Kelowna woman Cindy Rogers (right)

Kelowna woman, plus 11 others, honoured with BC Bravery Awards

Cindy Rogers receives second highest bravery award in Canada for attempts to save woman from Wood Lake

A Kelowna woman was given the second highest bravery award in Canada this week while 11 other members of the public were honoured by the Royal Canadian Humane Association for heroic efforts to try and save the life of a woman whose vehicle plunged into the frigid waters of Wood Lake in Dec. 2012.

Cindy Rogers was awarded the silver medal for bravery, the highest award out of 12 residents who put their lives on the line to try and rescue the woman, who succumbed to injuries suffered when her jeep left the old Highway 97 next to Wood Lake and was submerged in about two metres of water.

When she arrived on the scene of the accident, Rogers’ actions were immediate.

“I just thought if someone is in the car I have got to get them out,” said Rogers after returning to Kelowna from the ceremony on Tuesday. “It was as simple as that. This (honour) is very, very humbling. I can’t believe I’m being held in such high regard. I just think it’s what everyone would do. Faced with that situation again, I would do the same thing.”

After repeated attempts to get the woman out, Rogers began suffering from severe hypothermia and had to be helped from the water by friend and co-worker Corstiaan Pannekoekk, who was awarded a honourary certificate for his efforts on that night.

But it was Rogers who received the highest award of those who tried to help that night.

“Cindy Rogers’ efforts stand out,” said Ruddy Berghuys, the president of the Royal Canadian Humane Association. “She dove into the freezing lake and attempted to open the jeep’s door. She tried numerous times and finally managed to break a window but she couldn’t find the woman. Despite hypothermia, she attempted to tie a rope around the vehicle. After 15 minutes she was suffering from severe hypothermia and a severe asthma attack.”

Six people were honoured with bronze medals for their efforts that night as they entered Wood Lake to try and save the woman while five others were given honourary certificates as they stayed on shore and helped the first responders.

Lake Country RCMP corporal Michael Loerke and constable Carl Stene, along with Lake Country deputy fire chief Brent Penner all entered the water once on the scene as they first tried to remove the woman before hooking ropes and chains to the jeep and towing it toward the shore.

All three, along with truck driver Jamie Andrews as well as residents Kevin Hiebert and Donald St. Pierre were honoured with bronze medals as they also entered the lake.

“A group of passing motorists stopped and attempted to get at the submerged vehicle by entering the lake,” said Berghuys. “The rescuers attached a rope to an 18-wheeler and the jeep was almost pulled out of the water when the rope broke and it slid back in.”

Pannekoek was among a group of people who stayed on the shore and helped the rescuers who entered the lake, all of which suffered some form of hypothermia.

The woman was eventually removed from her vehicle but after twenty minutes underwater, attempts to resuscitate her failed and she passed away at the scene.

All 12 people were honoured at a ceremony this week in Surrey as Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia presented the B.C. bravery awards at an Investiture Ceremony at RCMP Headquarters.

More than 30 people in all were honoured for different heroic feats and Rogers says the ceremony added some closure to a difficult chapter in her life.

“It took me a year to be able to start talking about what happened and I’m still not over it,” she said. “It was good to hear all these stories from the ceremony. It’s a good reminder that there are good people out there and it gives me hope that if I was ever in the same situation, there would be people fighting to save my life.”

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Lake Country couple to be recognized with heritage award

James, Anita Baker will receive the Central Okanagan Heritage Society’s Distinguished Service Award

Okanagan residents can win ride in army vehicle

A social media campaign offers the chance to win a ride in the Dragoons armoured vehicle

UPDATE: Kelowna snowboarder being mourned at Big White

He was a local snowboarder, who went to Rutland high school.

Reel Reviews: War from both sides of the desk

We say, “Forgive these films their faults and they will be entertaining enough.”

Hope raises thousands for two Kelowna charities

The event Hope in Her Eyes managed to raise more than $17,000 for two Kelowna non-profits

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

NDP Health Minister calls to offer woman seat on Interior Health Board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland of Ashcroft was surprised by the call, and accepted the offer.

No decision yet from Sagmoen bail hearing

Provincial court judge is expected to decide next week if Silver Creek man to remain in custody

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Vagina Monologues hits the Kelowna stage this week

Okanagan production set to target a hot topic: vaginas

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

Submit nominations for 2018 Okanagan College Alumni Awards

Deadline for nominations is Wednesday, March 14

Most Read