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Penticton man receives award for act of bravery 76 years ago – Okanagan

It’s a day 76 years in the making. Patrick Coburn is finally receiving Medal for Bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association. He earned it in 1945.

Coburn was only 18-years-old when he dove into the water to save a man from the bottom of the Rideau River at Brighton Beach in Ottawa.

“I heard a bunch of yelling from a diving tower, I jumped in a rowboat and went out to the diving tower,” said Coburn.

“This diving tower was 150 metres offshore, I could see these bubbles coming up where the swimmer had gone down, I jumped off the boat and went down to the bottom of the river, about 14 ft. deep of water, then I had to swim with him over to the diving tower and I had to raise him up a six-foot ladder.”

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He saved Jean-Marc Aubin on Canada Day in 1945 and he resuscitated him at that diving tower.

“I pounded on his stomach and it brought everything up and that’s when I knew I had him,” said Coburn.

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He didn’t receive his medal because it happened during the Second World War. All the copper was needed for war materials. But on Friday, March 12, 2021, after 76 years Coburn finally received his medal for his heroic act from Penticton mayor John Vassilaki.

Proudly watching was his daughter, Tracy, who reached out to the association to ask about the medal.

“It’s very exciting to see it finally happen,” said Tracy.

Now 95-years-old, the medal means just as much to Coburn today as it meant when he was 18-years-old. He has also spoken with Aubin since.

“All he did was giggle on the telephone, he was so excited,” said Coburn.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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