A brave and daring rescue that arguably saved the life of a teenaged girl has earned two local RCMP members Awards of Valour.
Amelia Victor, 16, was swept away by the current of the Chehalis River, and couldn’t keep her head above water.
Two of Victor’s friends were able to drag her to a narrow bank and go for help. At the same time, two men saw Amelia and swam across the river to stay with her until help arrived.
But Cpl. Scott Stoughton and Cst. Bruce Johnson couldn’t get to Victor along any road. They had to move up the river to rescue the girl. They swam upstream, moving against the current in full uniform, to reach her. While they had dropped their boots, bullet proof vests and duty belts, it was a strenuous swim for the officers and the Search and Rescue members who joined them.
On Nov. 22, they were among 60 police officers recognized for their efforts inVictoria.
Stoughton was working out of the Agassiz detachment when the rescue took place. He nows works with IHIT in Chilliwack.
“it was a really fantastic evening,” he said. “I think of all the hard work that officers do all over the province, all over the country, every day that don’t get recognized.”
It underlines the fact that a police officer never knows what to expect from one day to the next, he said.
“You can never predict what any day is going to bring,” he said. “I honestly can say there have been not too many times I was truly scared in my career. But there were times that day I can say I was honestly scared.”
The Chehalis River’s current was “ridiculous,” he added.
Victor made a full recovery.
Overall, 25 officers received the award of valour, the highest award for a police officer in B.C. Thirty-four police officers were awarded meritorious service honours.