Governor General of Canada Julie Payette presenting James Giles with the Canadian Medal of Bravery on Oct. 20. (James Giles contributed photo)

Humble hero awarded Canadian Medal of Bravery

James Giles recognized twice this month for rescuing family from house fire

Volunteer firefighter James Giles, who rescued a family of three from a burning house in 2016, was among those awarded a Canadian Medal of Bravery by the Governor General of Canada Julie Payette in Regina, Sask. on Oct. 20.

Then six days later, he was awarded a Silver Medal of Bravery from the Royal Canadian Humane Association in West Kelowna, ahead of Thailand cave diver Erik Brown who assisted with the Tham Luang Cave rescue last July.

READ MORE: Man who rescues Terrace, B.C. family from fire receives award

“It was a surreal kind of feeling… a once in a lifetime experience,” says Giles.

Silver medals are reserved for those who have shown an extraordinary disregard for personal safety in saving or attempting to save a life. Gold medals are awarded postmortem to those who lost their lives in the act.

Of the 19 recipients recognized by the association in West Kelowna, six of them were from Terrace.

Roger Fehr, Kelly Gingles, Regan Kardas, Mitchell Peters and Brian Ward were all given honorary testimonial certificates to commemorate their rescue of a snowmobiler who had been buried underneath an avalanche in March 2017.

“In my mind, I was more impressed with everyone else who was there and their stories,” says Giles. “It was really neat to know that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to take a risk to help others.”

While he says it’s nice to receive recognition, acts of bravery like this happen all the time for the fire department and emergency services crews. He says he feels the need to be humble when people ask him about the rescue, even though he ventured into the burning house without any gear or backup.

“It was a matter of circumstances, and that’s what I remind myself… that I was confident to do what I did while maintaining the safety of myself and trying to help those in need.

“And that’s partly what catapulted me towards the fire department and volunteering.”

He began volunteer firefighter training two years ago and was awarded a grant from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission to study at the Southwest Fire Academy in Ontario this past June.

READ MORE: Terrace hero receives Carnegie Medal

He was actually supposed to fly to Ottawa to receive the Canadian medal of bravery from the Governor General then, but was scheduled for fire academy training on the same day and had to postpone. Moving closer towards his goal of becoming a full-time firefighter is his primary focus, Giles says.

“Don’t have the mentality to always get something in return, that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about medals, it’s not about recognition. It’s about being a decent person.”


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater presenting James Giles the silver medal of bravery from the Royal Canadian Humane Association on Oct 26. (James Giles contributed photo)

Just Posted

School District 82’s first week of in-person class is in the books

First classes held since schools closed March 17 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Skeena Valley Farmers Market looks to reopen

Market switched to online format earlier this year in response to pandemic

Two per cent hotel tax coming to Terrace and Thornhill

Tax comes into effect on Sept. 1, will support Kermodei Tourism

‘Busier than we’ve ever seen’: Mountain biking around Terrace jumps

Terrace Off Road Cycling Association opened new trails on June 2

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘Great Regional Air Hug’ being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

Most Read