When Don Gough noticed a number vehicles parked along Highway 3 in Manning Park on his way to work on May 23, 2007, he stopped to see what was the matter.
A vehicle was in the middle of the river and a person appeared to be standing at the driver’s side door.
“I knew right away that I had to help him,” Gough said.
He asked people at the scene for some rope, but when they did not have any, he went to the park headquarters to get several lengths of fire hose, which he tied together.
Then, with help from a crew of Upper Similkameen loggers, he tied one end of the hose around his waist and went into the icy river to rescue the man.
“The water current was pretty strong at the time,” Gough said.
“It washed my feet out from under me.”
Gough got to the hood of the car and talked to the man, who was suffering from hypothermia.
The man was also stuck, his feet trapped under the steering column of the car.
Gough pulled the man out and floated downstream, to a place where the rescue crew could pull them out of the water.
The man in the vehicle, Gordon Kingston, survived the ordeal and today Gough and Kingston visit each other regularly.
For his part in the rescue, Gough will receive a Governor-General’s Medal of Bravery.
Gough is one of 58 people from across Canada who will receive medals.
Of these, 56 will receive the Medal of Bravery while two will receive the Star of Courage.
While the award ceremony is a high honour, Gough also recalls an earlier rescue, around 25 years earlier to the day.
At that time, he and others attempted to rescue some young people in a similar situation, but were not successful.
The date of this year’s medal ceremony has not yet been determined.