Hamilton paramedic honoured for saving suicidal man’s life 

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Published May 29, 2023 at 10:07 am

COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO
Hamilton paramedic Steven Kawamura received the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery on May 24, 2023. COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Steven Kawamura knew he had to act quickly.

A suicidal man was screaming and running toward the ledge of a highway overpass. 

Kawamura, an advanced care paramedic from Hamilton, had responded to a call on Oct. 9, 2021. Kawamura sprinted to the man. To his relief, he was able to grab the man’s leg just as he pulled himself over the barricade. The paramedic and his partner had to restrain the distressed man, who became physically violent, until police arrived.

For his “act of exceptional courage” and “extraordinary selflessness,” Kawamura was among 10 paramedics who received the inaugural Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery in a ceremony at Queen’s Park on May 24. 

Paramedic Steven Kawamura received the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery on May 24, 2023. COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Steven Kawamura was among 10 paramedics who received the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery on May 24, 2023. COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

The Ontario government honoured the paramedics from across the province with a medal for demonstrating “great courage risking their lives to save the lives of others.”

“As Lieutenant Governor, I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable selflessness and bravery of first responders,” said Ontario Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, in a statement. “On behalf of a very grateful province, I thank this year’s exceptional award recipients for their commitment, their incredible courage, and their dedicated service.”

COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Other recipients from across Ontario were recognized for their outstanding bravery, such as moving a crashed plane to save passengers inside, diving to the bottom of Lake Ontario to rescue a drowned man, swimming an unconscious cliff diver to safety, saving other first responders during a gas line explosion, and rescuing workers from a collapsed building.

Paramedic Steven Kawamura received the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery on May 24, 2023. COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Paramedic Steven Kawamura, second at front from left, received the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery on May 24, 2023. COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

Since 2015, 74 paramedics have received the Ontario Award for Paramedic Bravery. This year the award was elevated to a provincial honour medal and renamed the Ontario Medal for Paramedic Bravery. Recipients were honoured for an act of exceptional courage that occurred within the last 24 months. 

COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

COURTESY GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, there’s help. Visit your local hospital’s emergency department,  call 911 or contact support networks such as:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566

COAST (24/7 help line, a project of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton): 905-972-8338, or Toll Free:  1-844-972-8338

Native Women’s Centre Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Good2Talk (for youth 17-25): 1-866-925-5454

Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600

Click here for more ways to get support.

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