MNR Valour Award
& OCOA Life Saving Award
Conservation Officer Charles Brooks
For Rescuing an Individual in Grave Danger of Drowning in Lake St. Clair
On Sunday, August 21, 2005, a man and woman were boating on Lake St. Clair between Michigan and Ontario. It was a windy day and there was a considerable swell and waves on the lake. The man, however, decided to go for a swim while the woman remained in the boat, which was not anchored. Very quickly, the man was carried in one direction by the current while the boat was blown in a different direction. He attempted to swim back to his boat, but was unable to make it, although he did get close enough for the woman to throw him a life jacket. When she turned again to throw a rope, the man and the boat were again drifting apart and he had disappeared from her view. At this point she began calling 911 on her cell phone.
Conservation Officer Charles Brooks was on patrol out on Lake St. Clair that day. While the woman was still on the phone with the 911 operator, Officer Brooks spotted the man in the water waving for help. He had held on to the life jack and was attempting to signal fishing boats that he was in need of assistance. Officer Brooks responded immediately. The man was completely exhausted and had to be physically hauled out of the water by Officer Brooks. In the opinion of both the man and woman involved, the event was definitely a life-threatening situation had help not arrived when it did.