Rounds of applause echoed in the Victoria Police station, celebrating three teenagers who received the Civic Service Award on Friday.
“To recognize great work, to recognize citizens, students people in our community go above and beyond for the safety of the community, it’s a good thing,” said Police Chief Del Manak.
Ahmad Al Shehab, Al Baraa Al Homsi, and Majeed Sultan were each presented with the Civic Service Award from the VicPD for their heroic actions last fall.
“The care and the concerns displayed that day by the three students and the actions of the school staff, were truly a team effort that resulted in the saving of a life,” said Chief Manak.
It was a normal school day for the teens at Victoria High School (Vic High) last fall, when they heard a noise coming from a bathroom stall.
“I just started hearing these noises, which is not normal. Is somebody sleeping or what’s going on?” said Al Homsi, recalling the day he found a young man in the bathroom suffering from an opioid overdose.
Majeed was the first to look over the stall and saw an unknown man, who was not responding to them. The boys didn’t know the man, who turned out to have graduated from Vic High the previous year.
“When I looked at him from the top, he didn’t look alright,” said Majeed.
Without hesitation, Al Homsi ran for help, while Majeed and Al Shehab stayed, trying to assist the person in distress.
“There was something going on, so we needed to take action before it was too late,” said Al Homsi, who ran and found teachers, asking for help.
“Thanks to the boy’s quick actions, they were able to alert two staff members, two of our teachers, who were able to keep the person alive and breathing long enough for the naloxone kit to be used,” said Vic High Vice Principal Chris Koutougos.
Revived first by CPR, then a naloxone kit, the man was taken to hospital in an ambulance. He was saved.
It was a true team effort, all starting with the boys.
“Luckily we had three smart, intelligent students who were switched on and able to save his life,” said Chief Manak, who personally presented each of them with the awards.
When asked how he feels about receiving the recognition, Al Homsi said, “I feel proud of myself, I feel thankful that I could help.”
Majeed and Al Shehab said they feel proud as well, but that they just did what they think anyone should do.
All three moved to Canada from Syria within the last 5 years, and say while their reaction was instinctual, it feels good to give back to a community that welcomed them with open arms.
“When we first came, we got lots of help from all Canadians, all people, wonderful people, and now we will try to help as much as we can,” said Al Homsi.
Now, the three are officially recognized for their quick actions that saved a life and their names will live on in the VicPD police station in the Hall of Honour, forever.