Surrey resident Kevin Carras will be among 21 recipients of bravery awards from the Lifesaving Society at the 100th Annual Honour & Rescue Award Ceremony this Saturday.
The event, which will take place at the Hotel Vancouver, recognizes heroes for their bravery in making water-related rescues.
The Lifesaving Society (also known as Royal Life Saving Society) is a notfor-profit organization. Its mandate is to reduce water-related death and injury. The society has been educating the public and training lifesavers and lifeguards in B.C. since 1911.
The Now published a front-page article about Carras's heroic act last summer, after he saved Hope resident Bill McNeill from drowning during a tubing accident during a camping trip at Silver Lake near Hope last July.
McNeill said there was no doubt in his mind that he would have died in the tubing accident without Carras's help.
After being rescued, McNeill and the group continued their camping trip for another few days until he found his pain was unbearable.
After returning home, Bill woke up the next morning feeling dizzy and collapsed.
A trip to the hospital and a CT scan showed he had five fractured ribs, a bruised spleen and a collapsed left lung. The scan also revealed a large aortic aneurysm that could have ruptured at any time, especially during the vigorous struggle on the river a few days before.
A doctor told McNeill that if the large aneurysm had ruptured, he would have been dead within one to three minutes.
Lynn Smith, McNeill's mother, said that Carras's selfless act saved her son's life in more ways than one.
"If Kevin hadn't got him out of the water, he would have been dead," Lynn said.
"If he hadn't had this accident, they never would have found the aneurysm and my son would have been dead in a year. He'll be my hero for life."
For Carras's heroic act, the Lifesaving Society will present him with a silver medal for bravery on Saturday.
Each year this prestigious ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate the heroism and bravery of aquatic rescuers in B.C. and is the largest ceremony of its kind in Canada.