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Squamish man who saved girl after a fall honoured with Medal of Bravery

Kai Hirvonen received the medal from the Governor General for rescuing a toddler after she fell from the dock in Porteau Cove in 2019.
Kai Hirvonen with the Governor General, Mary Simon, at the ceremony.

A Squamish resident was awarded the Medal of Bravery by the Governor General in a ceremony in Ottawa on Sept. 9.

In 2019, Kai Hirvonen jumped into action when an 18-month-old girl slipped and fell from the dock at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. 

“I heard the father of the toddler yelling that his baby fell off the pier, so I headed that direction, dove in, and swam to her,” Hirvonen wrote in an email to The Squamish Chief. “Once I got to her, I held her above my head with her head down a bit to clear her lungs. When she started crying, I knew she was breathing, and her airway was clear, so I started swimming to shore with her on my shoulder.

At the time of the incident, Cpl. Sascha Banks with the Squamish RCMP called Hirvonen the girl’s “guardian angel.” But, Hirvonen thought his actions were relatively standard.

“I would like to think any able-bodied person would have done the same,” he said.

As for getting honoured at the ceremony, again, Hirvonen downplayed the situation and said it wasn’t that big of a deal to him.

When asked what he would do with the medal itself, he said he was unsure.

“Not really sure what to do with the medal, it will probably find a home in my sock drawer,” he wrote, adding a cry-laughing emoji.

Ultimately, he was pleased that everything turned out okay.

“I'm just happy that it was a positive outcome that day and that lovely little girl is with her family.”

Hirvonen was honoured with the Medal of Bravery by Mary Simon, the Governor General. Other recipients of the medal were also in attendance at the ceremony.


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