Members of the Ahousaht First Nation and the District of Tofino were given the province’s Medal of Good Citizenship on Friday.
Premier Christy Clark made the presentation in a ceremony on Meares Island.
It was recognition for the bravery and selflessness shown by the People of the Ahousaht First Nation and residents of Tofino following the sinking of a whale watching boat last Fall.
Six people died when the Leviathan II capsized off of Tofino on October 25th with 27 people on board.
“When the Leviathan II went down they rallied together to help save lives,” said Premier Clark.
“and put themselves at risk not for any other reason than it was the right thing to do.”
The death toll could have been much higher if not for the quick reaction and courage shown by those who came to their rescue including Clarence Smith and Kenny Brown.
They spotted an emergency flare out on the water and, without delay, set their boat’s course in the direction of the distress signal.
Their immediate reaction was bolstered by further support from Ahousaht members who arrived on the scene with numerous boats to assist.
“I’m proud to accept this medal on behalf of our Ahousaht members, who put themselves in harms way without hesitation in order to save lives,” said Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie.
The District of Tofino was recognized for the way in which the community came together to help survivors and their families, the victims’ families and all those involved in the rescue and recovery effort.
They are the first two communities to receive the citizenship award established in 2015.