Heroism

Men who intervened in drowning, assault honoured for bravery

Halifax doctor and Sydney Mines man recognized for selfless rescue acts

Dr. Nathan Urquhart displays his Medal of Bravery
Dr. Nathan Urquhart displays his Medal of Bravery   Sean Mott

Dr. Nathan Urquhart didn’t think twice when he jumped into Halifax Harbour from the waterfront boardwalk on April 10. He just saw someone in trouble and knew he had to help.

Urquhart saw a man fall into the water and leapt in after him. Grabbing the man, who was twice his own size, Urquhart kept him afloat for 15 minutes until emergency services arrived.

“I didn’t take my phone out of my pocket,” he said.

The eighth annual Medal of Bravery ceremony, held today at Province House, honoured Urquhart’s courage, as well as that of Kenneth MacNeil.

MacNeil, saw a young man being assaulted in North Sydney on Jun. 15, 2007. He intervened and saved the man, suffering a shattered jaw and permanent eye damage.

“It’s just in my heart that I couldn’t see that happen to an individual,” he said. “I thought it was my duty to do something.”

Kenneth MacNeil receives a certificate for his bravery.
Kenneth MacNeil receives a certificate for his bravery.   Sean Mott

Both men were presented with silver Medals of Bravery by the Medal of Bravery advisory committee to commemorate their acts of selflessness. The medals have a lion emblazoned on them, symbolizing courage.

The Medal of Bravery, which was established in 2007, is given to Nova Scotians who protect or save a person or property at great personal risk.

The event was held in the Red Room of Province House, filled with family members and legislators including Speaker of the House Kevin Murphy and Minister of Justice Diana Whalen.

McNeil thanked the men for their sacrifice and courage, stating they exemplify everything about the Medal of Bravery.

“It’s a privilege for me to be here with you,” he said.

These men “reinforce the fact that this is a place of selfless people,” said Remi Saulnier, chair of the medal’s selection committee,

“You have the right to be proud of yourselves, as we are proud of you,” he added, directly addressing Urquhart and MacNeil.

Urquhart said it was “pretty humbling” to receive the honour.