Nanaimo casino guard to receive award

Warni Fernando, a security guard from Casino Nanaimo, who intervened to help an RCMP officer in trouble, will be presented with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation's Chairman's Award of Merit.

Warni Fernando, a security guard from Casino Nanaimo who intervened to help an RCMP officer in trouble, will be presented with Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s Chairman’s Award of Merit.

Fernando, 28, came to the aid of a female constable who was attacked near the casino in downtown Nanaimo May 12.

The officer suffered multiple injuries when by Jason Joseph Speare, 39, who had called police saying he was assaulted, punched her repeatedly in the head, face and stomach and tried to take her gun before Fernando was able to jump in and help subdue Speare.

The officer is now back on full duties.

“He went above and beyond when he saw that not only a fellow human being needed assistance, but a police officer,” said Howard Blank, casino spokesman.

“He kept the door secure where he was at and went running over and potentially averted a tragedy. We don’t know that’s what would have happened and obviously that’s going to go before the courts, but he did something phenomenal and we’re so very proud of him for the outstanding service he rendered to that officer.”

This is the third Chairman’s Award of Merit to be presented in the corporation’s 29-year history.

The fourth presentation of the award will be made Thursday (July 7) to Robert Mackay, a chef at the River Rock Casino Resort, who tried to prevent looting from a department store during the riots following the Stanley Cup final game in downtown Vancouver June 15.

David Dahl, a security officer at Hastings Racecourse received the award in October after he prevented guests and staff from being injured by a racehorse that ran into the winners circle. Dahl was struck by the horse and sustained numerous injuries that required multiple surgeries.

Fernando will have his award presented during a ceremony with Nanaimo RCMP and corporation officials at the main entrance of Casino Nanaimo Wednesday (July 6) at 11 a.m.