Nelson conservation officer Jason Hawkes has received a lifesaving commendation for his role in rescuing a family from a sinking boat near the Kaslo village campground on June 30.
“Our guys in the field help people all the time,” Hawkes said, after receiving the award at the legislature this month. “To see recognition for that is a great thing.”
Hawkes was working on Kootenay Lake when he overheard the RCMP requesting assistance. A family of four was in a sinking boat.
“Conditions on the lake were very windy and wavy,” the citation reads. “When Hawkes heard the only assistance available to help rescue the family wasn’t scheduled to depart from Kaslo Marina for about 20 minutes, he decided to head in the direction of the incident.”
He quickly located the family — two kids and two adults — who were waist-deep in water. They were wearing personal flotation devices but due to the distance it’s unlikely they would have been able to swim to shore.
Hawkes helped the four individuals out of the water and returned them safely to shore.
After the ceremony Hawkes said he would do it again.
“Any of these officers would’ve done the same thing. It’s just what we do. I was fortunate to be be able to help that family that day.”
The ceremony was also an opportunity to celebrate an anniversary, Hawkes said.
“I’m honoured to be here at the legislature on the 110th anniversary of the BC Conservation Service.”
During the presentation environment minister Mary Polak praised Hawkes and his compatriots, saying she’s “extremely proud of the dedication our officers show in protecting both public safety and the environment.”
Chief conservation officer Doug Forsdick welcomed the news that henceforth Nov. 4 will be proclaimed Conservation OfficerDay.
“Conservation officers across the province work tirelessly around-the-clock to minimize human-wildlife conflicts and protect our environment,” he said. “Recognizing the dedication and service that our officers provide to British Columbians … is a special honour that is very well-earned.”