From left: North Cowichan/Duncan officers Const. Megan Kowalewich, Cpl. Stephen Merrick, Const. Thomas Peters, Const. Keith Lansdowne, Cpl. Lita Watson and Const. Leanne Szalai. Not pictured is Const. Mathew Banfield, who is now with Saanich Police Department. (Submitted)

From left: North Cowichan/Duncan officers Const. Megan Kowalewich, Cpl. Stephen Merrick, Const. Thomas Peters, Const. Keith Lansdowne, Cpl. Lita Watson and Const. Leanne Szalai. Not pictured is Const. Mathew Banfield, who is now with Saanich Police Department. (Submitted)

North Cowichan/Duncan Mounties honoured for valour

“It takes a special kind of person to serve in law enforcement”

Police officers from across the province were honoured on Nov. 21 at the 38th annual Police Honours Night at Government House in Victoria.

Six current officers from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP officers, and one who has since moved to a new detachment were among the 114 recognized.

“It takes a special kind of person to serve in law enforcement, those who know the dangers and challenges of their profession but remain committed to serve with pride and never shy away from their duty,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

He joined Lt. Gov. Janet Austin to present the awards to officers for their bravery in life-saving incidents, their devotion above and beyond the call of duty and their work to make B.C.’s communities safer.

“Those recognized tonight have demonstrated exemplary courage and conviction,” Austin said. “It is an honour to hear the stories of these brave men and women, who serve British Columbians often at the risk of their own lives. We thank them for their service and acknowledge all who support them to do such impactful work for the province.”

Receiving awards of Valour — the highest award a police officer is able to obtain — were Cpl. Stephen Merrick, Constables Mathew Banfield (now with Saanich Police Department), Megan Kowalewich, Keith Lansdowne and Thomas Peters. The group worked together to rescue a woman trapped in an unstable vehicle that was in danger of sliding into the Cowichan River. The incident occurred on Quamichan Road West in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2017. The officers worked together to gather ropes and hoses from nearby yards to secure the car.

In addition, Cpl. Lita Watson and Const. Leanne Szalai earned honours for meritorious service which recognizes the exemplary performance of those who answered the call to service in exceptional ways.

Watson and Szalai worked with members of the Duncan Fire Department to save a suicidal, intoxicated youth and his friend from jumping off the edge of a school roof on Dec. 29, 2018.

“We are proud of these two groups of officers that showed their commitment to the people and community they serve by putting themselves at risk to assist others,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Swain, Operations NCO for North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. “Our officers are consistently running towards danger in situations like this, for that we are proud to work with them and grateful they are working in our community.”



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.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

Just Posted

“Say cheese, uh, apple… nine-year-old Jason Moran and mum Bonnie are all smiles over a number of sales made during “apple day” of local cubs and beavers. Jason, a wolf cub, was one of 22 boys who, with the ready assistance of mothers, sold several boxes of apples in money-raising scheme for various projects.” (<em>The Lake News</em> Nov. 26, 1980)
Flashback: Crime wave, canoe misfortune and a highway lawsuit

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Following too closely

Maintaining a buffer in front of your vehicle gives you time to recover from inattention

Sonia Furstenau
Sonia Furstenau column: MLA vows to keep up the fight

COVID-19 continues to strain our communities

Heating cable laid in the cold frame, awaiting the layer of sand. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Greenhouse growing in the winter

I have a heating cable I’ve never used that I’m contemplating putting to work in the cold frame

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read