Mayor Watson presents Rick Dods with Governor General’s Certificate of Commendation

Mayor Jim Watson, with Rideau-Goulbourn Ward Councillor Scott Moffatt, on behalf of His Excellency The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, today presented the Governor General’s Certificate of Commendation to Mr. Rick Dods. The commendation is awarded to those who have made a significant contribution by providing assistance to another person in a selfless manner.

At 7:30 p.m. on October 28, 2008, Rick Dods was driving down Dwyer Hill Road in Goulbourn Township. It was dark and the season’s first snowstorm made driving treacherous. The 55-year-old tech worker was following a van but when he turned after the van onto McCaffrey Trail Road; Mr. Dods could no longer see the taillights.

The van had gone off the road and was at the bottom of a snow-covered embankment, lying sideways on the driver’s side in a creek. Mr. Dods slid down the hill and plunged into the icy water, which came up to his chest. He tried to get the passenger door open but it was locked electronically. Instead, he was able to gain access through the rear door. The back of the van was cluttered with furniture and other items, including a wheelchair, which he managed to scramble over to reach the front of the vehicle.

Mr. Dods realized the male driver was gasping for air and the van was starting to fill with water. Mr. Dods helped to turn him around to help him breathe and then turned his attention to the woman in the passenger seat. After considerable effort, he pulled her out of the van.

Removing the driver required more effort and assistance. Mr. Dods plunged into the freezing water to free the man’s legs, which were jammed between the seat and the door, but he could not move the driver, who did not have strength in his legs to aid with the rescue.

Mr. Dods scrambled back up the hill and called 911. He was getting a saw from his pickup truck, planning to cut the driver out of his seat, when he noticed headlights coming in the opposite direction and waved the vehicle down. Patrick Scissons, with two of his then-16-year-old triplet sons, offered to help. The four men braved the frigid creek and were able to extract the man from his van.

Rick Dods was awarded a Certificate of Valour by the Ottawa Police Service in May 2009 for his selfless actions.

The Governor General’s Certificate of Commendation was created in 1993 by the late Right Honourable Ramon Hnatyshyn, former Governor General of Canada. It is signed by the Governor General and is intended for eligible candidates whose actions are deemed notable by the Canadian Decorations Advisory Committee. Eligible candidates are selected through a voting process.