Shaun Nugent, the Langley father of three who died shortly after he saved a woman from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous bronze medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (RCHA), which also issued an “honorary testimonial” certificate to Nugent’s wife Lianne for assisting in the rescue at Hayward Lake on July 27, 2019.
Normally, the RCHA presents medals at a public ceremony, but due to the pandemic, this year, awards were mailed to recipients.
For Lianne, the arrival of the package with the medal was an emotional moment.
“When I opened it, I didn’t know if my heart was breaking, or coming back together,” Lianne told the Langley Advance Times.
Their three children are “pretty proud” about the awards, she added.
Lianne down-played her citation for participating in the rescue, saying “my motivation was to help my husband.”
The Nugent family was at Mission’s Hayward Lake when a woman drifted out onto the lake on her floaty.
When she realized how far she was from shore, she tried to paddle back, but lost hold of the inflatable and began to struggle in the water.
When a friend on shore noticed her distress and began screaming for help, Shaun swam out and helped her get back to shore.
By the time he got to the swimmer, she was about a football field length away from shore.
Lianne also swam out to help, and someone onshore threw a life ring and pulled them in the last few yards.
Shaun was exhausted.
On the Monday after the event, he suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
One year after Shaun’s death, Lianne marked the anniversary with a tribute posted on her Facebook page that described their last day together and the depth of her, and their children’s ,loss.
It is excerpted with her permission.
”An ordinary Monday after an ordinary weekend,” Lianne wrote.
“Saved a life, mowed the lawn, went to work. Kissed me good bye, ‘Love you. Have a great day.’ I teased you about your hair, you checked yourself out in the rearview mirror. How many times have I replayed our last moment. Our last kiss. Our last I love you.”
”I could write pages filled with all of the things I miss about you,” Lianne went on to say.
“I miss everything. Just everything.”
Shaun Nugent received the Bronze Medal for Bravery and Lifesaving, which is awarded for “gallantry in saving or trying to save life” by the RCHA.
RCHA spokesperson Adrian Marr said “during this challenging time for our nation and the world, we bring about hope and the promise of a better and safe future when we recognize and celebrate unselfish acts of courage by citizens, which inspire the best in all of us.”
The association’s stated mission is to “recognize such deeds of heroism, by Canadians in civilian life, who, through their alertness, skill and concern, save or attempt to save a life, especially where those actions lie outside the ordinary duties of the person involved.”
It orginated from the Royal Humane Society, the parent organization, which was incorporated under royal charter in London, England in 1774.
The Royal Canadian Humane Association was formed in 1894.