Canada Commends Courageous Pressman

By: E&P Staff

Last Thursday morning, Governor General of Canada Micha?lle Jean decorated 47 people, among them a press operator at Manitoba’s Winnipeg Free Press, in recognition of lifesaving acts that risked, and sometimes cost, the rescuers own lives.

In March of 2007, Harry Prymak, of St. Clements, Manitoba, a Free Press pressman for 31 years, crawled across an ice-covered river to rescue a man whose snowmobile had plunged through the ice, according to the Governor General’s office. Upon grabbing the victim, the ice broke under Prymak, sending him into the water.

Prymak’s three ice-fishing companions tossed lifesavers and ropes, but the ice continued breaking as they tried and eventually succeeded in pulling both men from the water.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. noted that Prymak reacted despite not being a “strong swimmer.”

“It all happened too fast, I don’t think anything went through my head, I should have sat back and thought about it a little better, but I thought it was urgent to try and get him out,” the CBC quoted Prymak saying.

Those honored in Ottawa came from all walks of life and included children. In addition to 46 Medals of Bravery, one Star of Courage was awarded — to a U.S. Coast Guard officer.

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