As a trained lifeguard, it wasn't anything extraordinary for 18-year-old Felicia Marceau to jump into the water and help to shore a man whose boat had flipped.
The incident took place July 23 this year. Marceau had just finished her shift as a lifeguard at Capreol beach when she was picked up by her father, who wanted to go check on his new boat at a drop-off location at Vermillion Beach.
When they got there, they were met with two people who were in a state of panic, she said. They told Marceau and her father that a boat had capsized, and that they couldn't see the man who had been in it. The boat was far enough out, that Marceau said she couldn't really see it from shore.
It was when she got in the water that she noticed it.
“As a lifeguard, I didn't really think, I just went in to see if he was OK,” she said. “It's hard to tell how long it took me to get to him, it all happened so fast.”
When she got to him, Marceau said he was clinging to the boat.
“He was talking about his dog a lot, because his dog had been in the boat with him,” she said. “The dog had already made it to shore, though. He told me he wasn't a strong swimmer, and that he had been trying to get himself to shore, but it wasn't working.”
She grabbed him and the boat and basically towed them to the opposite shore.
“He was already three-quarters of the way to the opposite shore, so it was easier to take them there,” she said.
On the shore, she was met by police and firefighters. Marceau and the man she had just towed to shore were separated at that point; however, it certainly wasn't the last time they would see each other.
“He visited me at the beach a few weeks later,” she said. “He knew I worked at the beach, and he came to say thank you. He gave me a gift and a hug, and he brought his dog with him.
“I am proud of what I did, but it's a strange feeling to be recognized for it. As a lifeguard, that is what I’m trained to do.”
Marceau was one of four people recognized on Nov. 13 for acts of bravery. She joined Nathan Dokis, Jesse Killeen and David Levesque at Greater Sudbury Police Service's awards ceremony, which paid tribute to a number of police officers, civilians and groups for their outstanding service to the community.
Dokis helped two people trapped in a vehicle involved in a collision that had come to rest on its roof. Both occupants had sustained head and facial lacerations as a result of the crash.
Killeen and Levesque carried a resident out of a building that had caught fire Jan. 4, 2012. They were later advised by firefighters at the scene that their actions helped save that person's life.
This being the fifth police service for which Chief Frank Elsner has worked, he said he is one of the proudest people in the community for having the privilege to lead the organization. He said his officers and those who don't wear a uniform but who contribute to the safety of the community do what they do for the right reason.
“They don't do it for the recognition,” he said, but pointed out the annual ceremony is an opportunity to put that service in the spotlight.
Police Services board chair Ron Dupuis, city councillor for Ward 5, echoed that sentiment.
“What matters is you stepped up the plate for your community when you were needed,” he told the hundreds of people who gathered at the Caruso Club. “It's amazing to see the work that gets done by our people, and we should thank them.”