A group of Belleville citizens were honoured by the police chief and police services board for acts of bravery on Thursday.
Samantha Gervais was given a Citation of Bravery for rescuing a young person from the Bay of Quinte on the night of July 20, after a they had jumped from the Norris-Whitney Bridge, trying to commit suicide.
Mitchell Montgomery and Nick Pujic were also given Commendations For Bravery for helping a woman trapped in a vehicle, that had crashed into the Moira River, in June.
Chief Ron Gignac says it’s so important to recognize these types of acts by residents.
You read more about their stories below:
Samantha received the Citation of Bravery after saving the life of a young person, who had tried to commit suicide by jumping off the Norris Whitney Bridge, on July 20, 2018.
It was around 11:30 p.m. when she and a friend were fishing near the bridge and heard what they thought was a large rock splash into the water.
After hearing a voice, Samantha realized the person had jumped from about 75 feet and was in significant distress, so she made a 50 foot swim in strong currents to reach them and pull them to shore.
Chief Ron Gignac says “without Samantha’s selfless act of bravery this person would have surely drowned.”
Samantha remains in contact with the person as they go through recovery and they’ve developed a bond and a friendship.
Mitchell Montgomery and Nick Pujic
Nick and Mitchell, along with a woman from Edmonton who will be recognized by police there, jumped into the Moira River in June to rescue a woman trapped in a car that had crashed into the waters.
They had to fight ferocious current and the movement of the vehicle, to free the driver, just seconds before the vehicle nosedived into the bottom of the river and was completely submerged.
Chief Ron Gignac says their “courage and decisive actions put their own lives at risk, but also saved the life of a complete stranger.”
Constable Kelsey Cailes
Constable Cailes was recognized with a Life Saving Award from St. John’s Ambulance and the Order of St. John, one of five orders recognized nationally.
She was the first to respond to a call of a man in distress, in June and found the victim unconscious and without vital signs.
She was able to perform CPR and revive the man before paramedics arrived to take him to hospital, saving his life.
Inspector Sheri Meeks
Inspector Sheri Meeks has been recognized for creating a training and coaching program for recruits.
Chief Ron Gignac says “she put together a master plan to solve an age-old problem that no other police service in Ontario has been able to do.”
Meeks created a standardized training system for all officers and developed the curriculum, policies and training plans to go along with them.
She presented that plan at the Ontario Police Chief’s Conference and it was so well received that it began in Belleville and is now being taught in 34 police services province wide, along with the Ontario Police College and the Via Rail Police.
Acting Staff Sergeant Lentini was recognized for reaching level three of the Certified Municipal Manager Program within the Ontario Municipal Management Institute and Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
He is one of under 3,000 people, across 30 professions in the province to have the distinction.