP officer while their mother was led to the ground by ladder with assistance from the fire department.

The website says Hickey assessed the family as they were transported to the hospital, and they avoided serious injuries.

Primary care paramedic Sarah Stagg of Manitoulin-Sudbury District Services Board Paramedic Services received her award following a June 14, 2023 incident.

She was off-duty when she was awoken by the sounds of a commotion and screaming outside her home. She immediately called 911 and began assessing the scene from inside her home. She noticed what appeared to be two victims lying on the sidewalk, the Ontario website says.

She left her home and noticed one of the two people was unresponsive so she began life-saving measures while also gathering information about their assailants from the second injured person and relaying it to the 911 operator.

She continued to care for the victims until paramedics arrived. Despite her efforts, one person died, while the other person eventually made a full recovery following emergency surgery.

Paramedic David Jeffries of Middlesex-London Paramedic Services received the award following a vehicle crash on Aug. 14, 2019.

He and his partner responded to a call about a vehicle that crashed into a home.

A damaged gas line ignited causing a massive explosion that destroyed several homes, and injured almost everyone present, the website says.

“Despite the fiery, debris-filled scene, paramedic Jeffries stayed cool under pressure to triage, treat, and transport the police and fire personnel injured from the blast,” the website says.

All six first responders and one civilian received medical attention for their injuries and survived.

Rainy River
Paramedics Syed Ali and Raphaël Désautels of Rainy River District Paramedic Service received their medals following a residential fire call on March 20, 2023.

When they arrived, they entered the home and discovered thick black smoke inside.

They took turns going in and out of the property, putting themselves at risk due to the deadly smoke to look for people inside and Désautels found an individual on the floor inside the home.

They managed to get the person out of the house, provide immediate care and transport to hospital.

United Counties of Prescott and Russell
Advanced care paramedics Yan Bellefeuille and Jean-François Fillion, and primary care paramedics Stéphane Huppé and Christian Larochelle of United Counties of Prescott and Russell Paramedic Service received an award following a May 11, 2023 incident.

The four paramedics responded to a 911 call about a possible gunshot wound. When they arrived, an unidentified man walked out of the house toward them and they saw an injured OPP officer with a revolver in his hands.

A second officer was unconscious inside the house.

“Facing dangerous conditions, not knowing whether the unidentified man who they saw upon arrival was a suspect, the paramedics provided life-saving care to both injured officers, removed them from an unsafe situation and transported them to a trauma centre as soon as possible,” the government website says.