Local Mounties, civilians honoured at awards

NANAIMO – Mounties recognized for long service, volunteer service and life-saving actions.

  • Oct. 31, 2013 8:00 a.m.

Local Mounties were recognized for long service, charity fundraising community support and for saving lives at an awards ceremony last week.

The event was hosted at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 Oct. 22 when the awards were presented by Chief Superintendent Randy Wilson, Vancouver Island district commander.

Among those who received special honours were Cpl. Dave LaBerge, head of Nanaimo RCMP’s Bike Patrol Unit, who was presented with the St. John Life Saving award.

LaBerge was having lunch with colleagues Sept. 29 when a man began to choke, was unable to breathe, turned blue and collapsed.

LaBerge quickly applied several abdominal thrusts to the victim to clear the obstruction from the man’s wind pipe. The victim started breathing and regained consciousness.

LaBerg was commended for his quick action and use of first aid to save the man’s life.

Constables Keihin Herault and Nick Fleming were each presented with a certificate of appreciation for physically intervening to save the life of a suicidal woman in February.

Matthew Lettington of Nanaimo and an off-duty constable from North Cowichan/Duncan detachment were also each presented with the St. John Life Saving Award for their role in resuscitating a man would was found unconscious and not breathing in downtown Nanaimo March 9.

Cpl. Norm Smith, head of Nanaimo RCMP Traffic Services, was presented with the Commanding Officer’s Commendation for Outstanding Service in  recognition for volunteer service in the community throughout his 24-year career.

In 1995 Smith organized an old timers hockey game to raise money for new equipment for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, rooms for grieving families and medical scholarships.

Smith served as a celebrity waiter to raise money for the SPCA and Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock and the Canadian Cancer Society through various fundraisers, which has included perching himself atop a scissor lift. He has volunteered as a motorcycle escort since 2007 and as a support crew member and fundraiser for Tour de Rock, which raises cash to battle pediatric cancer.

Smith has also organized fundraisers and partnerships supporting Special Olympics and the Nanaimo Child Development Centre and also leads a high school program that teaches students about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Matt Wilson, of Nanaimo, is a civilian presented with a certificate of appreciation for his role in helping police reel in suspects of a string of 28 known thefts of cigarettes from Costco customers across B.C. that totalled nearly $100,000 in lost merchandize.

On Dec. 5, 2012, Wilson reported the vehicle and licence plate number of a van associated to the thefts. The information ultimately led to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the case.