Bylaw officers recognized for bravery

Two local heroes were given bravery citations at this week’s city council meeting. Constables Eric Gray and Helen Wale were recognized for…

Two local heroes were given bravery citations at this week’s city council meeting.

Constables Eric Gray and Helen Wale were recognized for pulling a woman from the Yukon River.

The two 19-year-old university students were members of the bylaw summer student program.

Their job was to patrol the bike path and talk to residents and visitors to promote bike safety and dog control while offering directions and visitor information.

On June 22, while biking their normal route along the Millennium Trail, they heard shouting. There was a woman in the water.

Wale took charge of the area and radioed other bylaw officers and RCMP who were on the scene shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, Gray waded in to rescue the woman who was lying face down in the rushing, knee-deep water.

“Eric was definitely going beyond the call of duty,” said Wale.

Both are trained in CPR and basic first aid, but not water rescue.

“I’m a decent swimmer but I didn’t really think about it — I jumped into the river without hesitation,” said Gray.

“I got in trouble from my mom after,” he added laughing.

Both families were invited out to the brief award ceremony following Monday night’s council meeting.

“On behalf of city council, staff and residents of Whitehorse I commend both of you for your heroic and courageous efforts,” said Mayor Bev Buckway.

“Your quick and levelheaded thinking is a credit to the city and I hope that both of you will be back next summer.”

After the citations were presented and photos were taken with the council, refreshments were served.

“It was really nice that they did that for us,” said Wale who studies psychology at the University of Victoria.

It was Wale’s first summer working as a bylaw officer, and Gray’s second.

“It was definitely an interesting day — an interesting life experience,” said Wale.

Gray is studying kinesiology at Dalhousie University and hopes to go into medicine.

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